<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Simon Kinberg. Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Jessica Chastain

Running time: 2 hours


A reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes was lamenting how this X-Men film didn’t have the ‘emotional impact of so many Marvel films’! Ha ha, really. Like the Avengers films where the ‘super heroes’ are fighting the bad guys in the middle of a city falling apart and people are dying and then they crack a joke or do something slapstick? The humour and playful banter of the Marvel films does set them apart from the dark DC movies. But the X-Men movies have always had a distinct voice and feel about them, which mutant lovers are fond of. Which is why I think that Dark Phoenix, while not being a great film or finale movie from 20thCentury Fox (bought over by Disney who own Marvel), is an enthralling piece of cinema that fits into the X-Men universe just fine. Everything doesn’t have to be Marvel and we should thank god for that. 

I don’t think there’s an X-Men film that I hated. Some were very good, others were just okay. But they took their subject matter seriously and there was drama and no unnecessary jokes while people were being killed or cities were being destroyed. And while I watched Dark Phoenix, the entire IMAX cinema audience was quiet, eyes-transfixed on the story unfolding on screen; testament to a film that has gotten your attention.


Dark Phoenix is part of the ‘X-Men: First Class’ prequel series where the ‘young X-Men’ feature in origin stories of sorts. It’s also the sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse. With actors like Fassbender, McAvoy and Lawrence at the healm, you can be certain of some fine acting. In Dark Phoenix, apart from the dark side of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), we also get to see some not-so-flattering sides of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and some of the other mutants. There’s the usual message of being different but being proud. And of course, the in-trend ‘woman power’ message is reinforced with lines like, “The women on this team have saved the guys most of the time, maybe you should consider renaming it the X-Women!”

Powerful emotions that make our characters stronger surface, pushing and pulling our heroes in internal battles that are far more interesting than the perfectly choreographed battles the Avengers wage monotonously in film after repetitive film. Sure they could’ve done more with it but considering the franchise was going to be abruptly cut off due to the Disney buyout, they probably didn’t have much say, with Marvel being a partner in the production. All I can say is that my friend, who isn’t a big super hero fan, thought the movie was interesting and engaging as well. We can’t keep Marvel films as the benchmark for everything or cinema is truly doomed!


While Logan may have been the perfect finale for the original X-Men series (with Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman), Dark Phoenix is a fitting end to the First Class films.

If you’re an X-men (or -women) fan then you can’t miss out on this last instalment and I truly hope that Marvel does not mess with the tone of voice and gritty feel of this franchise when they take it over.



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