Sophie Turner saves Dark Phoenix from itself (Picture: Fox)X-Men: Dark Phoenix is finally hitting screens after months of reshoots and rescheduling but despite low expectations, Sophie Turner helps to save this 12th installment in the comic franchise.
Based on the iconic comic book series by Chris Claremont, Dark Phoenix sees mutant Jean Grey absorb a mysterious cosmic force that amplifies her powers to unimaginable levels during a mission to space overseen by Charles Xavier.
The new powers cause her to lose control and unleash the Dark Phoenix, and force the only family she has ever known to decide if her life is worth attempting to save over the possible destruction of the rest of the world.
Turner (more known to audiences as Sansa Stark in Game Of Thrones) took over the role of Jean in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse but takes a leading role as Jean is forced to deal with hidden memories, the betrayal of the only father figure she has ever known, and her own deadly actions.
The 23-year-old is more than capable of going up against the likes of Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and newcomer to the series, Jessica Chastain, bringing a depth and humanity to Jean that could have easily been overridden by the special effects that the rest of the film often relies on.
Nicholas Hoult is another pleasant surprise in this film; as Beast, Hoult has been given little to do in past films but with the – spoiler alert – death of Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven, he is heartbreaking as Beast deals with his grief.
In fact, the film gives all our lead players a moment to shine and they all make the most, with Alexandra Shipp’s Storm and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler stand outs in a crowded field.
James McAvoy’s Professor X is out of character (Picture: Fox)But where Dark Phoenix struggles is with bringing this complex story to the screen with characters we already know and love.
Charles is known as a man who promotes peaceful coexistence and equality between humans and mutants.
But at this point in the X-Men universe, he has become a man who has been lured in by power and politics with a direct line to the President of the United States and seemingly more concerned with his own reputation than the mutants he has nurtured at his school.
Quite frankly, he spends much of the film acting like a world class d**k.
Magneto, meanwhile, is off living in what appears to be a hippie commune.
Yes these two get to face-off during a big battle sequence but maybe we would have been better off having a Dark Phoenix film a la Logan, one that doesn’t rely on older characters and would have opened up further the world of Jean, Scott and their friends – especially if the X-Men are going to have any chance of crossing over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And sadly, for all the secrecy around Jessica Chastain’s involvement in the film, her character never even gets a name and is possibly one of the more forgettable villains we’ve seen on screen in a while.
Director and writer Simon Kinberg has improved upon Apocalypse – not that it was that difficult to do so – but one wonders where the X-Men go next.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is out in UK cinemas now.
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