Friday, November 8, 2019

Twins

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! They'll be back...seriously, a sequel has been considered for this film.



Twins – 2 out of 5

Occasionally I like to revisit some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s more comedic works from the late 80s and early 90s.  Now that I’m older and less jaded about movies and entertainment, I can watch them for what they are rather than watch them as a movie snob who thinks anything popular is beneath me.  I used to think his comedies were awful but, watching them in my late 30s, I realize there is a purity to them that makes them entertaining and I can see that Arnold is truly enjoying himself in the features and that enthusiasm would hit me as I re-watched these features.  Recently, I decided to check out his first jump into the world of comedy; Twins, and I wasn’t as enamored with it as I was with other comedies I checked out.

They've come for our Double Mint gum!!!

Anyone else wanna see the big one choke slam the
little one through a table?
Julius (Schwarzenegger) and Vincent Benedict (Danny DeVito) are a pair of unlikely twins who were the product of a secret genetics experiment.  After the successful birth, they were separated and Julius went on to be raised in an island in the South Pacific and Vincent became a bit of a criminal and scam artist.  One day, Julius learns the truth about his birth and sets out to Los Angeles to meet his twin.  Vincent is naturally hesitant but the two soon come together and decided to try and find their mother.  Unfortunately, one of Vincent’s crimes comes back to bite them in the behind as he steals an experimental car wanted by a wealthy industrialist that is worth millions and a man named Mr. Webster (Marshall Bell) aims to retrieve the car and collect the money…and kill anyone who gets in his way.

Anyone else wanna see the big one choke slam the little one through a table?
The feeling just won't go away!

Twins is a pretty harmless action/comedy/drama.  The story definitely works for a comedic result and is even effective for the more dramatic moments and the performances are genuinely endearing.  This is Arnold’s first foray into the world of humor (pithy one-liners aside) and there is an honesty and a very genuine approach he brings to the character of Julius.  While I won’t argue he isn’t a touch clunky, there is this beautiful innocence he brings to the role and does a great job of being a fish out of water and a brother who genuinely wants to connect with this sibling he has never known.  DeVito is, as usual, being terrific as that loveable scumbag and, together, they have this great chemistry that feels very natural and very amusing.  Sadly, though, this one didn’t improve during my revisit like other films have and it is mostly due to how the genres don’t feel like they are mixing very well.

Now imagine this movie but DeVito is playing Frank from It's Always Sunny.

Can we just stop an appreciate how gigantic Arnold's
calves are?
The story is trying to be a comedy and a drama with a dash of action thrown in during the final act.  This is fine in theory and there are plenty example of action dramedies in the world.  Sadly though, Twins can't quite make all these genres mix together very well without it feeling compartmentalized.  There are the scenes that are clearly the comedy moments, then there are the scenes that are clearly the drama moments and then there’s the parts that are about the action because you can't have the jacked Schwarzenegger without action.  While the transition from genre tone to genre tone isn’t staggering or jarring in any way, they aren’t totally seamlessly either and there is a noticeable shift in atmosphere.  This isn’t a complete killer for the film and didn’t make the experience tedious or aggravating but it does keep the movie from being as entertaining or engaging as it could have been.

Some bad guy.  He's the coward from Starship Troopers.

Twins has some decent aspects to it that make it an okay watch.  I really like the cast and the concept is a fun idea.  Sadly, it just didn’t have the hooks to really grab me and keep me and a lot of this is due to genres that didn’t feel very blended together.  It’s not a terrible watch despite what some jaded individuals might think when it concerns a comedy with Arnold Schwarzenegger but it definitely wasn’t as fun to me as his later comedies will become.

Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Bats and turtles...natural enemies!



Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 4 out of 5

Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are no strangers to meeting up in the world of comics.  I’m a particular fan of these meetups because it reminds me of my childhood where I just mixed all my toys together and would blend the worlds of G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and more.  Well, now the fun of the comics made the jump into the animated world with Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it is just as fun as I expected it to be.

