Dark Phoenix Recap

Jamie

When the X-Men encounter an unusual source of power in space, Jean Grey saves them by absorbing it. Unfortunately absorbing strange energy sources in space isn’t great for her health as she becomes Dark Phoenix and can’t control her rage or power. Can the X-Men bring her back (and perhaps save the world) before it’s too late? Find out in… Dark Phoenix.

How?! Several years after the X-Men saved the world from the apocalypse they are the belles of the ball and worldwide heroes. They also aren’t kids anymore as they’ve taken on the responsibilities of the X-Men team, being called on to save the day by the President like all the goddamn time. Professor X keeps pushing them to greater risks in a misguided attempt to keep them safe, but this backfires when he sends them into space to save a space shuttle and they end up in the way of a dangerous ball of mysterious energy. They are able to save the astronauts but at the expense of Jean Grey, who ends up absorbing the energy in order to protect them. Back on Earth she’s all like “wow, I feel great… almost like I’ve absorbed a whole bunch of evil energy,” and almost immediately she starts to lose control of her power. Unlocking long hidden memories of her childhood, she goes to visit her father who admits to abandoning her. Once again she is filled with rage and once again she loses control and blindly lashes out at the X-Men who come to try to help her. Raven/Mystique is killed in the process (gasp! What a twist!) and the X-Men are thrown into disarray. Seeking out Magneto, Jean Grey even scares the shit out of him and he’s all like “you crazy, girl,” and tells her to leave. She ends up meeting an alien who is super interested in the crazy dangerous power she possesses (not a great sign) and she heads to NYC to hear her out. Beast joins with Magneto and his crew in order to go kill Jean in revenge for Raven, while the rest of the X-Men also head to NYC in order to stop them. A big climactic battle ensues which ends with the US government seizing them just before the aliens can fully take the power. Locked up on a special prison train, the X-Men beg the g-men to let them fight the aliens, but they scoff and are like “they’re called aliums, bro.” Just then a bunch of the aliens attack and it’s only through the ultimate sacrifice of Jean are they able to survive. In the end Professor X retires and everything kind of goes on like before. But legend says when you look up in the sky at night you can still see a Jean Grey phoenix explosion in the sky. THE END.

Why?! This is a much darker movie than the previous installments and the motivations are darker too. It’s implied that Professor X has started to act a bit irrationally. Perhaps because he’s fame-hungry. Perhaps because he’s a little bit of an alcoholic. Or perhaps because he knows that only by becoming greater and greater heroes can he stave off the inevitable turn of humanity against them. This directly results in the terrible events of this film. The alien’s motivations are actually pretty bland. Their planet was destroyed by the great power, so they followed it around until Jean absorbed it. They then aim to use Jean to wipe out the Earth and create a new home for themselves. Pretty obvious.

Who?! Hail to the Chief and congratulations on the election of POTUS Brian d’Arcy James. Although that’s not really his name, just the actor’s name, as the President is not explicitly named… although could it still be George Bush? He just really doesn’t look much like George Bush (unlike the obvious Nixon in Days of Future Past).

What?! I didn’t notice anything specific for this spot and it’s way to early for props to go on sale (I’m thinking one of the rad leather jackets that Nightcrawler or Cyclops wears). The one really noticeable thing this film did have is a prominent “I will fucking kill you” line dropped right in the middle. It was so jarring that I didn’t even have to wonder whether the film was rated PG-13 or not. They really wanted to use that swear to great effect. Felt a little out of place instead.

Where?! A large majority of the film takes place in New York. The school is in New York (as shown on its sign), Jean’s hometown is in New York, and the climax of the film is in New York City. Very different from the rest of the series which has had a tendency to hop around the globe constantly. B+.

When?! While the X-Men series operates on a slightly different timeline than reality, it does take place in 1992 and during the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour. That would likely place this film around May 17th, 1992, the shuttle’s first launch, since it seems more like Spring. But can’t count out the possibility that it’s the second launch in September or that enough has changed in the timeline where Endeavour launched on a different date. Would need more confirmation. C-.

