DARK PHOENIX Reviews Call Fox's Final X-MEN Movie "Inexplicably Boring" And A "Whimper Of A Conclusion"

DARK PHOENIX Reviews Call Fox's Final X-MEN Movie "Inexplicably Boring" And A "Whimper Of A Conclusion"

The reviews have landed for Dark Phoenix, and it sounds like Simon Kinberg has delivered a disappointing and unsatisfying conclusion to the X-Men Saga that begun way back in 2000. Read on for details...

There hasn't been a huge amount of buzz surrounding Dark Phoenix, and that's pretty much been the case ever since the movie was announced. Throw in multiple delays, reports of extensive reshoots, and the fact that Marvel Studios will be rebooting the franchise in the not too distant future, and it's no surprise that Fox's final X-Men movie is expected to have the lowest opening of the series.

Unfortunately, those of you hoping that reviews might make a difference are going to be disappointed, because they're in and, well, they're not good.

While a handful of critics do find some nice things to say about Simon Kinberg's finale, most were left underwhelmed by what sounds like an ending that wraps this era of stories up with a whimper rather than a bang. An argument could be made that when the movie was being put together, no one knew Dark Phoenix would be the end, but it sadly still sounds like a terrible movie!

Below, you'll find reviews from entertainment websites, the trades, magazines, YouTubers, and more. To check them out, all you guys have to do is click on the "View List" button. 


Thus the X-Men franchise, for now, goes out not with a grand finale, but a relentlessly mediocre entry that once again whiffs on one of the canon’s great stories. The blame doesn’t lie solely with Kinberg, the studio, or the actors, although they’ve factored into it. Kinberg should get the chance to direct again, and perhaps once he’s free of the burden of trying to untangle the past 19 years of tortured X-Men continuity, his writing will pick up as well. [2.5/5]

SOURCE: Den of Geek

The phoenix that is the X-Men saga had completed its latest rebirth cycle to be reduced to ashes yet again — and this time, mercifully, it looked like it would stay that way.

SOURCE: Mashable

Toying with ideas of identity and destiny that it telegraphs in spoon-feeding voiceover, “Dark Phoenix” wants to be about who we are and those who aren’t afforded that choice— positing that Jean Grey might be destined for greatness or fated to be a monster, but personal agency of who she truly is, has never been in her control. It’s admirable material on paper, but it’s also just layers of stuff that’s meaningless and empty. And so imagine a story about an arrogant movie that believes its psychologically complex, but ultimately can’t see itself for the shallow superhero movie it truly is. [C-]

SOURCE: The Playlist

[Ultimately], if Dark Phoenix underscores anything, it’s the enduring appeal of these characters; whether they’re proper X-Men movies or spinoffs, no matter how bad they get - and boy howdy, Apocalypse was unwatchable - people keep coming back for more. Kinberg and Fox have tried so many times to deliver stories that they think people want; and after twenty years, maybe it’s time to deliver the first one that somebody just thinks should be told.


Better than Last Stand or Apocalypse but never hitting the heights of X2, Dark Phoenix thrives when its heroes are front and centre. If this is the end, it’s a solid rather than spectacular goodbye. [3/5]

SOURCE: Empire Online

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, as Charles Xavier and Magneto, respectively, have also consistently elevated this prequel series with performances that go way beyond the usual park-and-bark of the genre. They will be missed. For thus ends Fox’s X-Men series that’s lasted nearly 20 years. As Disney and Marvel Studios take the reins, I hope they embrace the stakes, humanity and scrappiness of these special characters. And, for the love of God, go easy on the quips, Mickey.

SOURCE: New York Post

Dark Phoenix is ultimately yet another fumbled take on the classic saga from the Marvel Comics, albeit one without the side plots of The Last Stand. Add to it a jarringly uneven latter half and some underdeveloped cosmic villains, and Dark Phoenix is fortunate to have not fully ended the X-Men’s current big screen run on a completely down note. While the MCU may prove better suited to give so many of these beloved mutant characters the rich dimension and care they deserve, the property itself deservedly needs a good long rest before the X-Men return to the screen. [6.3/10]


The point of a phoenix, dark or otherwise, is that it rises from the flames. But these are the flames in which this franchise has finally gone down. [2/5]

SOURCE: Guardian
Under any circumstances this would have been X-Hausting. But with this cast, it's been X-Cruciating to behold. [1/5]

SOURCE: The Telegraph

In “Dark Phoenix” you can sense Kinberg trying to summon that same finesse, to disappointing ends. He does pull off one diverting action sequence, set aboard a fast-moving train and goosed by an enjoyably bombastic Hans Zimmer score. Unfortunately, he also tries to explain the mysteries of the Phoenix with a dead-on-arrival subplot involving a race of alien body snatchers whose leader is played by an uncharacteristically listless Jessica Chastain. Her heavy-lidded gaze, presumably meant to suggest otherworldly detachment, merely holds up a mirror to the audience’s boredom.

SOURCE: The Los Angeles Times

I do wonder, 20 years from now, how we’ll look back on these movies. My guess is entries like Dark Phoenix and X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Last Stand will be forgotten, while films like X2 and First Class and Logan will all be remembered fondly. So, yes, it’s a shame we didn’t get one last great X-Men film, but in the end, it won’t matter. There are still a whole heck of a lot of them that will stand the test of time.

