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Peter T Chattaway

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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Links to our threads on X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Deadpool (2016), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), Gambit (2016), Logan (2017), X-Men: The New Mutants (2018) and a purported X-Men / Fantastic Four cross-over (in development?). We don't seem to have any threads on X-Men (2000) or X2: X-Men United (2003).

So when does this new film take place? In the 1990s (in keeping with the one-movie-per-decade approach of these films)? Will the characters still look as young as they did in the 1960s?

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Fox Formally Sets Simon Kinberg To Helm ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix;’ Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy Return
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has formalized plans for Dark Phoenix, the next installment of the X-Men franchise. This all just happened, but they’ve formalized Simon Kinberg as director, and the studio set a release date of Friday, November 2, 2018. Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are all reprising when production begins in Montreal. . . .
Deadline.com, June 14

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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I'm not generally a fan of just posting external reviews from non-members (or snippets thereof), but, man Adam Frazier's review made me laugh:

Quote

 

It's like X-Men: The Last Stand went out for dinner and drinks with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, invited it back over to their place, put on some Hans Zimmer, turned down the lights, and made a Very Stupid Baby™. In addition to being a retread of The Last Stand, Dark Phoenix is also a bootleg of Captain Marvel. Both movies are set in the 1990s, with a hero who can't remember her past, who absorbs an insane amount of cosmic energy and becomes all-powerful, and is then pursued by shapeshifting aliens.

It's contrived, derivative, and entirely joyless, but Dark Phoenix's biggest sin is that it's boring. Beyond the space shuttle rescue, the rest of the film's action set pieces are entirely forgettable. Perhaps it's because the movie takes place primarily in school hallways, suburban homes, trains, and hotels. There is one new location – a place X-Men fans have wanted to see on-screen for 19 years – but when we finally get there, it looks like a farming community out of The Walking Dead. In addition to the uninspired production design, the X-Men's matching uniforms are the dullest superhero costumes since the black leather suits in Bryan Singer's original film. The special effects look equally as cheap. There isn't really a single eye-catching thing about this movie, which is crazy considering it's about a bunch of mutants fighting a bunch of space aliens over a Redhead Possessed By Evil Space Bird™.

 

 

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It’s better than The Last Stand, at least. But I found myself wholly unengaged, even by things that happen to characters that have been around since the beginning of the franchise. And Jean—well, it’s just not a terribly compelling performance, in spite of Jason Adams’ insistence that the whole thing is a queer romp. I did like some things—the action (the above-posted review to the contrary) is generally fine and at least didn’t bore me the way most action in most superhero flicks does. And, um—the costumes look neat? (Btw, this is the second superhero movie I’ve seen this year that opens with a traumatic car crash. I don’t know that that means anything, but it caught my attention)

Anyway, with the X-Men back in the Marvel fold, it’s looking like this is the last hurrah of the franchise as it currently sits (New Mutants would be a kind of coda). And I’m kind of sad about that, because the X-Men have been, not the most consistently good, but the most consistently interesting superhero movies of the past couple of decades. I regret seeing them pass. 

EDIT: Ok, here's something I don't know--did Apocalypse (which I've not seen) introduce a fundamental divergence between our political history and that of the X-universe? Or is that implied in DoFP? I ask because the president here (in 1992) is definitely not George H.W. Bush. That pushes the franchise away from the occult history that makes First Class and DoFP so interesting. Those movies are a lot of things, but one thing they are is a pop-political meditation on American power during the 1960s and '70s (and, in the case of DoFP, on drone warfare and the dangers of authoritarianism implicit in the American security state). This movie is fundamentally not political, at least in that way. The occult history falls away the minute someone who isn't G.H.W.Bush isn't president onscreen.

If Adams is right in reading it as a queer text, it's one about how minority groups (including but not limited to LGBTQ folk) are only "one bad day" away from having all their tentative gains stripped from them. Now, this in itself is an interesting direction to follow, in some ways. Apocalypse came out only one year after marriage equality was established in the U.S. a scant four years ago. If the X-Men movies have been pursuing a queer subtext this whole time, that makes this the first movie in the franchise to be entirely conceived and produced both in the wake of massive advancements for LGBT rights in the U.S. and in the face of massive encroachments on those newly-won rights. So the tenuous nature of the past four years' worth of progress seems to be a very live subtext in this movie (barely a subtext, since Xavier gets a couple of speeches on this very theme). That would theoretically make a worthy capper to the franchise, given its origins. 

A better movie would have done this whole thing better, but I think it's there anyway.

 

Edited by NBooth

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Meanwhile, here’s Walter Chaw. 

Dark Phoenix is a powerful film, shockingly so. People die you don't expect to die. The experience of it is akin to the opening of Days of Future Past, where the Sentinels are killing everyone--or Logan, where everyone's dead already. It's exhilarating to see intellectual properties used as they were intended: as metaphors for our fears, our sins, our gods, ourselves. The conclusion involving subway cars and surprise alliances is the best extended action sequence of the entire franchise, not the least for the symbolic power of trains.

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