I actually did not mind this film. Sure, it’s small and there are moments that are cringeworthy (particularly near the end where things started to get a little funky… maybe because they had to rewrite it). But overall I thought it was considerably better than Apocalypse, which was super flat and had some bad acting from good actors (which I think can only be blamed on a terrible script). The acting in this was way better and even though the story was small in scopt, I was actually engaged in the emotions of Jean’s story. Particularly her and Scott’s romance, which was actually somewhat touching. I am surprised by how poor the reviews actually were for this and can only chalk it up to sincere affection for the Dark Phoenix story, which has been hotly anticipated and seems to fail every ten years or so, and the fact that this installment wasn’t as fun as it probably should have been… it was actually kind of depressing. But still fine. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The bad blockbusters are back jack! There have been quite a few recently, so we had to snap up one, and what better than to ride this superhero craze to its inevitable conclusion, Dark Phoenix. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I kind of realized part way through that I hadn’t caught up on the whole series. So let’s make this a review for Deadpool 2. So, I was kind of shocked that I liked Deadpool. It is immature and dumb, but amusingly small scale and its heart was in the right place. It worked well for Ryan Reynolds. The second one? Am I getting old? Because I hated this thing. The humor is kind of the same, but everything is now on a much larger (and less amusing) scale. They play a lot of the same jokes (like Deadpool growing back little baby parts) over again, and the good/bad guy in Firefist is just exasperating. I did really think Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) were great though, and overall I would watch a third. I just hope things get scaled back down a bit and maybe … I don’t know, I won’t be as tired of this brand of humor next time? Reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which I also hated, in that once the initial novelty of the concept wears off it is exactly the type of movie I cannot stand. So that’s where I was going into the viewing.

The Good – This film is weirdly … okay. If you had never seen a superhero film before I can imagine thinking “wow, that’s really cool, the effects were really good, the acting was good, I can’t believe it!” This isn’t a Batman Forever where the series tilts on its head and you know something terrible has happened, it is just a boring conclusion to a series whose main thread (the seven X-men films) has run its course. It does leave the series in an odd place, with only, potentially, Deadpool 3 being on the docket in the non-MCU world.

The Bad – It is pretty boring. Jennifer Lawrence clearly doesn’t want to be there and ends up with a number of terrible lines which just don’t really work right up to (spoilees!) she dies. The alien storyline seems tacked on, and by all accounts it was at the very least massively altered after Captain Marvel was released. I don’t begrudge the right of this Fox property to go out on its own terms, I just wish something other that Dark Phoenix was chosen. We’ve seen Phoenix like three times before, and I’m not sure we needed it to be the ultimate conclusion to this 12 movie franchise.

The BMT – Sure. This year might genuinely go down as the year of the bad blockbuster. There has been a complete 180 from last year, where literally no BMT films were released in June and July, and we’ve had multiple giant summer films fall flat. I liked this one as the series itself has been very consistent, only X-men: Wolverine Origins qualifies narrowly with 37%. So this really is a great example of a long running series fizzling out, and also tells my age a bit that I’ve seen all of these films now. I had seen nine of them naturally before this film was even chosen.

Roast-radamus – I don’t think it’ll really have a shot at Live but it’ll obviously be in the conversation. I kind of like it as a Recent Period Piece (When?) for going with a early 90s time period. Those are always fun. Arguably you have a decent MacGuffin (Why?) as well with regards to the Phoenix power. Otherwise, nope, pretty weak.

Homework Sklog-signment – As this film just came out there isn’t time to evaluate its cred, so here’s a second review for Logan which completed by viewing of all 12 X-men films. Now this film I also was weirdly not at jazzed about upon initial viewing, but I think I came around on it. I think as long as it is understood that this is a “what if” type deal (and not the actual conclusion) to Logan / Xavier’s stories I like it a lot. Basically this is a real world version of X-men, a world where the other movies are basically comic books or movies, a hopeful version of the real world stories where people died and eventually mutants died off (basically). I really don’t like it as an actual conclusion, it is too depressing to me, but as an interesting idea of what a more realistic analogue to the original movies could be I enjoyed it a lot. It is a great stand alone super hero film and I hope they do more things like this, especially considering they are, apparently, going to do an entire What If? television show.

BMT Live! Theater Review – I’ll keep this short, but I returned triumphantly to Vue, which as one would hope was clean and wonderful and not at all depressing like I find Cineworld. Sparsely populated viewing, a guy on his phone the entire time out of the corner of my eye, but ultimately it was a fine show and I found it very engaging and fun in the end. B+ viewing, no little cell phone light will bring me down.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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