Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain.
OUR RATING: ★★½
Superhero sequel written and directed by Simon Kinberg. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) follows the X-Men as they face their most formidable and powerful foe, one of their own, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner). When a solar flare hits the X-Men during a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey is nearly killed. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite, not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.
Our Favorite Quote:
Jean Grey: Who are we? Are we simply what others want us to be? Are we destined to a fate beyond our control? Or can we evolve, become something more?
Young Jean Grey: Where are my parents?
Professor Charles Xavier: My name’s Charles Xavier, and…
Young Jean Grey: They’re dead, aren’t they?
Professor Charles Xavier: Yes, they are. And I’m very sorry to have to tell you that.
Young Jean Grey: So what happens to me now?
Professor Charles Xavier: Well, that’s why I’m here, actually. You see, I have a school that is for young people who are like you. Special.
Young Jean Grey: Special’s just a nice word for…
Professor Charles Xavier: Weird? Or crazy? Yep. Yep, sometimes, it is. But sometimes, it can be a word used to describe people who are significant, amazing, or just really cool. You’ve got gifts, Jean.
Young Jean Grey: I break things.
Professor Charles Xavier: How does this sound? If you break something, anything, I can fix it.
Young Jean Grey: Not anything.
Professor Charles Xavier: I can help you. I can help you so that you never have to break things ever again.
Young Jean Grey: You think you can fix me too?
Professor Charles Xavier: No. No, because you are not broken.
Raven: It’s a simple extraction. We go into space. We get the astronauts. We bring them home. Any questions?
Scott Summers: Yeah, like a thousand.
Raven: We don’t have time for a thousand.
Kurt Wagner: So we’re going to space?
Raven: Yes, Kurt, we are going into space.
Quicksilver: Doing space missions now. Cool.
Professor Charles Xavier: Ladies and gentlemen of NASA, this is voice of Charles Xavier. Could someone please apprise me of the situation?
NASA Tech: We were picking up solar flares. We believe the heat shorted out their electricity. They lost control, communication, orientation, pretty much everything.
Professor Charles Xavier: Not to worry, Mission Control. Help is on the way.
Hank McCoy: The heat signature’s rising fast.
Ororo Munroe: I can’t hold it any longer.
Raven: We got to get out of here. I said strap in!
Professor Charles Xavier: No. Raven, no. We’re not leaving anyone behind.
Raven: I am not putting this team in more danger.
Professor Charles Xavier: What about their team? Jean can hold that shuttle together. Can’t you, Jean? You know you can do anything you set your mind to.
Jean Grey: I can hold the ship together, but not from here. I need to get inside.
Hank McCoy: Well, the heat’s spiking. We got less than a minute till those flares hit.
Professor Charles Xavier: She said she can do it.
Raven: Thirty seconds. Count it down. Go.
[Kurt takes Jean to help the astronauts]
Hank McCoy: We got twenty seconds. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
[as Kurt brings back the astronauts, Jean is struck by the energy]
Scott Summers: Where’s Jean? Kurt, where is she? Where is she?!
Kurt Wagner: I’m sorry!
Hank McCoy: Brace for impact!
[we see Jean absorbing the solar flare-like energy into her body]
Raven: [referring to Jean] You know, the President was almost sending his condolences. She should be dead.
Professor Charles Xavier: Thankfully, she’s not.
Raven: You put us in danger, Charles. You put those kids in danger.
Professor Charles Xavier: They’re not kids anymore, Raven. And I care about their safety just as much as you do.
Raven: Are you sure about that? Because we’re taking bigger and bigger risks. And for what? Please, tell me it’s not your ego. Being on the cover of magazines, getting a medal from the President. You like it, don’t you?
Professor Charles Xavier: As opposed to being hunted and despised. Well, you know, actually, I do. It’s all just a means to an end, Raven.
Raven: What end is that?
Professor Charles Xavier: Keeping us safe.