Batman doesn't have a "beating up the Foot fetish."  He has a justice fetish.

Seriously, how often does Shredder snag his blades on
things?
Four mysterious creatures suddenly arrive in Gotham and are stopping a group of ninjas from stealing tech.  It turns out the mysterious creatures are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Leonardo (Eric Bauza), Raphael (Darren Criss), Michelangelo (Kyle Mooney) and Donatello (Baron Vaughn).  After learning that a man calling himself The Shredder (Andrew Kishino) has teamed with Ra’s al Ghul (Cas Anvar) in an effort to turn the citizens of Gotham into insane mutants, Batman (Troy Baker) aligns himself with the Turtles.  However, matters soon get worse as the inmates of Arkham and Batman’s rogue gallery have been mutated by Shredder’s concoction and now stand in the way of the Caped Crusaders and the Turtles.

"...and then I just shave the chin and that's how I achieve my facial hair."

This feature doesn’t try to be anything it doesn’t need to be.  It leans perfectly in all the right elements and it results in a fun movie that captures the best stuff of the Turtles’ world and the best stuff of Batman’s world.  Additionally, the cast is fantastic and does a tremendous job of bringing the cast to life and the story is just the perfect melding of the two properties.

Of course Raph gets the cool scar.  The scar across the eye is reserved only for the
baddest of the badasses.

On my blog, I’ve mentioned with every Warner Bros./DC animated feature that their designs were starting to grow stale and that seeing the same look may be beneficial to the overall animated universe but it does start to grow tedious and tiresome.  Since this animated universe isn’t really a cohesive creation where outcomes from one movie effects other features, this same design and look also has a feeling of laziness.  I kinda want to see some of these features stretch their legs and feel less homogenized and less like they are just churned out for a buck.  While Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t venturing into bold new territories with its look, designs, and animation, it is a feature that seems to marry the typical DC animated film with the more Nickelodeon aspect of the Turtles and it works both for the tone and atmosphere of the story and for something refreshing to see when it concerns a Batman-based property.

The Joker was mutated into a snake...incels immediately love it.

Thankfully, Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn’t try to be gritty or mature because DC just doesn’t know how to do that without feeling like it was being made for 14 year olds and, double thankfully, it doesn’t hit the underlying misogynistic tones that DC just can’t seem to escape as they won't stop treating their female characters as sex objects first and heroes and/or villains a distant second.  Instead, the film is just a fun, exciting and entertaining adventure with the Bat and the Turtles.  It’s laugh-out-loud funny, the action is exciting and the whole story feels perfect for both properties.  I really enjoyed this film and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a DC animated film that I enjoyed to this degree.

Stuber

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! More like Stupid-er?  Eh?  Amirite?  No, I'm not because the film really isn't that bad.



Stuber – 3 out of 5

I’m a big fan of Kumail Nanjiani and think he is one of the funniest people in existence right now.  I also really like Dave Bautista so when I saw the two were in an action comedy together I was sold.  I didn’t get a chance to see Stuber when it hit the theaters but now that it hit the home market I decided to check it out.  It was okay.

I've thought about becoming an Uber driver at times (because I'm poor) but then I
remember I am in the lucrative business of blogging.  *falls down sobbing*

You have Bautista and Karen Gillan in this movie and you
think I won't reference the MCU?!?  You don't even know
me, do you?
Stu (Nanjiani) works at a sporting goods store during the day and as an Uber driver at night (get it, Stuber?) in an attempt to save money so he can open a spin bike gym with his friend and crush; Becca (Betty Gilpin).  One day, a beefed up police detective with some sight issues from a laser eye surgery named Vic Manning (Bautista) gets into his car so he can track down a drug lord named Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais).  This investigation is personal because Tedjo murdered his partner six months previous and, sadly, he drags Stu into the madness.  Now Manning must break the case and Stu needs to get out alive…and get a 5-star review.

I absolutely love Kumail.  You will never hear me say a bad thing about him and you
might even claim that there is love in my eyes when I speak about him.

