X-Men: Dark Phoenix (PG13)

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner

Directed by Simon Kinberg

The X-Men movie saga finally succumbs to sequel fatigue with this dreary and enervating entry, which is a remake of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, not exactly one of the series’ better moments. And now there are two of them.  

The ‘90s-set instalment sees Sophie Turner’s telepath Jean Grey breaking bad, following an encounter with an evil cosmic force. Her mentor Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) wants to save her because he’s partly responsible for her inner demons. 

His frenemy Magneto wants to kill her (Michael Fassbender) for reasons I won’t disclose but the trailer has already done a swell job spoiling it. 

And there are these pesky shapeshifting aliens (led by an overqualified and underused Jessica Chastain, looking like she could use some Yomeishu health tonic) who want to harness her powers for their own nefarious ends.

If ever there was a line that best describes the movie, it’s in the confrontation between Xavier and Magneto in the third act. “You’re always sorry,” the metal-controlling mutant intones. “And there’s always a speech and nobody cares.” 

That’s right, nobody cares. From the acting to the action, there’s an insufferable air of indifference; everything feels labored and pedestrian, rarely engaging. It’s like the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four all over again. 

With the X-Men rights back with Disney and Marvel, Dark Phoenix is very likely the last cinematic tour of these feuding homo superiors. If that’s true, the outgoing custodians certainly didn’t save the best for last. Neither did they send it off with a bang. (**)

Photo: 20th Century Fox

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