Professor Charles Xavier: You should understand better than anyone that we’re only ever one bad day away from them starting to see us as the enemy again.
Raven: So what, we wear matching costumes and smile at pictures to make everyone feel safe?
Professor Charles Xavier: That’s a small price to pay for keeping the peace.
Raven: By risking our people to save theirs?
Professor Charles Xavier: Yes! Yes!
Raven: It’s funny, I can’t actually remember the last time you were the one risking something. And by the way, the women are always saving the men around here. You might want to think about changing the name to X-Women.
Hank McCoy: [checking Jean after her space accident] Your heartbeat’s strong, pulse is good. Your brain activity’s normal. The genetic reading, I’m going to take another look at.
Jean Grey: What can’t be right?
Hank McCoy: Did you just read my mind without permission?
Jean Grey: Sorry, I didn’t mean to. But what can’t be right?
Hank McCoy: Whatever happened up there made you stronger. You know, I’ve never seen a power reading like this. You’re literally, I mean, you’re off the charts.
Jean Grey: So, what does that mean?
Hank McCoy: It means, well, I have to build a better machine. But how do you feel?
Jean Grey: I feel good.
Hank McCoy: Good. Well, as far as I can tell, you’re good to go.
Scott Summers: Did you hear what the kids are calling you?
Jean Grey: Do I want to know?
Scott Summers: Yeah. Phoenix. It’s cool. You know, bird that rises from the dead.
Professor Charles Xavier: [referring to Jean] Her mutation has grown too powerful. For the first time, I can’t penetrate her mind.
Raven: So that’s what we’re doing down here?
Professor Charles Xavier: I built Cerebro to amplify my power. I think that’s the only way I’m going to get inside her head now.
Professor Charles Xavier: The mind of a psychic is a fragile thing. It takes only the slightest tap to take it in the wrong direction. I had to make adjustments to her mind when she was young.
Raven: What kind of adjustments?
Professor Charles Xavier: Scaffolding, walls around, to keep out all the trauma.
Raven: What did you do to her, Charles?
Professor Charles Xavier: I saved her. I think that whatever happened in space did something to her. In the process, those walls that I erected are being torn down.
Professor Charles Xavier: [referring to Jean] She’s all desire. All rage, all pain. And it’s all coming out at once. Something’s happening to her, Raven. She’s changing.
Raven: Into what?
Professor Charles Xavier: I don’t know.
Scott Summers: Jean’s gone. She left.
Raven: Gone where?
Scott Summers: I don’t know. Charles, you can track her with your mind.
Professor Charles Xavier: Not anymore. She’s grown too powerful, even for me.
Scott Summers: She said she was going to see her father. That doesn’t make any sense, right?
Professor Charles Xavier: Prepare the jet. We’re going to bring her home.
Raven: Leave? Charles, you’re in no condition.
Professor Charles Xavier: Stop. She’s going to find, she’s going to find nothing good there.
Raven: How do you know where we’re going, Charles? If you can’t track here, how do you know where she is?
Professor Charles Xavier: You know how.
Raven: Jesus Christ. What did you do?
Professor Charles Xavier: I protected her.
Raven: From the truth? There’s another word for that.
Jean Grey: [outside her childhood home] I told you to stay away.
Raven: That’s never going to happen.
Jean Grey: Please. Stop.
Raven: Not until I know you’re going to be okay.
Jean Grey: Something’s happening to me.
Raven: So come home. Let me take care of you.
Jean Grey: No, you can’t. You can’t, you don’t know what it’s like.
Raven: Then tell me.
Jean Grey: Because when it comes, people get hurt.
Raven: I’m not afraid of you, Jean. Look at me. Focus on my voice. We’re going to get through this together. I’m not giving up on you, Jean. This is what family does. We take care of each other. You’re my family, Jean.
Jean Grey: Stop!
