DARK PHOENIX

Dark Phoenix movie poster
While a team of X-Men attempts to rescue astronauts on a space mission gone wrong, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) gets possessed by a mysterious cosmic force - turning her into the Dark Phoenix with heightened powers. As her anger goes out of control, Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and the X-Men must find a way to save her and the world.

The X-Men's latest fast-moving adventure is indeed dark-edged and at times
an emotionally draining shocker. First-time theatrical feature director Simon Kinberg, who wrote this and three other X-Men films, digs deep into the life of Jean Grey - including how and why she came under the care of Charles Xavier. But it doesn't take long to dive into the action. The cast, as with the other entries in this series, is up to the task. Sophie Turner delivers an emotional performance that will have the audience both feeling sorry for her and hating the results of her anger. James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) and Evan Peters (Quicksilver) energetically carry much of the film. Giving the superheroes more trouble is Jessica Chastain as Vuk, the leader of a vicious group of alien shapeshifters looking to control the cosmic force inside Phoenix. This force destroyed their planet and now these creatures have taken human form to conquer Earth - shades of "The Invaders", one of my favorite sci-fi television series. The plot is driven by heavy drama and several violent confrontations. The effects-laden battles range from awesome to average - a train attack goes on way too long. Hans Zimmer's terrific score covers some of the imperfections. As with all movies carrying the mark of Marvel, there are twists and surprises. Falling somewhere in the middle of this series' quality and enjoyment, "Dark Phoenix" is "X-Men"-light. (2.5/5 CAMS)

Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language)
Running Time: 113 minutes

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