SOURCE: Uproxx

It’s possible, of course, that there was a better Dark Phoenix once; the finished film, finally opening after delays probably associated with the Fox merger, bears the clear mark of post-production rejiggering. Certainly, this series, uneven and repetitive though it could be, deserved a stronger sendoff before the inevitable MCU reboot. But maybe it got that in Logan, whose final image is more powerful—and conclusive—than anything this skimpy, quasi-farewell can muster. Now there was a different kind of X-Men movie.


The first couple of “X-Men” movies in the 2000s, and more recently “X-Men: First Class” and “Logan,” set the standard for what this long-running franchise could and should do. Compared to that ilk, “Dark Phoenix” simply flames out.


And even with the film’s reshoots happening amidst talk about the series coming to an end, there is no definitive conclusion offered to audiences. As bad as they sometimes could be, the X-Men movies were tremendously influential blockbusters in 21st century filmmaking, and the series deserved much more than this sad whimper at the finish line. [1.5/5]

SOURCE: Cinema Blend

Shot in 2017, with a delayed release due to bad test screenings and reshoots, Dark Phoenix is on course to be the lowest US box-office opening of the series to date. It’s not as much of a disaster zone as that sounds. Solid enough superhero filler, as X-Men movies go, this is not First Class but it’s no Apocalypse either. [2/5]

In hindsight, Dark Phoenix's delay from November 2018 hasn't helped. With it repositioned as the 'culmination' of the X-Men series, it suffers in comparison to Avengers: Endgame and one key third-act beat is a carbon copy of a Captain Marvel moment. It leaves the movie in a tricky position of being a well-made but overly familiar entry in a crowded superhero field. Combine that with the mixed build-up to Dark Phoenix's release, and the movie just doesn't do enough, unfortunately. [3/5]

SOURCE: Digital Spy

That more might be out there somewhere, in a movie that took increased time and consideration and, frankly, budget. (The special effects in Dark Phoenix are borderline bad.) What exists now, though, can’t even mount a weak defense of its own existence. “You’re right, you’re right, I’m sorry,” the movie seems to say, delivering its pat ending and then quickly shuffling off, embarrassed. If this is indeed the last installment of this version of the X-Men universe—with McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, and the rest—then it’s a pretty pathetic goodbye. I’d probably rather they’d just ghosted.

SOURCE: Vanity Fair

“Dark Phoenix,” on the other hand, is designed to avoid pushing any buttons. Or doing much of anything else, for that matter. It just sort of happens, and not even the movie itself seems to know why. “Dark Phoenix” promises that the X-Men will rise from the ashes — that Jean Grey will be reborn from her own pain — but there’s no use holding your breath for a miracle; this entire franchise feels like it’s already been interred. [D]

SOURCE: IndieWire

After a shaky opening, Sophie Turner's Jean Grey brings us on a wild ride to complete an era of mutant adventures.


Somehow, it manages to make all but a scant handful of scenes feel inexorable, inexplicably boring ... It drags on listlessly, completely unsure what to do with any of its characters--not even Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), the titular "Phoenix" of Dark Phoenix has any real clarity or purpose.

SOURCE: GameSpot
It’s true that X-Men have never exactly been the party clowns of the Marvel Universe; their hero status has always been conditional to fearful humans, and the chosen family of mutants they’ve landed in is less choice than necessity. Why should they have to banter for us, too? Still, for what is being called a final installment, it all tends to feel both anticlimactic and a little grim in the end. [B]

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly

Compared to the conclusions of other major franchises — the most recent being Avengers: Endgame — this one seems distinctly minor-league. The men who have anchored most of the X-Men outings are just spinning their wheels here, and while Jean's central dilemma is certainly dramatic enough, and is most closely entwined with the actions of two other women, what should have registered as genuinely powerful instead plays out in a pretty low-key way. In no way does this feel like a fulsome, satisfying destination to a journey that started two decades ago and logged about 30 hours in the telling.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

Yet “Dark Phoenix” took me by surprise. Simon Kinberg, who wrote and directed it (he was the co-screenwriter of “The Last Stand” — this is his first time helming a feature), is a more sensual and intuitive filmmaker than Brett Ratner. He doesn’t pad out a generic story with the rollicking eye candy of mutant effects. He uses effects to tell the story.

SOURCE: Variety

It’s very hard to tell this story in a satisfying way in this little amount of time. Multiple characters undergo life-altering changes of perspective — flipping from good to evil, sympathetic to monstrous — in a matter of seconds. The whole movie hinges on Jean Grey, a character we hardly know (the Sophie Turner version was introduced in a minor role in X-Men: Apocalypse) and her relationships to a team of heroes we’ve hardly seen. The film is like an adaptation of the original Dark Phoenix comics, and also of the Anchorman “Well, that escalated quickly” meme. Everything happens too fast, until the whole structure goes down in flames. [4/10]

SOURCE: Screen Crush

A by-the-numbers, mildly interesting attempt at telling a classic story that, unfortunately, it just doesn't have the time, space, or range to do.

SOURCE: Gizmodo

Dark Phoenix is a soulless retelling of one of the great arcs in comic book lore, and an all-too-fitting whimper of a conclusion to a franchise that never remotely fulfilled its potential.

SOURCE: Slant Magazine

A disappointingly average superhero flick, with a familiar story, disinterested actors, some cool action sequences, and a whole lot of missed opportunities.

SOURCE: The Wrap
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