Currently, the film sits on 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest score in the X-Men series, even below X-Men Origins: Wolverine (37%), X-Men: Apocalypse (47%) and X-Men: The Last Stand (57%). It doesn't look good on the money side of things either, as Dark Phoenix is experiencing big losses at the box office, making it unlikely to turn a profit when all is said and done.
With the critics tearing into it and fans not hitting the theaters to watch it, it appears as if Fox's X-Men will go out on a whimper rather than a cosmic bang before joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's a shame, really, since the movie is far from terrible and deserved a lot more love than what it got.
Unfortunately, many people -- critics and fans alike -- had their knives sharpened for Dark Phoenix ages ago. At one point, the hatred for this film was out of control and everything associated with it was dragged through the mud. Sadly, no matter what the studio or filmmakers did, opinions weren't about to be swayed after minds were made up. If there's one thing we've learned about the internet, it's that people will double-down on their opinions rather than consider alternative possibilities.
Realistically, Dark Phoenix is a middling superhero adventure, neither sensational nor terrible. It's serviceable and entertaining, with an outstanding Hans Zimmer score, as it expands on the Phoenix lore more so than X-Men: The Last Stand did. In fact, it's a superior film on all fronts, as it at least tries to honor the source material rather than turn it into the Wolverine show. Of course, it isn't as grand or seismic as The Dark Phoenix Saga from the comic books or animated show, but that storyline will always be difficult to adapt, especially if it's over one movie.
Comparing it to other films in the X-Men series, it's also been shortchanged in the review department. For example, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a movie that even Fox laughs at, allowing Deadpool to poke fun at it at every opportunity. It's easily on the lower end of the scale in terms of quality, yet it has a higher Rotten Tomatoes score and turned a profit at the end of the day.
Same with X-Men: Apocalypse. If anything, Dark Phoenix is a step up from it, learning from the mistakes of its predecessor and addressing several of the criticisms, i.e. too much focus on Mystique and not enough on the new breed of X-Men. Sure, this latest film could've featured a better villain, a narrative build-up and set the story more in space, but it allowed the likes of Storm, Nightcrawler, Cyclops and Jean Grey to truly establish themselves as heroes in this series. That's something fans have wanted for the longest time.
When it comes to superhero movies, it's tiresome how everything is hyperbolic, with only two options: "best of all time" or "worst ever." Dark Phoenix has inevitably become a victim of the latter and will be remembered as a dud, due largely to the noise around it and not the actual quality of the film. Look, it isn't an Oscar contender by any means, but this is a case where the filmmakers and cast actually deserved better from the fans and critics.
Written and directed by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters and Jessica Chastain.