An origin story on how the X-Men came to be, going even more in depth than the original 2000 film.
A seemingly immortal mutant is responsible for the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and Professor Charles Xavier is hired by the US government to assemble a force capable of stopping him.
A vast improvement on the previous X-Men movie (The Last Stand) and the misguided origins solo project, although it lacks Wolverine (albeit in a brief but hilarious cameo) it portrays the origins of other main characters well. James McAvoy & Michael Fassbender perfect choices for young Professor X & Magneto.
All in all, it has to be said that X-Men: First Class is in fact, first class.
X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX (12)
D: Simon Kinberg
20th Century Fox/TSG/Marvel (Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler-Donner & Todd Hallowell)
W: Simon Kinberg [based on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chris Claremont, John Byrne & Dave Cockrum]
DP: Mauro Fiore
Ed: Lee Smith
Mus: Hans Zimmer
James McAvoy (Charles Xavier / Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey / Phoenix), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven Darkhölme / Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast), Tye Sheridan (Scott Summers / Cyclops), Jessica Chastain (Vuk)
The continuation of the X-Men series before the production rights pass from 20th Century Fox to Disney attempts to re-explore the Dark Phoenix plot device, originally seen in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, which was met with a rather underwhelming response from critics and audiences.
Continuing on from X-Men: Apocalypse and utilising the same cast, Dark Phoenix is set in the early 1990's, though the characters haven't aged at all from the previous film (set in 1983), or even X-Men: First Class (which was set in the 60's). You could put this down to the fact that the characters are a mutant species, or lazy writing. It's completely up to you.
The film begins with a car crash, and it wouldn't be too far off the mark to say the film as a whole is one, as it uncovers secrets of Jean Grey's childhood which have been forgotten by the character, as she becomes one of the more powerful superheroes of the X-Men cadre, with her telekinetic and telepathic abilities.
Following a mission in space, the vulnerable teenager Jean Grey absorbs a malevolent force which amplify her powers and she struggles to control them. She goes on the run to protect her friends from her powers and finds herself a fugitive from both government authorities and an alien race, hunting her so they can use the power for their own means.
The film as a whole is quite shoddily done, simply regurgitating a storyline which had been done before and even touched upon in the previous X-Men film (Apocalypse) in a much better way.
It's clear to see that this is writer-director Simon Kinberg's debut at calling the shots, since the actions scenes are quite poorly done, with many being subject to extensive reshoots and post production manipulation. Even from a technical standpoint, this doesn't cut the mustard, with visual effects, costumes and makeup way below the bar you'd expect. I'm not even going to touch on the promotional material to advertise the film's release, which was a brand new kind of pathetic.
The performances are probably as good as they could be, since the actors do the best they can with such a poor script, which seems more focused on social justice politics than actually presenting an entertaining story.
It's easy to see why many are calling this the worst X-Men film of the franchise. On this evidence, maybe it's a good thing that 20th Century Fox have surrendered the rights to continue the series.