For the most part, Stuber is an entertaining action comedy but it does falter when it concerns the story.  Essentially, Vic Manning’s investigation and the crime that he is obsessed over stopping just wasn’t that enthralling and didn’t make for a compelling movie all by itself.  While this story is never boring or completely obliterates the entertainment factor the film has going for it, it just wasn’t griping or interesting enough.  Thankfully, the film has other strong suits to fall back on.

"Just a quick call to Moondog and the Douche in the mornings and then we can get
back to work."

Quite possibly the best part about this movie is the partnership between Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani.  They have a great chemistry together and create a lot of fun and amusing moments in the film.  Both men have proven time and time again that they are very funny performers and they definitely shine brightly together in this film.  Bautista knows how to be the straight man to Nanjiani’s more goofy antics and it works tremendously well.

They really were a great duo. And since Kumail is now in the MCU, I sure hope we get to
see Drax and Kingo meet.

Stuber also delivers some really good action sequences.  This shouldn’t be too surprising because you have Bautista in the film and the dude is all about action and just his presence alone can make a good action scene but what these sequences accomplishes effectively well is balancing the humor with the exciting action.  The scenes play off the strengths of not only the actors but the establishments of the characters and makes action sequences that are funny, entertaining and also help further develop who these characters are.

I'm a simple man who enjoys a good explosion every now and again.

Stuber, overall, is a pretty fun movie that has some very funny sequences and is led by two very charismatic and entertaining fellows.  The action is absolutely fantastic and the humor is top shelf stuff but due to the crime investigation aspect of the story not really grabbing me nor feeling like it was that exciting, the overall experience felt a bit on the generic side.  It is a good movie and it is a fun and funny one but, sadly, one that wasn’t as strong with its story as it could have been.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Nowadays it's more like an expensive ticket to Hawaii, amirite?!?  I'll show myself out.



Hard Ticket to Hawaii – 1 out of 5

I can’t remember how I was alerted to the existence of Hard Ticket to Hawaii.  I’m a big fan of bad movies so it is very possible that I sensed that it was out there and sought it out but I’ve had this feature on my Watch List for at least a year.  Recently, I was able to find it and check it out and, I gotta tell you, if you love nonsense stories, pointless 80s nudity and a radioactive snake, this movie is for you!

And the practical effects for the snake are second to none!

Donna (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton) are secret agents for The Agency and are undercover in Molokai, Hawaii.  The two soon become engaged with a vicious drug lord who decide to use the place as their headquarters after they stumble upon the operation.  Things only get worse after a venomous snake is set loose…and did I mention that the snake is even deadlier thanks to being contaminated with toxic waste by cancer-infested rats?  I didn’t?  Because that is a legit thing in the film and I swear I am not making up.

80s hair is the real hero in this film!

Rocket launcher in a home.  Why not?
Hard Ticket to Hawaii is one of those movies that makes you wonder what exactly the production was thinking or what type of hard drugs they were consuming.  It has all the excess you’d expect from a 80s action film but ramped up Too Much Cocaine Percent.  Having a contaminated snake in the film is wild enough but there’s literally a scene where a man takes out one of the drug lord’s henchmen with a rocket launcher and then proceeds to take out the henchman’s blowup doll with another shot of the rocket launcher.  That scene alone brings in a million questions.  Like, why was a rocket launcher used when a more conventional weapon would have been safer and why did the henchman have a blowup doll with him in the first place?

Sure, everything about this makes perfect sense.

This product hits all the right notes to be a great bad movie to watch.  The acting is really bad, the story is non-stop bonkers and the action is amazingly hysterical.  For example, one of the heroes takes out a henchman with a Frisbee that has razors around the edge.  Or there’s the bad guy who takes a bullet directly to the face and acts like it is nothing.  The big point, though, is the acting.  I cannot emphasize enough just how bad the acting is and it is such a joy to experience.

That's an intimidating group of henchmen ya got there!

