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X-Men: Dark Phoenix  (DVD)


Stars: James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Munn, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Ato Essandoh, Daniel Cudmore, Evan Jonigkeit, Evan Peters

Director: Simon Kinberg

Viewers should not be too displeased with this latest X-Men epic. Writer-director Kinberg sees to it that his gaudy action-and-visuals adventure moves fast enough and offers enough frequently startling spectacle to offer some compensation for the all-too-often sagging narrative.

Ironically, perhaps, given the futuristic storyline, possibly the most effective action sequence occurs at the start of the narrative with the stunningly stage car crash that introduces youngster Jean Gray, who survives the smash that kills her parents and grows up under the tutelage of McAvoy's wheelchair-bound mutant Professor X who tells her 'Young people like you are special.'

Which she is. But not necessarily the way Professor X meant.

Grown-up and now played by Turner, Gray almost dies during a life-threatening mission in outer space during which she absorbs a cosmic entity that endows her with unique malign powers far beyond anything any mutant has previously possessed.

Which leaves her to catalyse action and chaos galore as - unable to cope with the entity inside - she causes escalating chaos, leaving the X-Men to save the planet...

The franchise ends here and series addicts will not be too disappointed. Genre virgins, however, may wonder what the hell is going on and - as long as they abandon hopes of narrative logic and simply settle for admiring the award-worthy movie magic-generated action that decorates the often uncomfortably lumpen chronicle - but still enjoy the brainless thrills.

Alan Frank

USA 2019. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 08 Oct 2019