DARK PHOENIX Spoilers - 5 Things That Worked And 10 Things That Didn't In Fox Final X-MEN Movie

DARK PHOENIX Spoilers - 5 Things That Worked And 10 Things That Didn't In Fox Final X-MEN Movie

Dark Phoenix has a lowly score of 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, but is it as bad as the critics would have you believe? Here, we break down everything that does and doesn't work in the Simon Kinberg helmed film!

Feature Opinion
By JoshWilding - Jun 06, 2019 05:06 AM EST
Filed Under: Dark Phoenix
The Fox/Disney merger means that the current X-Men series of films is finally at an end after starting way back in 2000. That means Dark Phoenix serves as the finale to the franchise before it's rebooted by Marvel Studios, and, as you'll no doubt already know, the critics haven't been kind. 

It's not the worst X-Men movie (that honour is still split between X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand), but it does get a lot wrong, most of which is bound to infuriate and upset fans. 

Still, there are some good parts too, and we highlight those here along with the many things that didn't work. Needless to say, we think you'll be surprised by what falls into both categories!

So, to check out these details, all you guys have to do is click on the "View List" button below. 

Didn't Work: Jessica Chastain's "Alien"


Jessica Chastain is a fantastic actress, but perhaps she's just reached a point in her career where she's desperate to pick up a Razzie? While I'm sure her unnamed alien was supposed to come across as emotionless, that doesn't really explain her wooden performance and the fact that this villain has no personality makes her the least interesting part of an already uninteresting movie. 

Her motivations are poorly explained, she's in no way frightening or intimidating, and some of the dialogue she delivers borders on being laughable at points. This was a complete disaster, and the decision to seemingly make her part of the little-known D'Bari race is just random.

Didn't Work: The 1990s Setting


X-Men: Apocalypse failed to make use of the 1980s setting. but at least it took us to a mall and featured some recognisable tunes and styles. Dark Phoenix is supposed to be set in 1992 but could be taking place literally at any time in history, as there are no references to current events of the time and the cast are decked out in generic, movie-style clothing. 

Whereas Captain Marvel took us to Blockbuster Video and made use of some great 90s music, Dark Phoenix winds up being incredibly generic and the time jump is, yet again, nonsensical. 

Did Work: Hans Zimmer's Score


These days, it seems Hans Zimmer will sign up to score pretty much everything (The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Really?!), but he's still an excellent composer and his work definitely elevates this film.

The big scenes, in particular, benefit from his presence and help make this movie better than it otherwise would have been. Ultimately, though, it's sadly far from his most memorable music. 

Didn't Work: Mystique And Quicksilver's Speedy Exit


Man, Jennifer Lawrence really couldn't get out of there fast enough. After a wooden performance in the first twenty minutes or so, she's promptly killed off by Jean Grey and finally free of that makeup. Why she pushed for Simon Kinberg to direct is hard to say, but perhaps it was just for that "X-Women" line that comes off as a sickeningly forced attempt to make people think this is a feminist film.

It's not. In fact, its female characters aren't done any real justice at all (more on that later).

As for Quicksilver, he doesn't get a memorable sequence set to any music this time around. He just gets taken out by Jean and sits the rest of the movie out with no one too bothered about him. 

Didn't Work: No Costumes


I'm not sure why those awesome costumes at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse were scrapped for more generic team outfits, but they look...fine. However, they're only around for the first act and by the time the team heads to New York to battle Magneto and company, they're all just in civvies. 

Why Simon Kinberg is afraid to embrace the superhero elements of these characters in terms of their appearance is hard to say, especially in a world with movies like Justice League and Avengers: Endgame. Either way, none of them suiting up for yet another finale is simply beyond disappointing.

Did Work: The Action Scenes


Dark Phoenix's credits say that the movie's impressive train sequence was directed by the stunt co-ordinator, but I'm sure Kinberg must have had some input. Either way, the action throughout is definitely good and arguably quite a bit better than past instalments.

It finally feels less static and fake, and instead embraces what comic book fans want to see from these characters in action. It goes without saying that a more accomplished filmmaker would make the heroes and villains in the X-Men's world look even better, but I do think there's a lot that fans will appreciate here, and that train sequence, in particular, is full of memorable moments and great teamwork. 

Didn't Work: Welcome To Genosha


So, you know how in the comics Genosha is a utopia for mutants and a city built by Magneto for them to find refuge from the humans who would persecute them? Pretty epic idea, right? 

Well, in Dark Phoenix, it's a tiny island where a handful of mutants live with Erik in a field in some poorly built, makeshift houses. It's a camp site. What a way to respect the source material.

Did Work: X-Men: First Class Throwbacks


Surprisingly, Dark Phoenix is heavy on throwbacks to X-Men: First Class, a movie Simon Kinberg wasn't that involved in beyond being a producer. We get mentions of the one-time rivalry between Magneto and Beast, revisit the kitchen where Charles first met Mystique, and even see a touching moment in which Hank and Raven refer to themselves as the "last of the First Class."

It's just odd that it doesn't reference X-Men: Days of Future Past or X-Men: Apocalypse, especially when those movies arguably had a much larger bearing on what happens here than First Class.

Didn't Work: Storm


Were you hoping that this movie would finally deliver the badass version of Storm you've been waiting years to see on the big screen? Well, I hope that vision included her making ice cubes for Scott and Jean's punch! While the final battle sees her take flight and deliver some lightning bolts, it's not overly impressive or memorable, and not that different to what we've already seen. 

Just the fact that Kinberg has her make ice cubes comes across as a massive disservice to the hero. 