I wear the same outfit when I'm fighting bad guys.
One of the more cringe-worthy elements of the film is 80s misogyny and pointless nudity.  While I have nothing against the existence of naked bodies, gratuitous nudity in films I find to be weak-sauce.  Too often it is just distracting and feels gross in our current modern society because it is an almost definite reality that the actress might have been forced to be nude—especially in 80s films.  Add to this how often women are just viewed as sexual objects in this film—despite the two main heroes being secret agents—and the movie can, at many times, feel very scummy and gross.  Sex action comedies from the 80s—even ones with toxic snakes in them—do not age well at all.  Thankfully the film throws in some other bad elements to take away from this disgusting one.

The whole movie felt like it was written by a man who looks exactly like this character.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii is probably not going to be one of my go-to bad movies that I love like The Room or Birdemic but it’s definitely a movie I’m going to want to share on occasions with my friends for a night of riffing and laughing.  With its bad acting and ridiculous story and action, it would actually be a disservice to me to not revisit this film on random occasions.  As a bad, low-budget film that is good for a laugh, this movie can’t be beat (even with all its unnecessary nudity) but as a film judged by its own merits it is a complete work of garbage.

The Beach Bum

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I should have known better.  It is a Harmony Korine film and I've NEVER enjoyed his movies.



The Beach Bum – 1 out of 5

I really don’t like Harmony Korine’s films.  His work always strikes me as pretentious and done by a person who is trying really hard to create the appearance of being creative and artistic but never actually crafting anything remotely close to creative and artistic.  His work feels to me like a physical embodiment of the guy who wants to look really smart and insightful when taking in art and will try really hard to make it look like he understands what he just experience and will talk down to others who will openly admit ignorance but, deep down and on a level that you can just sense, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  That being said, I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Matthew McConaughey play a part he felt like he was born to play, so I checked out The Beach Bum…and, not surprisingly, hated it…with a passion…like I do all of Korine’s films.

Seriously, it really feels like the part he was born to play.

Moondog (McConaughey) is the quintessential beach bum.  He lives a life free and easy and goes where the wind takes him.  When his daughter is set to get married, he heads to Miami to be there for her and his wife; Minnie (Isla Fisher).  However, after the reception, the two get involved in a car accident and Minnie dies.  Moondog’s half of her estate won’t go to him unless he finally gets around to finishing his book of poetry, so he can prove he is mature and deserving of the massive wealth.  So now Moondog is once again going where the river of life takes him but this time it is to finish his book…and party with some interesting people all the way.

A nice scenic image in a otherwise awful movie.

When I first started up The Beach Bum, I started to get the feeling that I might actually get to see the first Korine film I would enjoy.  Unlike everything else he has made, the story actually felt like it was going somewhere and there was actually some decent establishment of character and situation.  However, after Minnie’s death, the story just became predictable Korine crap and the film just melted into a pretentious and boring mess that felt like it was made up as the production marched on.  After Minnie dies, the film is basically just random events of Moondog meeting people intercut with monotonous montages bits, with the only thread connecting them together being him writing.  There was absolutely nothing to invest in from a story perspective anymore so it just got boring.

I've been waiting for the movie that has McConaughey and Hill grabbing each
other's junk!

I have no caption for this.  I just legit love this screencap.
It's better than the entire movie.
I really should have expected this because Korine’s films rarely have a story that doesn’t feel weakly strung together and I really should have expected the other aspect that really threw me out of the film and it’s another Korine mainstay:  The unlikeable characters.  On the surface, Korine’s characters can often feel like the dirty elements of our reality, the slice of life we rarely see in the world of cinema but I’ve never seen a Korine film that is able to take these grittier elements of the world and cast them in a light where they are either engaging to watch or even sympathetic and you can understand why they can be horrid or just bad people.  Moondog too often comes off like a condescending dick and the people he surrounds himself with all come off very self-absorbed.  No one is ever explored where we can understand why they are this way and this lack of character exploration meant I’m just watching shitty people be shitty for no reason for an hour and a half (and the way this film dragged, it felt more like a three hour movie).

