No comic book movie is going to generate as much hype in the next five years as Avengers 4. But, after all, the X-Men are ending a movie universe that has lasted nearly 20 years, and it’s definitely worth talking about the movie. Want to know how another finale of this year came out? Then catch a fair and honest review without any spoilers.
And it should start with the fact that X-Men: Dark Phoenix was originally supposed to come out six months ago, on November 2, 2018. The premiere date was postponed twice, and everything that was going on was accompanied by the purchase of Fox by Disney Studios. All of this has spawned a mountain of rumors that the film is almost being remade in its entirety. Needless to say, this is not very true. Such an operation is physically impossible in such a short period of time. Almost all films of our time are subjected to a re-shooting procedure. And Avengers 4 ended just a couple of weeks before its premiere.
However, the official Fox press release is also hard to believe. The guys claim that they liked the project so much that they chose a fatter release date. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle, and we won’t know it anytime soon. And it doesn’t matter, the movie is ready for release, and now we’ll try to talk honestly about the pros and cons.
Let’s start with the good stuff. For those who were afraid, there is no effect of the extra footage. You can see that the film came out as, or nearly as, originally planned. The ending was most likely cosmetically changed. But Dark Phoenix looks like a whole and powerful machine. Unfortunately, the situation is such that anything that isn’t released under the Marvel Cinematic Universe brand is now automatically considered a failure. We always advise against that and to go to the movies with a clear head.
The 20-year history of the X-Men will come to an end and be another epic finale this year. We’ve already said goodbye to Hugh Jackman, and now it’s on to Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. Just remember how many pleasant emotions we had with the mutants.
The actors themselves are the second biggest plus in Dark Phoenix. McAvoy and Fassbender are incredible as always. You can watch them endlessly. James took Professor X to a completely different level, and we feel sorry for his successors at Marvel. And Michael gave off almost the best performance of Magneto of his career. He is the diamond of the movie and Kevin Feigy should try at all costs to somehow lure the guys in. Even though they say this is their last movie in character.
The Beast by Nicholas Holt isn’t bad either. It’s clear why he was a contender for the role of Batman until last, and after Dark Phoenix, it’s a little sad that he couldn’t. Nicholas’ character is incredible.
As for the first minus, you can put in the others. It’s not about the acting, even Sophie Turner with the anger of the haters played great. It’s about the movie itself. You get the impression that the mutants have been divided into first and second rate characters, and while the former are given mountains of attention and fat scenes, the latter have to suffer. The situation is roughly analogous to Falcon Eye. If in the case of Marvel fans were willing to forgive the flaws and waited 10 years for the finale and the series, that’s not going to work with the X-Men. Many people are literally bombarded with the way that in places the mutants of the second plan are simply dumped, you know, if you know who we mean.
It’s funny that the second fat plus of Dark Phoenix is the plot. Many critics have already prepared clever phrases about the tattered narrative, motivations, and plot acts. And undoubtedly will throw them out just out of inertia to seem clever. But in fact, if you watch the film.
Objectively, its plot is very good. The creators promised a down-to-earth project, and it really is. The finale of X-Men looks exactly as the action would unfold in reality. All of the characters’ actions are understandable, all of the actions are logical, and the mutants don’t look like fun Avengers. In places, you feel sorry for them, and on a more global level, the story is very cool. The closest comparison is Marvel’s Civil War. Only here, the heroes don’t forget after half an hour that they were fighting to the death against each other, and we’re not talking about a couple of three bruises. It’s very serious, and heads are flying at every turn.
It’s even pathetic that the other downside of the story comes up at this point. There’s a banal lack of knowledge of past movies. No matter what Fox says, they weren’t planning on ending the movie universe with “Dark Phoenix,” at most cleaning up the ranks of actors and actresses who are tired. Too many of the storylines started earlier never got attention.
We’re big X-Men fans and remember all the events of the updated films perfectly. Unfortunately, Dark Phoenix doesn’t boast that. In spite of the fact that the characters and the whole atmosphere of the mutant movie-universe are given with pleasure, the characters periodically forget their own words from “Apocalypse” times, though probably for some this will be even a plus.
And the graphics will definitely be a plus. Here I have no complaints about the film. The abilities of mutants are very beautiful as always, and it is a shame that this is considered something commonplace nowadays. The same “Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters” produced exorbitant graphics, but it is gathering dust at the last box office spots. Meanwhile, “Dark Phoenix” also delivers a very good graph. Of course, in a couple of not particularly significant places it sags, but these are just the easiest to trace the place of reshooting.
An important detail is that the guys, like Christopher Nolan, tried to shoot as many scenes on location as possible. They seldom used green screens, and these days, animated movies are an exception to the rule.
Another global flaw is the trailers. This is a cruel marketing mistake by Fox. The guys are really trying to draw attention to the X-Men finale, but they’re doing it in completely insane ways. Leaking Mystique’s death in the trailer and openly saying it was planned is not the best promotion for the movie. In the meantime, it is; it’s not a spoiler. We noticed the detail back in the trailer, and in the interview the creators confirmed everything.
The nice thing is that this is not the only twist in the film, but the decision was very ill-considered. Otherwise, the teasers only focus on the first half of the movie. Everything that happens at the end is covered in mystery. And that’s where the interesting stuff begins.
There’s also no spoiler in that the connection to the Marvel movie universe is nil. This was known from the beginning, and there’s no need to fall prey to the over-expectation syndrome. James McAvoy has explicitly stated that this is the last appearance for him in character. And Marvel has already hinted that a recast of the characters awaits.
So the focus should only be on the film. And in fact, it’s at least worth watching if only because it’s the end of a 20-year movie universe. That, by the way, wasn’t given too much attention either, no nostalgia and just its own plot.
“Dark Phoenix is very good in this respect. The tone of the film can’t be counted as a plus or minus, it’s a personal thing. In fact, it’s a movie about the X-Men as they have always been. A little darkness, a few jokes and a golden balance. Personally, we will miss it. But some might well accuse “Dark Phoenix” of lacking Marvel-level banter. The funny thing is that the closest analogy in terms of atmosphere is the third X-Men movie, which also took a similar comic book as its basis. The projects are very similar, but plot-wise the second attempt is conveyed more canonically.
But all that aside, an entire era is gone. “Avengers 4” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe dominate cinema. But don’t forget that without the success of “X-Men” in 2000 and “Spider-Man” a little later, there might not have been anything. And don’t rush to join the mainstream claiming the failure of “Dark Phoenix” even before the film’s release. The 19-year-old mutant story didn’t come to its finale in the form it would have liked. But it’s still the X-Men, which is great to watch. The next time we see them will be at Marvel in about five years.