Didn't Work: A Lack Of Continuity


Eight years after Dark Phoenix takes place, Michael Fassbender ends up looking like Ian McKellen. Let that sink in for a second. Still, that's not the worst example of a lack of continuity.

While these prequels stopped building to the original movies after X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kinberg doesn't really bother to try and respect what's come before or after. It's a shame he makes no effort to tie the two franchises together, and he doesn't even bother to address that long-standing mystery about Magneto being Quicksilver's father and Mystique being Nightcrawler's mom. 

Didn't Work: The Same Old Story


Kinberg doesn't exactly retell the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, but he sure as hell tries to put a new spin on moments in that film, something which comes across as a self-indulgent, ridiculous ego trip on the filmmaker's part. As a result, Dark Phoenix ends up feeling extremely familiar. 

From Jean's childhood to her apparent death (but not really!), we've already seen this story. It's just a shame that Marvel Studios will probably leave "The Dark Phoenix Saga" well alone moving forward.

Did Work: Cyclops (Mostly) Gets The Chance To Shine


Scott Summers has never been treated particularly well in the X-Men franchise, but he does sort of get the chance to shine here. His leadership skills are more apparent than they have been in the past, while he gets to show off his powers in a far more impressive manner than before. 

There's not enough here to make Cyclops fans truly happy, but it's still a mostly satisfying journey for him - even if he once again spends the vast majority of the movie chasing after his girlfriend. 

Didn't Work: Nightcrawler


I'm not sure what Kodi Smit-McPhee was going for here but, man, he does some terrible work in this movie. Between the dodgy accent and amature level performance, he does not do the role of Nightcrawler justice and the character has none of his trademark wit or personality from the comics. 

In fact, he comes across as a goofy coward, and only really comes into his own during the final battle when he teleports one of the aliens in front of the moving train with a grin on his face. 

Didn't Work: The Phoenix Force


Remember how at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse we got to see Jean unleash her powers and seemingly reveal the Phoenix Force? Well, that's all forgotten about here and it becomes a cloud of energy that simply moves through the cosmos, destroying planets. 

It's never called "The Phoenix Force" (instead, the kids in the school randomly start calling Jean "Phoenix") and has no real personality or connections to the comic books. As a result, it's totally underwhelming and the fact that it takes the shape of a Phoenix at the end of the movie is actually quite comical, especially when it's just random cosmic energy with no link to that mythical bird. 

Did Work: A Satisfying Enough Ending


As the end of Fox's X-Men saga, Dark Phoenix is not a satisfying or worthy conclusion to a near twenty year series of movies. However, no one involved knew that's what it would be when the film was being made in all fairness, so blasting it for that definitely doesn't seem fair.

As endings go, though, this is satisfying enough as there are no real cliffhangers beyond Jean's silly return, and it's easy to imagine what happens next to the characters without being desperate to actually see it play out. Like it or not, this is Fox's final X-Men movie, and it's a finale we can live with!
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KWilly - 6/6/2019, 5:22 AM
"As for Quicksilver, he doesn't get a memorable sequence set to any music this time around. He just gets taken out by Jean and sits the rest of the movie out with no one too bothered about him. "

You're telling me the one of the only halfway interesting characters in these XMen prequels gets a timeout the whole film? Jeez, he's the only reason to watch this crap.
OmegaDaGrodd - 6/6/2019, 5:38 AM
@KWilly -

Fogs - 6/6/2019, 5:55 AM
@KWilly - Well, as I always say QS, just like Flash and Prof. X, have movie-breaking powers. So in the hands of a not-so-brilliant writer, they need to be dead / asleep / deprived of their powers, away or just dumb.

Just think of:
- Xavier in X1, X2, X3, FC
- Quicksilver in FC
- Flash in JL
OmegaDaGrodd - 6/6/2019, 5:29 AM
Sidelining Quicksilver because after 3 movies he's still just a set piece and not a character and you feel like you don't need the walking deus ex machina this time around?

regularmovieguy - 6/6/2019, 5:52 AM

AOU Quicksilver was awful😂
trolliverQueen - 6/6/2019, 5:34 AM
Did Work: The excellent maple syrup popcorn and diet coke.

Didn't Work: The meaningless post credit scene.

Amuro - 6/6/2019, 5:47 AM
@trolliverQueen -

There is a post-credit scene ? I left the theater before. Didn't know there were any.
thewanderer - 6/8/2019, 11:18 AM
@Amuro - no there is not a post credits scene
GhostDog - 6/6/2019, 5:38 AM
Screen Junkies says this film BLATANTLY disregards MAJOR PLOT POINTS from Apocalypse and solidifies the Fox X-verse as a franchise that just ignores its own continuity and character arcs fron previous films.

Fogs - 6/6/2019, 5:57 AM
@BlackBeltJones - Can't say I'm surprised, tho.
Mercwitham0uth - 6/6/2019, 9:20 AM
@BlackBeltJones - They've been ignoring continuity since X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Shouldn't be a surprise at all.
L0RDbuckethead - 6/6/2019, 9:44 AM
@BlackBeltJones - Lol it's like they try and disregard their own continuity.

Amuro - 6/6/2019, 5:44 AM
Minor mistake: Jessica Chastain's alien character is not unnamed, though I think we only hear her name once or twice in the whole movie. She is a gender-flipped version of a character named Vuk from the comics, though that doesn't mean much when her character has almost no characterisation at all.
SpideyPuffsMJ - 6/6/2019, 5:46 AM
Cool I read it. Now it's all over.
HeavyMetal4Life - 6/6/2019, 5:50 AM
@SpideyPuffsMJ - same
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