If Spring Breakers became a person than it would be Zac Efron's character here.

The Beach Bum is your typical Harmony Korine film.  The story may be different but it is exactly the same as everything else he has made and I found it just as grating.  While I thought McConaughey was great in his role the film proved to be too boring, the plot too meandering to get fully invested in, and the characters too unlikeable to really get engaged with.  Usually I walk away from a movie with some positive notes but Harmony Korine’s films just rub me the wrong way because they always smell of an effort to look provocative and creative but they never feel the way they smell.  I really need to stop watching his films.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Yesterday

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Imagine a world with no Beatles, I wonder if you can.



Yesterday – 4 out of 5

I was raised on The Beatles.  My father loved them and my mother still believes that she will one day marry Paul McCartney.  My mom has actually seen them in concert when she was younger and, when I was in college, she took me to see McCartney in concert and it was one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to.  There’s a reason why the songs of John, Paul, George and Ringo have become so iconic and have permanent placement in the world.  It’s hard to imagine a reality where “Rubber Soul” doesn’t exist and I think that’s why the story of Yesterday is so cool and why I was sold on it immediately when I saw its trailer.

"Are ya'll ready to get ready to rock?  Because we'll be starting in about 10 minutes."

Struggling standups would take a photo of this crowd
and caption it "packed house" on their social media
accounts.
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter in England and is managed by his best friend Ellie (Lily James).  Jack is resigning to pack it all up and quit when one night he is struck by a bus during a blackout that hits the entire planet.  After he is released from the hospital and recovers from his injuries, he suddenly learns that some things from reality have been wiped from existence…the main one being The Beatles.  Jack quickly begins performing their songs and passes them off as his own and it gets him noticed and fame is quick to follow.  However, fame puts a strain on his friendship with Lily and he can’t escape the feeling that he is a thief and a fraud.

If The Beatles never disappeared than that means the original Paul McCartney lived on!
(Note:  I don't actually believe that crazy theory)

Well, at least some good came from the event as "Wonderwall"
disappeared as well.
Right off the bat, the concept to Yesterday is pretty interesting.  I know the idea of a reality where some aspect doesn’t exist is nothing new but I really liked the idea of one man remembering The Beatles while everyone else has them wiped from their memory because they suddenly no longer exist.  Sadly, when you really think about that, it’s kind of a nightmarish situation because I don’t want to imagine a world where “Yellow Submarine” isn’t around.  However, the film takes this concept and really crafts a beautiful product that is light and fun but also emotional and moving.  I liked how the story explores the guilt Jack is feeling over what he is doing but also explores what The Beatles’ songs mean to him and why their tunes should be heard and shared.

I wonder if "Free Bird" disappeared because not a single person in any audience
yelled for it.

The performances in the film are great.  Himesh Patel does a tremendous job leading the film as Jack Malik and his performances of the songs are fantastic.  Patel also has a great chemistry with Lily James and the two are very enjoyable to watch and see how fame and unspoken feelings impact their relationship.  Kate McKinnon, who plays Jack’s agent, provides some great humor and Robert Carlyle does an amazing job playing John Lennon in an uncredited performance.

So, does a world without The Beatles mean John Lennon doesn't become a terrible
father and abusive husband or did that remain?

The only issues I had with Yesterday was the conflict of Jack using The Beatles songs for his own fame being only internal for the character.  While the reality created in the film is that the world forgets The Beatles and so it essentially makes sense that guilt could and would come about within Jack but the story also slightly dives into the idea that there are a very select few who are like Jack and remember the band.  It might have been cool to expand the conflict externally.  Additionally, the new alternate world postulates that Ed Sheeran is the world’s greatest songwriter and I had a really hard time believing that.  I’m not knocking Sheeran but it was a hard reality to swallow.

I'll accept a reality where The Beatles didn't exist but to believe that Ed Sheeran would
somehow be their replacement as an icon?  Come on!

