“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” (M) *
VERY likely, some readers will consider that I’m over-subjective about the merits or otherwise of a film that more likely than not I’ve seen in a cinema that was otherwise empty or, at best, shared with a mere handful of others.
They’d be right. Like them, I have tastes and preferences. Unlike them, I have an underlying view of my reviewing function. Its purpose is to give readers independent information to help them decide whether to see or not to see newly-opening films.
One personal rule deals with films made by companies that began making their millions by creating and selling so-called comic books (which are neither comical nor books) to divert filmgoers who don’t like what I write (and sometimes write to tell the editor that they could do it better). Shakespeare said it well. Hamlet, to the players: “To split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise”.
So when a movie blazons its origins from a comic book company, I set it aside in preference for one that asks the audience to think about what it’s telling them, to be challenged, to walk out into the real world grateful that the filmmakers have respected their intelligence.
For the foregoing reasons, I have avoided seeing any of the X-Men titles. But this week, I got trapped by the terms of my engagement with the editor – three new movies every issue. There was me, to my left a lone woman several rows in front, to my right in the next row, a couple who looked at me as we rose to leave.
After 114 minutes of “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”, I couldn’t contain myself. “What a load of crap”. The couple smilingly nodded what I took to be agreement. My only satisfaction about it was the reports along the grapevine that it will be the last of the X-Men.
At all cinemas