Eleven years ago both The Dark Knight and Iron Man were unleashed onto the world and thus birthing the modern comic book movie era. It’s easy to forget what came before 2008 when Marvel was struggling to find its place at the cinema. In 2000 we were given X-Men, a comic book movie that tried its best not to be a comic book movie and even at times making fun of itself for being what it is . Over the next eight years we got two more X-Men movies, X2: X-Men United, which still holds up and the forgettable X-Men: The Last Stand. After that one we needed a break and it worked out for us all as a new cast and new direction seem to breathe life into this franchise.
Now with the fourth movie of this series, Dark Phoenix, and after two stellar entries with the First Class and Days of Future Past, things are not looking so bright once again. The present is on solid ground for the X-Men and Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) who has gotten his wish to have his X-Men be welcomed and even considered heroes to most. When an accident threatens the space shuttle, the X-Men spring into action. Lead by Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), the team attempts to save the astronauts from what appears to be solar flares. Things though are not as they appear and when Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) gets involved in saving the ship, and encounters a being that inhabits her, leaving her changed. Once back on Earth, Jean is having problems controlling her abilities and she is becoming more powerful than ever. The event also attracts another race of creatures who want to use the power that has infected Jean to bring back to their race and to destroy the planet. It is up to Jean to find herself and to save not only the X-Men, but every man and woman on Earth.
For a series that started so well back in 2011, this franchise really took a nose dive with its previous entry with X-Men: Apocalypse. The good news with that, is that there was really only one way to go with Dark Phoenix, and that would be up. On the surface the series looked to be on shaky ground as it was starting to feel like Fox was just putting something out as these characters were about to enter the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will without a doubt change everything. Well I am here to say it is not as bad as it could have been, and in fact there are some good stuff going on here. Writer and Director Simon Kinberg really embraces the dark in the title and you get to see some sides of characters you have not seen before. Unfortunately Kinberg also embraces some bad dialogue, lazy story choices, mainly the film’s main antagonist who really have no background that helps you understand who they are or what they want. Once you get past those flaws, everything else is just fine, with even most of the cast raising above what they are given. I wish this series was going out with a bigger bang, but what we end up with, instead of fireworks, is more of a sparkler. I look forward to the next life of the X- Men, and am kind of glad this chapter is finished.