What critics are saying about ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’

What critics are saying about ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’
The final installment in the current X-Men series fails to impress the critics

MANILA, Philippines – X-Men: Dark Phoenix is out, and the reviews are in.

The film, which stars Game of Thrones Sophie Turner, focuses on one of X-Men’s most compelling characters, Jean Grey, who has struggled to control her powerful telekinetic abilities all her life.

In the film, she and the other X-Men mutants go on a mission in outer space, where Jean is nearly killed after absorbing a cosmic force that gives her overwhelmingly strong powers and turns her into Dark Phoenix. (WATCH: A new ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ official trailer is here)

The force causes her to spiral out of control, and makes her especially dangerous, even to her fellow mutants who now find themselves facing their strongest enemy, who turns out to be one of their own.

Also starring in the film are X-Men mainstays James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult, along with Jessica Chastain, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp.

So far Dark Phoenix – the final installment in the current X-Men franchise – has not been doing well with the critics, but if you want to go see for yourself, it’s currently out now in Philippine cinemas.

In the meantime, here’s what the critics are saying:


In a biting review, Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos, he says that each film in the X-Men series “has been progressively worse,” with Dark Phoenix being the worst of the lot, describing it as “a continuation of the franchise’s swan dive into joyless mediocrity, while managing to destroy any affection one might have for Marvel’s merry mutants.”

That said, he praised Jennifer Lawrence’s turn as the shapeshifting mutant Raven Darkholme, calling her performance “spirited” and saying that her story arc with Charles Xavier (McAvoy) was the film’s “lone point of intrigue.”

The Verge

The Verge‘s Keith Phipps said that the character development – particularly for the central character Jean Grey – felt rushed, going so far as to say that “Jean isn’t a character so much as a cosmic ping-pong ball, which is an odd choice for any film’s eponymous character.”

He says some of the film’s action sequences were memorable, but others felt derived from earlier films in the franchise. He did give the film points for “taking a new approach,” saying that while the film has its issues, it did take risks.

“Kinberg could have opted for a back-to-basics heroes versus baddies approach. Instead, the film dives into the moral murk that’s been present from the series’s start,” he said.

The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, saying that the film is where the X-Men saga fizzles out in “its own weirdly anticlimactic end.”

He noted the heavy use of digital effects in the battle, which he describes as “certainly spirited,” with an intimidating villain in Vuk (Chastain), but ultimately said that the role was a waste of the actress’ talent.

Bradshaw said that X-Men founder Charles Xavier’s character arc was the most interesting part of the film. He also said that “there is a surprise in store for Jean, though due to the superhero-style weightlessness of the film’s events, this surprise doesn’t pack the psychological punch that it should.”

Rolling Stone

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone cuts straight to the point and calls Dark Phoenix “the worst movie ever in the X-Men series,” which counts 12 films since 2000.

“Even series low points — that’s you X-Men Apocalypse — offered compensations. Dark Phoenix just lies there like a dying fish, futilely flapping about on land while it waits for the inevitable dying of the light.” he said.

Travers criticized the film’s failure to go deeper into more compelling themes, as well as its failure to “build even a hint of rooting interest in the X peeps as people.”

He said that the film suggests that the X-Men series is “played out and beyond saving,” even as the franchise switches hands from Fox to Disney and Marvel.

AV Club

AA Dowd of AV Club said that the film followed the same pattern as the previous X-Men films, and said that it “remains locked down by a very limited idea of what an X-Men movie can be, and a very small vision of one of the most iconic epics in superhero fiction.”

Like the other critics, he zeroed in on Charles Xavier’s character arc as the most interesting aspect of the film – and also goes on to comment on Jean Grey’s transformation saying that the film is “especially skittish about the threat posed by its title character. Her transformation, too, remains somewhat vaguely clarified.”

He also said that Kinsberg failed to “fend off the sense of fatigue that’s fallen over not just the X-Men franchise but also the actors playing them,” and said that the cast didn’t seem to give their performances their all.

He concluded that the X-men series deserved a stronger end, and that “there’s just little here that the X-Men series hasn’t shown audiences before.” – Rappler.com

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