The X-Men deserved a better ending than ‘Dark Phoenix’
“Once you know the extent of your power, then you can learn to control it” – James McAvoy as “Charles Xavier” in X-Men: Apocalypse
Is this really the end for the X-Men? This is the seventh and supposedly last film featuring the main X-Men characters, although we know that New Mutants is due out next year. You can wager the farm, the tractors and the animals that there will be another Deadpool movie after the success of the first and the sequel. Some of the characters in the main series movies may wind up appearing elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point. For now though, this is the end of the road for this iteration of these characters.
The film opens in 1975 when a very young “Jean Grey” (Summer Fontana – Office Christmas Party) is riding in the backseat of a car. Her mother is driving and her father (Scott Sheperd – Jason Bourne) is in the front passenger seat. Jean loses control of her powers and the result is a horrific accident. Jean is uninjured and introduced to “Professor X” (James McAvoy – Atomic Blonde). He manages to make a connection with her and takes him away to his school.
Now it is 1992. Nearly a decade has passed since the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. People regard the X-Men as heroes. The President of the United States calls on them to rescue a space mission gone wrong. What appears to be a solar flare destroys the Space Shuttle but only after the X-Men have rescued the astronauts. The adult “Jean Grey” (Sophie Turner – Josie) was aboard the shuttle when it explodes, but somehow survives. She is not hurt, and in fact feels better than ever.
The “D’Bari” a nearly extinct race of beings with the ability to assume the appearance of any creature were watching what happened, as they want the power of that solar flare-like energy to rebuild their race. Their leader “Vuk” (Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty) is amazed at Jean’s ability to absorb the power of that cosmic energy.
Jean’s ability to control her nearly unlimited power is reduced by the presence of that energy within her. As that control erodes, so does the ability of Professor X to enter her mind to help her maintain it. Bad things happen as a result. Very bad things. That fractures the X-Men as “Hank McCoy” (Nicholas Hoult – Warm Bodies) blames Professor X for the tragedy that unfolded.
Jean flees to “Genosha” where “Magneto” (Michael Fassbender – The Light Between Oceans) leads the refugee mutants who have nowhere else to go. A U.S. Army unit seeking to take Jean into custody arrives shortly after she does and once again, things go awry. As a result, Magneto refuses her request for shelter. So she departs. After she does, Magneto learns the true nature of the aforementioned tragedy from Hank. They team up to seek out Jean to kill her. Professor X learns of this and he gathers the remaining adult mutants at his school to try to save Jean.
I won’t call this the worst of the X-Men movies. It is not great. It is not very good. Sophie Turner shines in showing us the struggle inside of her in dealing with revelations and access to unlimited power. The story is not compelling nor engaging. The action scenes are done well but those in and of themselves are not enough to turn the movie around.