It’s been a long time since I went to see a movie on opening day. I miss the days of a big movie coming out at midnight and waiting in line outside the theater for hours playing cards and chatting with friends. I think, if there’s one thing I miss about college, it’s those memories. Nowadays, there’s no such thing as a midnight opening anymore. Everything starts on Thursday around 7pm… which is far more boring… but does work better for scheduling babysitters.
Anyway, Dark Phoenix wasn’t even on my radar. I knew it was coming out, but I didn’t intend to see it in theaters, and certainly not on opening weekend. However, a friend invited me to go and Derek was cool with watching the hobbits, so I jumped at the chance and we went to see it last Thursday. Opening day!
The theater was pretty empty, actually.
It’s not going to break any records. But for me, it was definitely the X-Men movie I have been waiting to see ever since the first one came out way back in 2000.
A lot of reviews have been bashing this movie, and if you compare it to Endgame, I can understand why. The reviewers are asking “Is Dark Phoenix the Worst X-Men Movie Yet”?
Short answer: no. X-3 was the worst. It continues to be the worst. Even Logan was better than X-3, and I really didn’t like Logan, either.
So, what did I think of Dark Phoenix.
Well, without giving any spoilers… it is a fairly straight-forward plot. I actually kind of liked that. It wasn’t the deepest or most philosophical movie on the planet, but sometimes you just want to watch something that’s fun.
And this movie was definitely fun.
The main thing I loved about this movie was that we finally finally got to see the X-Men being heralded as super heroes. They even get called that early on in the movie. Thanks to the time-hopping that they’ve done in previous movies, the world no longer hates and fears mutants. They are heralded as heroes and Professor X has a direct line to the president who apparently often calls him to see if his X-Men can help with situations beyond the ordinary. FINALLY, the writers did something other than the “humans vs mutants” device that got old somewhere around the second movie in this franchise.
The other thing I loved about this movie was that we finally got to see the X-Men go up against a different villain than Magneto or some other mutant. (Though, perhaps it could be argued that they had a non-mutant villain in Apocalypse, but I either didn’t see that movie or I REALLY don’t remember it, because reading the summary just now doesn’t ring any bells at all). Anyway, I’m not going to say who the villain is because SPOILERS but it’s fun.
Overall, this movie felt like I was watching the 90s cartoon again, and that’s about the highest praise I can give to any comic-book based movie, because that’s where I first met all of these characters.
One use of the F-word that not only bothered me with its existence, also felt forced and almost scripted after-the-fact, as the character who says it delivered it in a “what? I’m supposed to say what, now?” sort of way in the middle of a scene where he wasn’t actually a part of the conversation. I’m not certain, but if I had to guess I’d guess they threw it in on the fly in order to guarantee a PG-13 rating. There may have been some other swears, but that was the only one that I noticed.
There is a lot of super-hero violence, which shouldn’t be surprising. Not much in the way of gore or blood, though, so that was good.
Mystique gets all angsty and shouts at Xavier that maybe they should be called the X-Women and that the “women are always saving the men around here.” Groan. Can we just… sigh. Please? Why? Ugh.
And that concludes the spoiler-free portion of my review.
My rating – a solid 3.5 dragon eggs (I don’t have half-dragon egg images, though). I know that doesn’t sound great, LOL but it means I found the movie to be solidly enjoyable. 3.5 stars for an X-Men movie is high praise. It’s not on par with the movies I normally give out 4 or 5 dragon eggs to, but it was fun and I’d watch it again. If this isn’t my FAVORITE of the X-Men movies, then it’s definitely up there in the top 3.
SPOILERS BELOW – PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Here we get to talk about some spoilery things.
One of my favorite things about this movie was getting to see Magneto and Professor X on the same side. This happened occasionally in the cartoon, and I’ve been missing it in the movies. In fact, Magneto doesn’t really have ANY bad-guy moments in this movie. Even for the brief moment when he and Charles are at odds, you kind of want to side with Magneto on this one, especially knowing that he doesn’t have the WHOLE story, his actions make logical sense. Magneto is my favorite, and I love the way Michael Fassbender plays him so much more than Ian McKellen’s version. I like the broody anti-villain Magneto much more than the vengeful villain version. Haha, alliteration!
X-Men versus aliens. I’ve been waiting for this FOREVER. A NEW VILLAIN! YAY!
The final battle is just epic, okay? I mean… if you set up a movie to be a cerebral, puzzle-solving, thinking-man’s sort of story and then it devolves into a fist-fight or a question of whether or not the good guy can run fast enough to beat the bad guys (I’m looking at YOU Bourne movies) then I’m going to be dissatisfied with the movie as a whole. BUT if you set up the movie to be about powerful super heroes who must use their super powers for good or evil… then I’m perfectly fine with a movie that ends in an epic battle. If I go see a movie about the X-Men, I’m frankly going to be disappointed if I don’t get to see them using their awesome powers.
This movie does not disappoint. And Magneto finally gets to let loose in a way that is impressive and awesome (but not utterly stupid like his moving of the Golden Gate Bridge in X-3… no, I’m not over it and I never will be). Ahem.
The Phoenix. So much better than the way it was portrayed in the original trilogy. And they left potential for Jean to come back, so that was nice, though I’m not sure if they will. The X-Men franchise is so all over the place with plot holes and time hopping… who knows, this one is already being heralded as an epic failure, so maybe they’ll just remake this one with even more angsty females and return to their tried and true and super boring humans vs. mutants playbook… but I, for one, am glad this movie exists, and I’ll happily watch it again.