[Jean loses control of her powers and accidentally kills Raven]
Professor Charles Xavier: [at Raven’s funeral] We are all at war, at war with ourselves. And Raven had been waging that war for most of her life. I hope now she’s found peace. Raven died doing what she did best. Helping a friend. A friend in need. She is not gone. She lives on through me, through us, and through the spirit of the X-Men.
Mutant Student: [referring to Raven] Is it true? Jean killed her?
Scott Summers: She didn’t know what she was doing. Jean lost control. But she’s still Jean. She’s still our friend. We can still help her. We can find her. We bring her home. That’s what we’re going to do, okay?
Ororo Munroe: It wasn’t an accident, Scott. She killed Raven. Maybe you can’t admit that to yourself, or to them. But it’s the truth.
Scott Summers: That was not Jean. Not the Jean I know.
Ororo Munroe: Sometimes, you want to believe people are something that they are not. And then by the time you realize who they are, it’s too late.
Professor Charles Xavier: [in the kitchen] Do you know, this is where I first met Raven. She was just this little girl, and she’d broken in, looking for food. I said she could stay, and that she’d never have to go hungry again. And then I think I promised her a better life.
Hank McCoy: And then you took it from her.
Professor Charles Xavier: I beg your pardon?
Hank McCoy: You heard me.
Hank McCoy: [referring to Raven] This is your fault, Charles. It’s your fault that she’s dead.
Professor Charles Xavier: Come on, that’s not fair.
Hank McCoy: Fair? Oh, don’t talk about fair. You messed with the mind of an eight year-old girl.
Professor Charles Xavier: Jean?
Hank McCoy: You pushed out all that pain and anger. Where do you think it’s going to go?
Professor Charles Xavier: I did that to help her. What I do, I do to help all of you.
Hank McCoy: Oh, please. Come on, please! You still can’t see what you did wrong?
Professor Charles Xavier: Let’s just…
Hank McCoy: No, you need to face this, Charles! You need to face it! Come on, admit it to me right now! Come on! Admit it!
Hank McCoy: Charles, just admit you were wrong, please. You still can’t.
Professor Charles Xavier: I really hope you feel better, Hank. I hope that raving on me five minutes after I put my foster sister in the grave, is making you feel a damn…
Hank McCoy: This isn’t about me. You know what, I know what I did wrong, okay, Charles? She was going to leave. Raven was going to leave, and I talked her out of it. She saw what the rest of us didn’t.
Professor Charles Xavier: And what was that?
Hank McCoy: This whole time, we’ve been trying to protect these kids from the world, when really, we should’ve been protecting them from you.
Jean Grey: [sitting in the rain, crying, trying to wipe the blood off her shirt] I don’t know what’s happening to me. Why? Why did I do that?
Erik Lehnsherr: [at the mutant refugee island of Genosha] Why don’t you start at the beginning? Whose blood is that?
Jean Grey: What?
Erik Lehnsherr: On your shirt. Whose blood is it? Look, I’m not Charles. I can’t read your mind.
Jean Grey: You hurt people.
Erik Lehnsherr: It’s been a while.
Jean Grey: But you did.
Erik Lehnsherr: Yes. What did you come here to ask me?
Jean Grey: How did you stop?
Erik Lehnsherr: I’ve lived with vengeance my whole life. Ever since I was a child, I lost everyone I ever loved. So, I hurt people. Yes. Kill people. Killed whatever I thought would make the pain go away. It didn’t. No matter how many souls I sent under. So I stopped.
Jean Grey: I don’t know how to stop. I don’t know what’s happening to me. When I lose control, things happen, bad things, to people I love.
Erik Lehnsherr: Whose blood is that? Isn’t that why you came here? What do you think I can do for you?
Jean Grey: I don’t know!
Erik Lehnsherr: Yes, you do.
Erik Lehnsherr: Whose blood is that?
Jean Grey: I don’t want to talk about it.
Erik Lehnsherr: Did you hurt someone?
Jean Grey: Please!
Erik Lehnsherr: Answer the question, Jean.
Jean Grey: Stop, Erik, you’re making me angry.
