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Read: X-Men Dark Phoenix is pretty whacky

When it comest to the movies I don’t expect a Marvel adventure to challenge me, or change the world. These films are escapist fare chock full of superheroes grappling with their own inner darkness and conflict while trying to save mankind from some evil force. They are brimming with special effects, rousing music, a little bit of pathos or romance and not a huge amount of plot. 

The X-Men franchise is an interesting one because at the heart of this strand of films is the message that humanity is diverse and we shouldn’t judge people on their differences or their talents. 

OK – perhaps I’m stretching that a bit, but let’s face it, the X-People are mutants, and the rest of society fears and sometimes loathes them. If that isn’t a morality tale I don’t know what is.

The latest instalment is X-Men Dark Phoenix. This one is set in the past and explains how Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) evolves into Dark Phoenix. 

Unbeknownst to her and her family, Jean has telepathy and telekinesis powers and accidentally kills her parents when she is overwhelmed by her senses and crashes the car they are travelling in.

Years later she’s joined the X-Men and she goes into space with a group of colleagues to rescue astronauts trapped in a space shuttle. She becomes infected by a nebulous pink and shimmery substance that contains the power of creation and it gives her even stronger powers. 

I suspect one of those superpowers must have been the ability to always have the perfect look – no matter what happens to her,  her hair and makeup are flawless!

Back on earth Jean starts freaking out and causing mayhem. She gets pissed off with everyone and when she gets angry someone ends up hurt.

She’s also pursued by aliens in human form who’ve been stalking the shimmery space-gas for nefarious reasons.

Predictably there are titanic battles, personal struggles, and even a death (I won’t say who dies). Enemies become friends, friends become enemies  – you know the drill!

The thing I find funny about the Marvel films are the mutants themselves. I can suspend belief, but really…

Three of the characters look like grown up Smurfs. Chief alien Vuk (Jessica Chastain) could well have been on loan from the Twilight Series, and one of the baddies uses several long pony tails as whips. It’s all pretty whacky. 

While X-Men Dark Phoenix has great special effects and some compelling action sequences, it’s pretty short on plot and at times quite boring. It also feels like a parody of the genre.

And that’s a pity as it had the potential to be a really cool action/fantasy.  

X-MEN DARK PHOENIX  – In NZ Cinemas June 6th 2019

114 Minutes


Simon Kinberg 


James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Jessica Chastain


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