'X-cruciating': Final X-Men movie 'Dark Phoenix' is getting panned

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Dark Phoenix (Credit: Fox)

Dark Phoenix, the last movie in the current X-Men series, appears to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

The film is getting a thorough panning at the hands of the critics – not the swan song the Fox studio will have hoped for as it hands over the reigns of the future X-Men movies to Disney.

The movie finds Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, the telepathic mutant with telekinetic powers, who becomes the deadly Dark Phoenix after being exposed to a mysterious cosmic force during a mission in space.

Read more: X-Men’s future would have been radically different under Fox

He powers threaten the universe itself, leaving her fellow X-Men with a devastating choice to make.

But for all the drama in the set-up, and praise for Sophie Turner's performance, it seems that the action on screen doesn't stand up.

In a one-star review, The Daily Telegraph's Robbie Collin said: “It’s hard not to wonder where the wit and glamour of 2011’s X-Men: First Class disappeared to, and why this franchise decided to trade uproariously period-specific ensemble capers for lugubrious soap-operatics.

(Credit: Fox)

“Under any circumstances this would have been X-Hausting. But with this cast, it’s been X-Cruciating to behold.”

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw says: “The point of a phoenix, dark or otherwise, is that it rises from the flames. But these are the flames in which this franchise has finally gone down.”

“Not even Turner, with her radiant screen presence and her ability to make strength and vulnerability seem indistinguishable, can ultimately save Dark Phoenix from its own failures of imagination,” reckons The LA Times’ Justin Chang.

The Washington Post says the movie sends the X-Men off 'with a whimper, not a bang'.

Read more: Chaos behind-the-scenes on X-Men

“Dark Phoenix isn’t kidding about the 'dark' part. The latest, and probably final, chapter in the X-Men superhero saga is a somber, even funereal affair — not in a stylish, Christopher Nolan-esque way, or even a la Logan, the deliciously cynical comic-book-noir contribution to the mutant canon from 2017,” says Michael O'Sullivan.

“Rather, if a movie can be said to suffer from low-grade depression, this one certainly seems to be, shuffling in its socks and bathrobe through a not-quite-two-hour running time with an attitude that is closer to grudging obligation than enthusiastic commitment.”

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (Credit: Fox)

Others called out the phoned-in peripheral performances, Den of Geek complaining: “At least Turner's trying, which can't be said for some of the other members of the cast. Jennifer Lawrence is all but checking her watch during her scenes as Mystique.”

It's not quite all gloom, with Empire offering up three stars, adding: “Better than Last Stand or Apocalypse but never hitting the heights of X2, Dark Phoenix thrives when its heroes are front and centre. If this is the end, it's a solid rather than spectacular goodbye.”

Also starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Jessica Chastain, it's out now across the UK.