Yesterday is a fun concept that plays it safe with its drama but definitely shines with its music and performances.  It’s a pleasant and bubbly film that acts as a celebration of some of the greatest music that’s ever been produced and the end result is a fun, amusing and entertaining feature.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Dark Phoenix

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! And Fox's X-men franchise ends not with a bang but a meh.



Dark Phoenix – 3 out of 5


Dark Phoenix marks the end of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men films (until The New Mutants comes out and I’m not so confident that film will ever see the light of day).  Fox’s history with the popular Marvel property has been a rollercoaster of a ride that jumped from amazing (X-2, Logan, Deadpool and its sequel, and Days of Future Past) to extremely hard to watch (X3) to “Holy hell, who came up with that idea” (X-Men Origins:  Wolverine—the Deadpool in that film still gives me nightmares).  Sadly, Dark Phoenix didn’t quite come up to the great bar but, thankfully, didn’t sink as far as the bad one.  It just sorta fell in the middle of something that came out and I ultimately just felt “meh” about.

Quite a dazzling cameo!


After stopping Apocalypse, the world looks at the X-Men as heroes and are called up after the space shuttle Endeavour is crippled in space by an unknown energy.  Professor X (James McAvoy) instructs the team to help.  Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) fly the team into space to save the astronauts but, during the rescue, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is struck by the mysterious energy.  Everything appears normal—better even as the energy seemed to have made Jean stronger—but a darkness starts to envelope her and it leaves Xavier and the rest of his team worried.  Meanwhile, a mysterious alien named Vuk (Jessica Chastain) is after Jean and wants to use this new power for nefarious purposes.

Push the Phoenix Force back, push it back, push it back, waaaaay back!


Well, someone didn't get the memo on how to dress
for this adventure.
It’s wild to realize that this is Fox’s second attempt to adapt the iconic story arc; The Dark Phoenix Saga.  Thankfully, it’s not as embarrassing as X3’s attempt but rather an uninspired one.  In the film’s defense, The Dark Phoenix Saga is a very complex story that involves a lot of backstory and I don’t envy the individual who decides to adapt it.  Just like how Apocalypse was too large of a villain to be established, developed and utilize entirely in a single film, this story just can’t be contained in one movie.  There’s already huge issues about developing the characters as Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean’s relationship doesn’t feel as fully developed as the story wants you to believe it is and it’s super disappointing that Sophie Turner’s time as Jean Grey isn’t giving the time it deserves, so trying to bring about this huge, cosmic-level tale that really should be treated as an event feels like just setting one’s self up for failure.  Thankfully, Dark Phoenix isn’t an outright terrible film but it is so mediocre and lackluster that it ends the X-Men’s time with Fox (potentially) on a note that felt like the film equivalent of a shoulder shrug.

The henchmen invited the lightning strikes because she gave the "lightning hitting a
toad" line again.


I wouldn't say "no" to Marvel Studios casting Turner all over
again when the X-Men enter the MCU.
I don’t want to make it sound like Dark Phoenix isn’t without its moments but it does have some cool stuff working in its favor.  Sophie Turner is legit great as Jean Grey (it’s just a shame she never truly gets her time in with the character) and there are some cool action moments that are genuinely exciting.  For example, the space shuttle rescue is a great start to the film and there is a very cool scenes with Magneto (Michael Fassbender).  Hell, the movie even has a cool cameo by the mutant Dazzler and she has a huge cult following.  However, these elements weren’t enough to save the film.

The moment was a little dulled when Magneto kept saying "pew pew pew" as the
guns were going off.


Dark Phoenix is an incredibly mundane end to Fox’s X-universe (depending, of course, if The New Mutants ever gets released).  The story is boiled down too much that it came off as forgettable and there are not enough moments to undo that and make it memorable.  With the purchase of Fox by Disney, I’m excited to see that mutants are now going to be a part of the MCU and to finally see The Dark Phoenix Saga get the adaptation it deserves—because I have no doubt that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios can do it justice.