Dark Phoenix is like a low-calorie, less-filling Endgame. It’s designed to bring closure to the X-Men franchise as we’ve come to know it, before a possible reboot under new (Disney) management. I think I’ve seen nine of the 12 films that Fox has released under the X-Men umbrella since 2000. I won’t attempt to rank them, but I can say with some confidence that Dark Phoenix isn’t the best or the worst of the bunch. It’s a must-see for devoted X-Men fans, a doesn’t-hurt-to-see for MCU fans, and a no-need-to-see for most everyone else.

The plot revolves around a descent into darkness that grips beloved telekinetic Jean Grey after she’s hit by a cosmic force while on a mission to rescue some shuttle astronauts stranded in space. Jean (Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones) becomes one of the most powerful and dangerous mutants ever – the Dark Phoenix, seemingly unstoppable by her superhero mutant family, including mentor and father-figure Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, Glass, Split).

Try as it might, Dark Phoenix doesn’t pack anything close to the epic, emotional punch of the recent Avengers finale, even when a major player takes a dying breath.

But with every end, comes a new beginning… especially in the Marvel universe. Time will tell where the X-Men (and women) go from here.

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