Sure, there are some fights - a lot of them internecine, as various X-Men start to doubt the leadership of Charles, a powerful clairvoyant who is revealed to have tinkered with Jean's mind as a child. But on a mission to rescue a team of stranded astronauts, she is consumed in a cosmic flare - a sort of aurora borealis on steroids that seems to magnify her abilities exponentially, and malevolently.
Is Jean Grey the villain in X-Men: Dark Phoenix? What its early scenes do offer is an alternate history for Jean Grey (once played by Famke Janssen, now by Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner). Same goes with James McAvoy, although this is probably the weakest version we've seen of Charles Xavier, and yet James McAvoy, is reliable as always. It was first squeezed in Brett Ratner's 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand and now tried again in Simon Kinberg's Dark Phoenix, to not much better success.
Hardcore fans would surely appreciate the scenes where each of their beloved mutants would showcase their powers, but there are also scenes focused mainly on how each of the X-Men are trying their hardest not to use their powers against each other. For all the good that they've been able to accomplish, Jean Grey's loss of control has the government chasing the X-Men. The X-Men need to choose between saving her and saving the rest of humanity. Instead of being feared and ostracized, the uniformly costumed X-Men are treated like celebrities and even have their own action figures for screaming fans. And for the life of me, I don't understand how this line could be put in this movie unless the filmmakers had all just kind of given up, because it's impossible not to interpret it as a kind of breaking the fourth wall meta-commentary about the proceedings held forth in front of us. The Phoenix force itself is left unexplored and hazily defined, essentially the outer space equivalent of a killer shark on the prowl or a demon looking for a soul to possess. We don't spend much time there but there's a key sequence involving a helicopter between Erik and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner). Dialogue, characters and themes alike frequently emerge half-realised, the cosmic scope of Claremont's comic and the expansive dash of superior X-films whittled away.
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"'Dark Phoenix" isn't kidding about the "dark" part. Upon her return to Earth, Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) notices something wrong when he screens her. Xavier attempts to read her mind, but is shut out forcefully. While Charles takes a victory lap and soaks up publicity, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) does not share his enthusiasm. Still, Dark Phoenix is not as much trainwreck as it is a slow-moving vehicle collision that ends up screeching to a halt right before it scratches the bumper in front of it.
"Dark Phoenix" is set to be the final installment of the current franchise before the film series is rebooted under the Marvel and Disney umbrella. "It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies, as the family of mutants that we've come to know and love must face their most devastating enemy yet - one of their own". Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest news on the future of the X-Men.