Erik Lehnsherr: Good! I want you to be angry. Show me what happens, Jean.
Jean Grey: I don’t want to hurt you!
Erik Lehnsherr: What happens when you’re angry? Show me. Show me what…
Jean Grey: Stop!
Vuk: [as Jean looks like an old man] Hello, Jean.
Vuk: [we see Jean looking like herself again] You can’t control my mind like theirs. I’m not like them.
Jean Grey: How did you find me?
Vuk: Let’s just say, I have friends in high places.
Jean Grey: Who are you?
Vuk: The better question is, who are you? Are you a scared little girl who answers to a man in a chair? Or are you the most powerful creature on the planet?
Jean Grey: I don’t know who I am.
Vuk: Yes, you do. You’re the girl who everyone abandons.
Jean Grey: Maybe they had good reason.
Vuk: Because of what’s inside you? You’re afraid of it because you think it makes you bad. Evil. All the words you’ve been taught to keep you in line. Words created a very long time ago by men with very little minds. They can’t begin to comprehend what you are. Even your X-Men.
Jean Grey: And you can?
Erik Lehnsherr: Well, why are you here, Hank?
Hank McCoy: You have eyes and ears around the world to help you find mutants for this place.
Erik Lehnsherr: I want you to help me find Jean.
Erik Lehnsherr: I’ve no reason to find her.
Hank McCoy: Not for me. Do it for Raven.
Erik Lehnsherr: She sent you?
Hank McCoy: You don’t know?
Erik Lehnsherr: Know what, Hank?
Hank McCoy: Raven’s dead. Jean killed her.
[looking struck with emotion, Erik turns from Hank]
Hank McCoy: I need you to help me find Jean.
Erik Lehnsherr: If I find her, I’ll kill her.
Hank McCoy: I know.
Jean Grey: [referring to Vuk’s alien companions]They know who I am?
Jean Grey: And they’re not afraid of me?
Vuk: The only person here afraid of your power is you.
Vuk: What entered you in space was not a solar flare, and it was not an accident. It was drawn, to you.
Jean Grey: What was it?
Vuk: A pure and unimaginably powerful cosmic force. We saw it enter you in space. We were there, Jean, following that force.
Jean Grey: Why?
Vuk: Because it’s the spark that gave life to the universe, and the flame that consumed my world.
Vuk: What remains of my people searched the stars for that power to control it. But it destroyed everything it ever came into contact with. Until you.
Jean Grey: Why me?
Vuk: Because you’re stronger than you know. Because you’re special, Jean.
Vuk: With my help, you could control what’s inside you. Harness that power to create whole new worlds. Turn dust into water. Water into life. It’s your destiny, Jean, to become something greater. To evolve into the greatest force in the galaxy.
Vuk: I told you they could never understand you. And what they don’t understand, they fear. And what they fear…
Jean Grey: They seek to destroy.
Erik Lehnsherr: Did Raven suffer?
Hank McCoy: Not for long.
Erik Lehnsherr: I know we’ve had our differences in the past, but…
Hank McCoy: We both loved Raven.
Erik Lehnsherr: Yes. Yes, we did.
Professor Charles Xavier: [as Erik is going to kill Jean] Hello, old friend.
Erik Lehnsherr: Save the “old friend” s**t, Charles. And stay out of my way.
Professor Charles Xavier: I’m sorry for what she did. But I can’t let you go in there.
Erik Lehnsherr: You’re always sorry, Charles. And there’s always a speech, and nobody cares anymore.
Professor Charles Xavier: We do this here, now, they’ll see us as monsters. Violent freaks fighting on the streets of New York.
Erik Lehnsherr: What did I tell you?
Professor Charles Xavier: Damn it, man, your homeland will be gone! Everything you care about.
Erik Lehnsherr: Save it.
Scott Summers: If you touch her, I will f***ing kill you.
Professor Charles Xavier: Don’t do this, Erik. Killing Jean will not bring Raven back.
Erik Lehnsherr: The girl dies.
