Movie review: Dark Phoenix

14 Jun 2019 / 10:14 H.

FOR A movie with the Marvel stamp on it, this is surprisingly short (less than two hours) with no end credits. Nonetheless, it offers a pretty engaging story about how even the best of intentions can lead to deadly consequences.

Women take centrestage in this film, in both the protagonist and antagonist roles, which is a refreshing thing in the superhero universe.

They are even more kick-ass than a certain Captain who turned out to be less memorable than a cat named Goose.

Frankly speaking, after the disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse, I expected Dark Phoenix to at least rise from that ‘apocalyptic’ ashes.

And it has exceeded my expectations, especially with its strong dramatic moments.

The story begins with a flashback of how a young Jean Grey (Turner) ends up becoming Professor Xavier (McAvoy)’s ward.

The story then switches to the present with Xavier, on the behest of the US president, sending the X-Men to rescue the crew of a space shuttle that has gone out of control, despite misgivings from Hank aka the Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) that it is too dangerous.

Although the X-Men manage to rescue the crew before the shuttle blows up, Jean who is trapped onboard ends up absorbing the strange space matter that caused the mishap. Instead of killing her, Jean becomes stronger and starts recalling things.

When she discovers that Professor X had blocked some of her childhood memories, she becomes paranoid and leaves to find the truth for herself. In an ensuing melee to bring her home, a tragedy occurs that divides the X-Men.

It turns out that the matter that Jean has absorbed is capable of destroying worlds.

The leader of a dying race (Chastain) manages to track down Jean and manipulates her in a bid to harness the power to create a new homeland for her race.

Like Logan, Dark Phoenix ponders on the consequences of our actions. In the case of Professor X, he is portrayed as a man who refuses to own up to his questionable decisions.

Turner is especially brilliant when she goes full blast as the Dark Phoenix, looking regal as she glares at her enemies before destroying them. Chastain is also superb as the icy-cold villainous who taps in on Jean’s vulnerabilities.

Fans of this franchise would enjoy seeing their favourite Mutants coming together to save the day, but the ending is somewhat bittersweet.

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