By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sophie Turner is best part of intense, dark X-Men finale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The various X-Men leaders may disagree, but in the end they all believe that working together to defeat evil is more important than desire for vengeance. Themes and messages include understanding desire for personal power vs. need to help greater good; working with others, even those you disagree with; not allowing your past to define you. Friendship, teamwork, self-control, hope are all important.
Positive Role Models
Jean is thoughtful and caring, doesn't want to hurt people she loves; she's also fierce, fearless, the most powerful being in the universe. Scott is protective, determined to save Jean. Professor X truly believes that if mutants use their powers for good or for law enforcement, they will be accepted by non-mutants. Raven is loyal to her friends, only wants to help younger mutants. She believes in telling the truth, even though Charles isn't above keeping important secrets. Hank is intelligent, selfless; he works tirelessly to keep X-Men safe, teaches younger mutants. Several strong, powerful female characters; at one point, Raven jokes that the team should be renamed X-Women. Somewhat but not hugely diverse cast.
Violence & Scariness
Tons of big, superhero-style action. Explosions, close/hand-to-hand combat, lots of superpower vs. superpower fights involving flight, weather manipulation, moving objects and people via telekinesis, shooting destructive laser-like beams from eyes, manipulating metal, transforming into a beast, moving with super speed, teleporting, etc. (both against one another and on humans). Impalement. An alien race can kill instantly -- bashing in humans' chests/hearts with mere touch. A main character is killed in a bloody way; another seems dead. Very sad death of a parent in an early scene.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting and a few passionate kisses between established couples. Both Raven and Hank and Jean and Scott seem to live together and are shown kissing, hugging in rooms together.
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Occasional use of words including "s--t," "damn," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation). One use of "f---ing."
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Products & Purchases
Nothing obvious on camera, but offscreen there's tons of X-Men/Marvel merchandise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The X-Men and Academy students drink at a big party (Jean downs a few drinks). Adults drink at a dinner party. Charles pours a glass of whiskey during a sad moment.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dark Phoenix is the fourth and reportedly final movie in the X-Men: First Class films; it centers on Jean Grey (Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner) in her all-powerful form. The movie has lots of darkness and violence, with mutant vs. mutant, mutant vs. alien, and mutant vs. human battles. Expect several deaths, one of them particularly upsetting, as well as big explosions, lots of destruction, and other typical superpower-conflict byproducts. Language is occasional and includes "s--t," "damn," and one use of "f---ing." There are a couple of passionate kisses between established couples, some scenes of drinking, and some moments of sadness at the loss (or perceived loss) of major characters, as well as the early loss of a parent. It's more women-focused than other X-Men installments and has themes of friendship, teamwork, self-control, and hope.
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What's the Story?
DARK PHOENIX starts in 1975, with a flashback to a young Jean Grey, whose telekinetic powers accidentally cause a tragic car crash that leaves her orphaned and handed into the care of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). Fast-forward to 1992, when Professor X, at the president's request, sends the X-Men to space to rescue imperiled astronauts. During the mission, Jean (Sophie Turner) absorbs the cosmic power of a solar flare, with some life-changing side effects: She suddenly transforms into an ever-growing powerful being. Meanwhile, the leader of a dying alien race arrives on Earth, takes over the body of an unlucky woman (Jessica Chastain), and searches for the power residing within Jean. As Jean grows more unpredictable and dangerous, she causes property damage, injures her friends, and discovers a secret that Professor X was hiding about her past. She then leaves the X-Men, tragically kills one of her friends, and ends up teaming up with the alien leader -- who convinces her she should unleash her powers and destroy the world. Can Jean be stopped?
Is It Any Good?
Turner is well-cast as Jean Grey, but she can't elevate this serviceable but unremarkable final X-Men film into the pantheon of memorable series endings. Writer/director/producer Simon Kinberg focuses on Jean's dark transformation, but that story comes at the expense of several characters who are limited to supporting/barely there roles. In other words, the X-Men who've made the previous First Class films watchable, funny, and clever aren't given enough screen time to shine. And some comic relief would have been welcome amid the grief and intensity of Jean's journey, but not even Quicksilver (Evan Peters) gets more than a zinger or two.
The action sequences are technically well-executed: a flurry of mutants fights first among themselves, then together against a common enemy. Fassbender and McAvoy, no longer the main characters, still play their key roles, but their interactions (until the end) are familiar and unoriginal. The crew deserves an award for Jean's impressive makeup, which apparently isn't just waterproof but also explosion- and near-apocalypse-proof: There's not a moment when Turner doesn't look positively luminous. Another memorable upside is that the film's main and most interesting characters are women, something Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) jokes about early on when she suggests that Charles change the name of the team to "X-Women." Perhaps in the next reboot, the franchise's women warriors will continue to be highlighted.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in Dark Phoenix. Big battle scenes are a regular part of superhero movies. Do you think they're necessary to the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
How do the characters demonstrate teamwork and self-control? Why are those important character strengths?
Discuss the gender issues explored in the movie. What does Raven mean when she tells Charles that he should rename the group "X-Women"?
What do you think of the ending? Do you think the X-Men films feel complete now? Do you want another reboot of the franchise?
- In theaters: June 7, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: September 17, 2019
- Cast: Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy
- Director: Simon Kinberg
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Character Strengths: Self-control, Teamwork
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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