X-Men: Dark Phoenix review – cliched conclusion of the mutant saga



It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a first-time feature director to talk themselves into the driving seat of an effects-laden, multimillion-dollar franchise movie. Admittedly, Simon Kinberg (mutant power; unwavering self-belief) was already thoroughly immersed in the X-Men universe as the writer and producer of three previous instalments. But does this give him the necessary skill set to direct the whole shebang? On the strength of this painfully laboured, creaking jalopy of a superhero flick, which blunders into every conceivable pitfall and cliche, that will be a hard no. Even by the uneven standards of the X-Men movies, this is a glum exercise in film-making by rote. For all the energetic hurling around of heavy machinery, the movie feels inert and lazy. The combination of uniformly poor acting and dialogue that squeezes bloodless exposition from a stone extracts any fun there might have been from watching Jean Grey (Sophie Turner, reprising her frostily impassive Sansa Stark glower) playing telekinetic conkers with a couple of helicopters.

Jean, following a reckless gamble by her former guardian, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), absorbs a throbbing nebula of space energy that, according to slinky alien psychopath Jessica Chastain, could turn her into the greatest force in the galaxy. Or it could just result in a load of mutant angst and that hoary old action-movie chestnut, an epic battle on a speeding train.

Watch a trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
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