Erik Lehnsherr: I know whose blood that was.
Jean Grey: You cast me out. Now you come here to kill me?
Erik Lehnsherr: That’s right.
Jean Grey: [as Erik tries to use his powers to kill her, Jean deflects it easily] And you couldn’t even do that. Let me show you how.
[she uses her power to smash his helmet and throws him out the building]
John Grey: [as Jean reads Charles’s memories and sees his conversation with her father] Will you take her?
Professor Charles Xavier: Yes. I can help her in ways that you can’t.
John Grey: She can’t be helped. She’s a lost cause.
Professor Charles Xavier: No, she’s not. As long as there’s someone who cares for her, who believes, then there’s still hope.
Jean Grey: I never asked for this. Any of it.
Vuk: I traveled the stars for a gift that you don’t want?
Jean Grey: Then take it. Please. Free me.
Vuk: I’ll try.
Professor Charles Xavier: [as Vuk begins to absorb Jean’s power] Stop it, you’re going to kill her!
Vuk: Your lives mean nothing. Your world will be ours.
Professor Charles Xavier: You’ll kill us all.
Professor Charles Xavier: Jean, you have to let go. Jean, let go! Let go, Jean, let go! Let go!
Vuk: I have no desire to fight you.
Erik Lehnsherr: I get that a lot.
Vuk: You wanted her dead.
Erik Lehnsherr: I had a change of heart.
Professor Charles Xavier: I was trying to protect you. I was trying to keep the pain away. But…
Jean Grey: [Charles hears Jean through his mind] You just buried it.
Professor Charles Xavier: Jean. Where…? Are we inside my mind?
Young Jean Grey: It’s more peaceful than mine.
Professor Charles Xavier: [speaking to Jean through his mind] I’m so sorry for what I did to you.
Young Jean Grey: I know.
Professor Charles Xavier: All I ever wanted was to protect you and give you what you deserve. What every child deserves.
Young Jean Grey: A family.
Professor Charles Xavier: Yes.
Young Jean Grey: I know you did what you did out of love. I forgive you.
Young Jean Grey: I know what I need to do now.
Professor Charles Xavier: What is that?
Young Jean Grey: Protect my family.
Professor Charles Xavier: [just then Jean wakes and rises] Jean, wait.
[Jean saves the mutants from Vuk and the ensuing train wreck]
Jean Grey: You want this power? You’re going to get it.
[as she tries to use her powers, the other mutants starting to get vaporized]
Scott Summers: Jean!
Vuk: You can’t control it. If you kill me, you’ll kill them all. Your emotions make you weak.
Professor Charles Xavier: [Jean looks over to him and nods her head] Jean.
Jean Grey: No.
[Jean takes Vuk into outer space]
Scott Summers: Jean!
Jean Grey: [to Vuk] You’re wrong. My emotions make me strong.
[she unleashes her power, killing Vuk]
[after Jean has killed Vuk in space, they see a burst of energy in the sky in the form of a phoenix]
Scott Summers: She’s gone.
Professor Charles Xavier: She is free.
Jean Grey: [as Scott puts up a plaque with the school renamed to Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters] I know who I am now. I am not simply what others want me to be. I am not destined to a fate I can’t control. I evolved beyond this world. This is not the end of me, or the X-Men. It’s a new beginning.
[we see Hank is the new dean of the school]
Erik Lehnsherr: [joins Charles at café in Paris] How’s retirement treating you?
Professor Charles Xavier: What are you doing here, Erik?
Erik Lehnsherr: [referring to the chess board he’s brought with him] Came to see an old friend. Fancy a game?
Professor Charles Xavier: No, not today, thank you.
Erik Lehnsherr: A long time ago, you saved my life, and you offered me a home. I’d like to do the same for you. Just one game. For old times sake.I’ll go easy on you.
Professor Charles Xavier: No, you won’t.
[the both laugh softly, then as they start playing, a flaming phoenix appears in the sky]