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DARK PHOENIX (2019) – My rating: 8/10

Dark Phoenix is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics X-Men characters, produced by 20th Century Fox and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the twelfth installment in the X-Men film series, a direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and the seventh and final installment in the main X-Men series. Dark Phoenix is written and directed by Simon Kinberg. In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men must face the full power of the Phoenix after a mission in space goes wrong. Being the last of the X-Men series, I wasn’t sure I wanted the experience to end.  The “Dark Phoenix” film was decent but I think Kinberg has gotten a couple of things incorrect.

**** SOME SPOILERS BELOW ****

In 1975, eight-year-old Jean Grey (Summer Fontana) inadvertently uses her telekinesis to cause a car accident that kills her parents. Shortly afterwards, Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) takes her to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where he mentally blocks the accident from her memories and helps her hone her psychic abilities.
In 1992, the X-Men respond to a distress signal from the space shuttle Endeavour, which is critically damaged by a solar flare-like energy. While the X-Men save all the astronauts who are on the space shuttle, an all grown up Jean/Phoenix (Sophie Turner) is stranded and struck by the energy, however, she absorbs all of it into her body in order to save the X-Men’s aircraft from destruction. While Jean survives the event, her psychic powers are greatly embellished as a result. At the same time, Jean’s mental block, placed by Xavier, is destroyed. While the mutants are celebrating their successful rescue at Xavier’s school, Jean accidentally attacks the mutants after having a mental breakdown, then passing out. Eventually, Jean’s breakdown leads her to travel to the mutant refugee island of Genosha to seek assistance from Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in controlling her powers, but is turned away by Erik after she engages in combat with U.S. military forces tasked with her arrest.

For the remainder of Dark Phoenix, we are privy to all that makes Professor Charles and Jean Grey tick, leading up to her rise as the Phoenix.  The film goes from dark to light to dark and so on and so on.  During Jean’s confusion and adventurous search to find and control herself, we get to see and enjoy other mutants at their best as they try to stop Jean from destroying everything  around her.  There are some earth shattering events that take place during Dark Phoenix, so be prepared for significant changes.  I’m not sure why these changes were made, I only know that they make a huge difference to the whole X-Men saga.  From deaths of favorites to name changes, you will be surprised.  Due to some of the more violent occurrences, I’m not sure I favor what has become of Jean Grey. For one, I don’t know why this is the last installment of  X-Men in the main series (whatever that means) because I think they have some explaining to do.  Hopefully, another X-Men will be made and some of the more upsetting situations will be fixed.  The film was entertaining, the plot was decent and the acting was brilliant.  In my opinion, Dark Phoenix was not the best of the X-Men but still entertaining.  FYI: The film was dedicated to the memory of X-Men co-creator Stan Lee, who passed away on November 12, 2018. Check It Out!

 

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (2016) – My rating: 9/10

XMenApocalypseX-Men: Apocalypse may very well be the best of the X-men series I’ve seen.  What made it so good was the clear, simple story that was still full of action, adventure and special effects galore.  I loved that the story wasn’t over the top, full of a million sub plots and tons of flash backs that you couldn’t put together until the end.  Instead, the story flowed and was kept simple and focused mostly on the current issues.  Of course that makes the film a little more predictable but you won’t have a king size headache when you leave the theater.  The plot is nothing I haven’t heard before.  Between Heroes (the TV series) and Marvel’s, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV series) it seems the “Mutants” are in the same boat all over the universe.  They’re considered dangerous and a threat to society, so they must be stopped by any means necessary.  In Apocalypse, the plan is to take control of them and use them to help rule the new world, headed up by an ancient “god” named En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) who was resurrected in 1983 after being entombed by worshipers who betrayed him in 3600 BC.  Claiming to be the first all powerful and immortal mutant born in ancient times, this god is able to give and take powers from other mutants at random.  Some of his powers include telekinesis, telepathy, technopathy, superhuman strength, and size-control.  His philosophy is to kill off backward civilizations. In other words, if you’re not modern, you’re history. He feels the world has lost its way without his leadership and wants to rebuild after destroying the present one. Apocalypse meets, recruits and upgrades the power of a pickpocket named Ororo Munroe / Storm (Alexandra Shipp – who can control the weather)  as one of  his 4 lieutenants. In the meanwhile,  Raven Darkhölme / Mystique, (Jennifer Lawrence – a shape-shifter) who is on her own, helping rescue mutants who are oppressed or enslaved, investigates an underground fight club and discovers Warren Worthington III / Angel / Archangel (Ben Hardy – A mutant with bird-like feathered wings on his back and is a champion fighter)  and Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee – a teleporting mutant). Raven rescues Kurt and employs the services of Caliban (Tómas Lemarquis – a  black marketeer and transporter) to safely transport him to the United States. En Sabah Nur discovers Elizabeth Braddock / Psylocke, (Olivia Munn – Caliban’s enforcer who is a mutant with telepathic and telekinetic abilities). He recruits her as the second of Apocalypse’s horsemen, known as Pestilence.  She leads him to Angel who he also recruits, upgrading his wings to metal.  He now needs one more recruit to complete his 4 horsemen.  He encounters a disgruntled  Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender – a mutant with the ability to control magnetic fields and manipulate metal, who becomes the last of Apocalypse’s horsemen, known as War.)

New to the school of mutants, is  Scott Summers / Cyclops (Tye Sheridan – a mutant that fires uncontrollable, destructive optic beams and wears a visor or sunglasses to stabilize and contain them).  He is also the younger brother of  Alex Summers / Havok (Lucas Till – a mutant who has the ability to absorb energy and release it with destructive force from his body).

For you “Game of Thrones” fans, (Sophie Turner) plays Jean Grey a mutant who is scared of her telepathic and telekinetic power, and one of Charles Xavier’s most prized students.  Sophie gives a powerful performance in X-men and lends an aura of innocence missing from everyone else.  She is perfect in this role.

Logan / Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) makes an appearance in the movie that is unique and adds a bit of comic relief at just the right time.  Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver (Evan Peters – a mutant who can move, think, and perceive at supersonic speeds).  Quicksilver also has a secret everyone is going to want to know about.

As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven with the help of Professor Charles Xavier / Professor X,  (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.  I urge you to see this sequel as it is loaded with surprises, twist and turns and is just down right good.   There are many more mutants and much more to this story.  I know I’ve given you lots of spoilers but it’s a needle in a hay stack compared to the what’s left to see.