hopscotchee: jessica chastain score: 56 rating: PG-13 time: 114 minutes
taking on, hands down, one of the most epic storylines in the x-men comic franchise, dark phoenix, goes out with a banger, concluding fox entertainment's x-men saga. powerfully led by sophie turner, partnered with a crazy talented make-up crew and editing team, this movie was a whole lot of fiery fun. but, as much as this movie hugged us with the hype of everything super, it unfortunately left us turning away with one fatal blast. however, it's only fair to say, prior to the review, that as much as we geek out about film, we geek out about comics, too. and given that x-men is our favorite comic storyline, as much as we are meticulous about film, we are especially meticulous about superhero films.
now, the best way to categorized our mixed emotions is chronologically, so let's start with the beginning. this movie is very colorful and flashy. so, in contrast, starting with a black frame felt appropriate to build suspense for the rest of the movie, but adding a voice over on top, although totally fitting the superhero movie standard, was a little cliché and tacky. however, immediately sweeping away any bit of cringe, we get (spoiler) the freakin' fantastic car crash sequence. ah! we hate being the people who smile, watching a little girl get served a big dish of childhood trauma, but sears, when something that stylized is unexpected in a movie, (spoiler) with the glass sherds going everywhere except jean grey as the car bounces all over the road, it just gives us the sizzley firework feels, equalling to the amount of epicness the scene draws out to be. and besides just being so flippin' cool, this, also, cleverly intrigues the audience from the get-go, while adding in subtle backstory for new viewers. so, deservedly, those two smiles that that scene got from us go to the suave special effects in the editing room that amazingly captured and tapped only the brink of extraordinary that jean grey possess.
with this, another immediate standout was for the x-men franchise to finally get the memo that woman are heroes, too, and can lead a big blockbuster movie. you know, 'cause jean grey is just like the most powerful mutant, why wouldn't she have her own movie? it was, also, very refreshing to see the writers relook the whole professor-x sitch. even though we're die hard x-men fans, we have to say the whole white man sitting in a chair, suppressing and controlling a girl's power is so freakin' messed up. like totally not cool, prof. but though they were late to the game on this one, coming after wonder woman and captain marvel, we were glad they didn't hold back. especially with, although not a surprise, sophie turner completely embracing herself in the character and taking on all the strength, power, and vulnerability of jean grey. specifically in the scene when (spoiler) jean grey is crying in the rain behind a dumpster. despite that description sounding less serious and slightly humorous, in actuality, it is very unnerving as sophie plays with such intense anxiety and panic, in contrast to her normal cool, calm, and collected self. especially, (spoiler) coming after the tragic death of raven - which hold the phone. time for a little twins and feminism. why on earth would you kill off mystique? (spoiler) and jean grey, again for that matter? huh? although this is a female led movie, it is safe to say that it is not a female empowerment movie given that two of the only three women on the x-men team die at the end of this movie. heroically or not, even iron man got three solo movies, four avengers movies, and an appearance in spider-man: homecoming before leaving the franchise. but anyway, that complaint can be strictly filed under the script.
which, speaking about the script. it started off with a strong concept and storyline yet abruptly began to wan by the end. not giving much backstory to hopscotchee, jessica chastain's character and relying mainly on special effects at end to carry out the content, what could've been an engrossing drama between friends dealing with the compromised mental and physical health of a loved one, was more consumed with showing off jean grey's powers instead of playing to the emotional, human aspect of them that would've made her powers swell in the story rather than just plain putting it in your face. another isswa (issue) with the script was its overwhelming sense of basic-ness. this was specifically seen in the dialogue, which fell flat, lacked depth, and felt more like a rough draft. now don't get us wrong, screenwriting is difficult. trust us, we experience this first hand, and our in no way saying that it's easy, however, this is a common error that many movies make, because they can overlook what it is. the dialogue. the conversation. that's it. it should flow naturally along with the plot, bringing the story to life, not be chucked full with infopackets (a term we've coined for dialogue that is so obviously put in just to explain backstory or plot of a story, because the writers couldn't find another way to put it in anywhere else). sadly, dark phoenix didn't rise above these flames, leaving the movie simple and elementary and the interactions between character's plain.
however, apart form these few discrepancies, appreciating the comics, dark phoenix was still a fun guilty pleasure to watch, ending fox entertainments's 4-movie x-men franchise. we recommend, if you liked this movie, to go and check out the full prequel saga or/and the original early 2000s x-men movies. (twinadvice: watch them in the order they came out). although, if you shared some similar thoughts with us, or this movie didn't sit so well with you, it may reassure you to know that marvel studios will be be weaving the x-men storyline into the mcu (marvel cinematic universe), so there's potential for this story to be re-done. but the question is, what will they do with the power of the phoenix force?
-- thanks, jessica xo