Film Review: ‘Dark Phoenix’ Rises Above Typical Comic Book Action

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CHICAGO – Leave it to Marvel Entertainment to produce another “marvel-ous” take on their angst-ridden superhero characters. The latest X-Men film, called the last of this series, is “Dark Phoenix,” and it contains comic book action that is unprecedented for its originality and sheer power. It’s another winner. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The settings of the action … outer space, an American neighborhood, the streets of New York City and an old fashioned train … come right out of the movie action playbook, and are followed through with creativity that places the Marvel adaptations firmly at the top of the heap (this is the first directorial effort from longtime X-Men screenwriter Simon Kinberg). This is also a summer movie, emphasizing the machinations of the story rather than the relationships, although there is a enough emotions to argue that lack of balance. The X-Men series of films have always relied on the outsider status of their superhero characters, which has allowed for strong underdog story lines. “Dark Phoenix” is no different, and adds in a Jessica Chastain – doing her best Tilda Swinton – as a cool villain. This is great escapist superhero fare for the summer.

The story begins in 1975, with a car accident (strangely parallel to an incident in the recent “Shazam”) caused by the mind manipulation of Jean Grey (eventually portrayed by Sophie Turner). The child is taken in by Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who runs a school for the evolving humans with mutant powers. She becomes Xavier’s favorite, and grows into a love interest for Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).

In 1992, the young X-Men are called upon to rescue a NASA Shuttle in outer space that has broken down. Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), and Cyclops lead the team, which includes Jean Grey, whose telekinetic powers keeps the ship together while the rescue takes place. Alone on the shuttle, she absorbs an energy field that heightens her power. This power surge interests an alien race led by a shapeshifter (Jessica Chastain), and its implications will eventually involve Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Dark Phoenix has risen.

“Dark Phoenix” opens everywhere on June 7th in IMAX, Dolby RPX, 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for theater format and show times. Featuring Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan and Jessica Chastain. Written and drected by Simon Kinberg. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Dark Phoenix”

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in ‘Dark Phoenix’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Dark Phoenix”

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