Once upon a time, the X-Men movies reigned supreme as Marvel’s greatest movie franchise. The first two movies were both financial and critical success. In fact, X2 remains one of the best comic book movies to date. But director swaps and studio interference led to the dismal Last Stand and snowballed into the universally panned Origins. Then came along First Class to breathe fresh life into the comatose franchise, this eventually graduated to one of the better storyline adaptations in the guise of Days of Future Past which set up one of the greatest villains only to have Apocalypse fall flat on his face.
This weekend we got our farewell to Fox’s X-Men. Dark Phoenix was the studio trying to redeem its botched attempt of the classic Phoenix Saga in The Last Stand. It was to be the swan song in a very turbulent franchise. It wasn’t originally planned that way but the Juggernaut also known as Disney bought of Fox and its merry mutants rights finally were restored to the rightful owner.
The movie starts very promisingly and gets the audience invested immediately. The first act, in fact, is what an X-Men movie should be. Sadly from there, it goes south…really, really south. Bad acting aside the movie rushes through key scenes. It even gives away a key plot twist in the trailers. A movie like simply proves that having a star-studded ensemble cast isn’t enough. You need talent behind the lenses. This feature simply lacks creative insight. The cinematography is on par with high-end television at best. Simon Kinberg is better of directing an episode of Hanna Montana. He doesn’t understand movie let alone the complexing of a comic book film.
Most of the actors you loved from the last two movies are back to collect their last paycheck and deliver the obligatory lackluster performances. Even the CGI feels lazy at times. And the scripts feel like it just didn’t get up this morning and needs a caffeine fix. And Then we have the third act. Which could have both redeemed the movie and given us a proper send off. But instead is a half-baked cake that will not rise. This is no Phoenix after all.
The core X-Men movies end at Days of Future Past. Leaving the franchise there and everything holds up. (well all things considered anyway). And as a bonus, we get a beautiful send off to both casts. It leaves us with hope.
Why Fox had no chance of getting the Phoenix Saga right
Fox will always be doomed to fail with this story even if they had ten attempts at it. The real reason for the MCU success is foresight. Kevin Feige and team amp out there future. But Fox plays it movie by movie for the most part. For a story like Phoenix, you have to plant the seeds early. This doesn’t just apply to Jean but all characters involved. The Shi’Ar are an integral part of the saga. The relationship between Charles and the Princess Lilandra all add the effect and emotion. Scott’s and Jean’s blooming romance also is a key portion.
Yet some is skipped over and the rest mildly touched on. All the focus is on Jean and even that isn’t fully explored. It truly is a shame, Fox had one of the best franchises. The greatest Marvel villains. But they never fully exploited it. The MCU just inherited a goldmine of stories and villains. Goodbye Fox. And Good Riddance.