X-Men: Dark Phoenix – Review

Worth seeing: as a female-led superhero drama that marks a fitting end to 18 years of X-Men films
Director:Simon Kinberg
Featuring:Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan
Length:114 minutes
Released:5th June 2019


In 1992, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) sends a team of his X-Men into space to rescue the crew of the shuttle Endeavour.

Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is nearly killed during the mission when she absorbs an alien cosmic force which gives her extraordinary powers, unlocking her full mutant potential.

Unfortunately, when she returns to Earth she can’t cope with these godlike abilities and spirals out of control as she goes to the dark side and transforms into Dark Phoenix.

Her resulting actions tear the X-Men family apart.


This is the second time in the history of the X-Men franchise that they have explored the comic books’ Dark Phoenix saga but this is a much darker and grittier version than 2006’s X-Men:The Last Stand. Plus it also puts Jean Grey centre-stage in the first and long-overdue female-led X-Men film.

As Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) points out to Charles they should really be called X-Women as it is the female members who save the day (a passing nod to the current gender equality battle).

This is a superhero film which examines a dysfunctional loving family, dealing with a member suffering with mental illness and all the tensions and pressures that brings. Some of them are desperately trying to help her, mounting an intervention, while others fear she is beyond saving and is in fact a threat to herself and the rest of humanity. Meanwhile she is undergoing a mental breakdown as she grapples with her newfound powers, family betrayal and the realisation of the harm and damage she can cause.

Then there is the narcissistic patriarch (Professor Xavier) who, as the public face of the X-Men, starts believing his own hype. But as Raven reminds him while he takes all the credit, he isn’t the one putting his life on the line, time and time again, on missions.

First time director but X-Men veteran Simon Kinberg (who’s written or produced every X-Men movie since The Last Stand) delivers a compelling and riveting part-science-fiction-part-character-driven drama with an emotional punch.

It features stunning special effects and breathtaking action sequences with a standout finale.

However, it could have done without the alien subplot which was one unnecessary storyline too far.

Turner, fresh from Game of Thrones, gives a fine performance as the troubled and all-powerful Grey who is on the verge of going nuclear. McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult make a welcome return while Jessica Chastain can add villain to her extensive repertoire as the wonderfully creepy and evil albino-like celestial being Vuk.

This gorgeous looking and hugely entertaining adventure provides a fitting end to the 18 year long X-Men saga.

With Disney buying up 21st Century Fox it may be a very long while before we see the X-Men franchise rising from the ashes.