Director: Simon Kinberg
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Release Date: September 17, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence fire up an all-star cast in this spectacular culmination of the X-Men saga! During a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey (Turner) is transformed into the infinitely powerful and dangerous DARK PHOENIX. As Jean spirals out of control, the X-Men must unite to face their most devastating enemy yet — one of their own.
The culmination of the X-Men film saga, ‘Dark Phoenix’ kicks off with a group of X-Men heading to space to assist the government in a rescue mission, successfully completing the rescue but suffering a loss of their own in the process when Jean Grey (Turner) is struck by a massive force of energy, yet miraculously survives the accident. As the unknown power now lingering within her and fighting to get out results in Jean’s memories of childhood previously locked away by Charles (McAvoy) beginning to flood back, she finds herself unable to control the pain and terror within. Unwilling to accept help from those closest to her for fear of harming them and instead causing death and destruction along the way as she tries to find answers, the X-Men will have to make one desperate attempt to try and save Jean against all odds, while others simultaneously move to destroy her.
Written and directed by Simon Kinberg this time around who makes his directorial debut at the helm of ‘Dark Phoenix’ (although is certainly no stranger to the franchise having penned many of the previous installments) and he does a decent job altogether of guiding the tale along while capably capturing the action and style throughout. The film also features a pretty solid cast comprised of numerous returning individuals and a few newcomers to the series including James McAvoy (Glass), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers), Nicholas Hoult (Tolkien), Sophie Turner (TV’s Game of Thrones), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Alexandra Shipp (Straight Outta Compton) and Jessica Chastain (It: Chapter Two) along with more, the majority each providing generally capable performances for the most part in their respective roles.
‘Dark Phoenix’ has its share of dazzling action sequences, heartfelt moments and fun with a notably darker tone than many of the previous installments, but also finds itself struggling to balance a smooth story structure, taking some odd turns along the way which often tend to affect the overall film to a degree, while also sending some characters down illogical paths that feel anything but organic in their progression. Unfortunately, it is one of the weaker entries in the long-running X-Men film franchise, but it’s also not nearly as horrid as some make it out to be. Unfortunately as fate would have it, it’s almost certain to be the final installment in this X-Men film series (especially with Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox and the various setbacks that affected production along the way) making it somewhat of a disappointment in terms of a conclusion to the long running and intertwined series. I would definitely encourage fans of the X-Men film saga to try and make a point of giving ‘Dark Phoenix’ a whirl whenever you have the chance. While it may be one of the less impressive installments in the franchise and plagued by its share of issues, it still manages to deliver enough tension, stunning action and fun to make it well worth a watch, even if only to make up your own mind on what’s destined to be the final chapter in Fox’s X-Men saga. Yet even so, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try and rent a copy before dropping the funds on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release if you haven’t already seen the film.
Overall, ‘Dark Phoenix’ is a somewhat mixed bag of a film that delivers plenty of visually impressive action sequences, a tense and quite dark storyline (even if it’s already been attempted once in ‘The Last Stand’), but loses some of its impact as a result of the jumbled storyline and some inexplicable character paths. Albeit imperfect and suffering from its share of troubles, I would still recommend ‘Dark Phoenix’ to fellow fans of the X-Men film series who will at the very least want to form your own opinion and not rely entirely on the overly negative word of mouth it’s received. It’s by no means perfect or one of the best entries in the franchise, but it also has its share of positives and should if nothing else be worth a couple hours and the cost of a rental for any dedicated fans of the series.
The Blu-ray release of ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and offers a sharp, clean and detailed presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults or issues to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit, heavily populated and fast moving action sequences, never resulting in anything onscreen becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily please fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack sounds spectacular and delivers and clean, crisp and aggressive audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send spacecraft, characters, bullets, explosions and plenty more consistently whipping throughout the various speakers, while always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously also remain clear and fully audible. Overall, this is a wonderful 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds great from start to finish and continually compliments the viewing experience along the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ includes a few noteworthy extras that fans of the franchise should enjoy. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker’, in addition to some ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 8 minutes altogether) which also feature optional commentary by Kinberg and Parker. We are also treated to the feature length behind the scenes documentary ‘Rise of the Phoenix: Making Dark Phoenix’ (running approximately 80 minutes) which explores the process of bringing the film to life, featuring interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus tons of behind the scenes footage and much more. Also included is a brief, fun video ‘How to Fly Your Jet to Space with Beast’ (running approximately 2 minutes) and ‘3 Theatrical Trailers’ (approximately 6 minutes total) for the film.