“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” is, well – of course – an X-Men movie. That brings with it all excitement (or baggage) that you think of for an X-Men movie. It is part of the new-ish iteration of X-Men, begun in 2011 with “X-Men: First Class”. These are the younger versions of the special Mutant superheroes, including Professor X, Magneto, Beast, Raven, Storm, Cyclops and others. If you are not enamored with X-Men, then your interest level might have already peaked. But since X-Men might perhaps now have a better future integrated with other Marvel superheroes, the outcome may not be “Dark” after all…
Professor X is Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) run a school for the special children in the Mutant community. The Mutants are now well-respected and a big part of the world’s crisis management. Since the ‘bad’ Mutants, led by Magneto (Michael Fassbender) have been self-isolated, there is a peace between the Mutant groups. But when a space rescue mission goes really bad, Mutant Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) takes on some uncontrollable powers. There is concern that Jean is not doing that well. Her fellow Mutants are really upset, including Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Ororo Munroe/Storm (Alexandra Shipp). Jean Grey finds out some things that Professor X has hidden from her since she was a child. She leaves the school and wanders aimlessly.
Jean Grey is being watched by an alien being who has taken over a human form. Vuk (Jessica Chastain) knows that Jean Grey’s new powers are what her race needs to survive, so they will be able take over the Earth. So, the human-looking Vuk and her followers are traipsing around to get Grey and take over her special powers. Jean Grey leaves Professor X but she soon tracks down Magneto. He and his group of hardened Mutants live alone on a deserted island. She finds out that her powers overpower even Magneto, so she leaves him. The military and government agents are after all the Mutants now that Jean has fought and killed a fellow Mutant. Jean Grey has left a path of destruction in her path.
The Mutants are all captured in New York. They are placed in confinement on a train to a Colorado holding facility. But the alien forces, led by Vuk, are ready to attack the train and take over the Mutants. When they get to Jean Grey, they plan on draining all her special powers and destroying all the Mutants. Then they will be free to take over the Earth and wipe out mankind. But will the Mutants still have enough Mutant powers to make “The Last Stand” and avoid an “Apocalypse”? When the “Days of Future Past” are gone by, will the X-Men still be up in the “First Class”? Even when the train is attacked, and many people are killed – will it still be a statistical fact that train travel is by far the safest mode of transportation?
This group of X-Men Mutants has produced some very enjoyable movies lately. Staring with “First Class”, and then “Days of Future Past” – the writing and acting was very enjoyable. The next one was “Apocalypse”, and that one dropped a little in quality. But X-Men has returned to the upswing with “Dark Phoenix”. Of course, being a Superhero/Mutant type movie, it might not be your cup of darjeeling. But the ensemble cast is up to speed, and the production values are really good. There are some really creative fight sequences, and the movie moves along at a quick pace. There a few high points: the acting of Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, the acting of James McAvoy as Professor X, and the acting of Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Some points not as well-developed: Jessica Chastain as the alien Vuk is off-putting, the tragic death of a very popular Mutant is quickly passed over, the choppy editing of the fight sequences. Also, the most glaring missing item – Wolverine!
“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” is ready to establish a new common ground for all of the Marvel characters into a more fully-integrated Marvel Universe.