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Film Review: Doctor Sleep

“When I Was A Kid, There Was A Place, A Dark Place. They Closed It Down, And Let It Rot. But The Things That Live There, They Come Back…”

With Hollywood at a particular period in cinematic history where every single word written by the steady hand of Stephen King is set for some form of live action adaptation, with the release of Pet Sematary and It: Chapter Two alone this year resulting in very successful box office returns, the release of Doctor Sleep this week reminds that the best King adaptation in the form of Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece, The Shining, has yet to be truly tested even after nearly forty years. With King’s original novel undoubtedly one of his most iconic and well regarded by literary readers, the fear of any sequel to the tale of the Torrance’s and the Overlook Hotel were first raised when Doctor Sleep was published in 2013, and whilst King’s novel passed the time nicely during my university years with some interesting ideas and charming call backs to its’ predecessor, the narrative never held the same sense of supernatural wonder that the 1977 original novel had in spades. Cue the big screen adaptation therefore, one directed by the overly impressive skills of horror aficionado, Mike Flanagan, the mind behind both Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House series and of course, Stephen King’s own, Gerald’s Game, and what we have is a movie which succeeds in paying both homage to Kubrick’s classic horror and staying as faithful to the novel of Doctor Sleep as humanly practicable, a decision which ultimately simultaneously both hinders and supports Flanagan’s latest big screen project.

With Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining only carrying a slight sense of faithfulness to the source material in the first place, Flanagan’s movie directly follows events which take place in the 1980 horror classic after a decision was made that most people heading into Doctor Sleep would have probably seen Kubrick’s portrayal of events rather than read the original text, and with a central narrative which follows a now alcoholic and middle-aged Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) and his discovery of both others who “shine” and Rebecca Ferguson’s (Mission Impossible: Fallout) band of vampire-esque killers who feed off the “steam” of those inflicted with the power of the shining, Flanagan’s movie for those who would not have read the novel is a substantial diversion from the confines of the Overlook Hotel. Blending mystery, scenes of downright horrific violence and a really beautiful genre aesthetic, Doctor Sleep does have elements of real intrigue, even for someone who has read the source material, but at a staggering two and a half hours, the movie doesn’t half drag at times, particularly when we are exposed to utterly blasphemic reconstructions of scenes from Kubrick’s original movie and a tendency to focus on particular characters who suffer from a unhealthy balance of being both uninteresting and underwritten. The Shining it is not, but as a direct adaptation of a middling King novel, Flanagan’s movie is good enough but fails to ignite the sense of haunting wonder its’ predecessor continues to evoke even after nearly forty years.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Terminator: Dark Fate

“August 29th, 1997, Was Supposed To Be Judgement Day. But I Changed The Future, Saved Three Billion Lives…”

Added into the foray of high profile film franchises in the world of Hollywood which have been dissected, disgraced and destroyed thanks to sub-par release after sub-par release, the Terminator series returns once again to cinemas this week in the form of Dark Fate, an effects ridden sequel which attempts to put the series back on track after the jaw-droppingly awful filmic abortion which was 2015’s Terminator Genisys, a film so poor that there seemed to be no turning back or sign of redemption for a story which should have ended after the events of the masterful, Judgement Day, the last decent film to be released under the Terminator banner all the way back in 1991. Completely retconning the events of the films and the spin-off television series which followed James Cameron’s original sequel, Dark Fate picks up twenty seven years after the events of the series’ second chapter, a movie which follows an incredibly familiar and well-worn narrative as it attempts to both pay homage to Cameron’s original films whilst offering a potential way forward for the franchise, and whilst the latest Terminator offering isn’t as dreadful as previous entries in the series, Dark Fate is pretty much as generic as it can get in terms of a loud, bloated Hollywood blockbuster.

Directed by Tim Miller of Deadpool fame, Dark Fate begins with a snippet of film from Judgement Day, with the famous interrogation scene of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor within the confines of the mental institution utilised to remind audiences of her character’s existence as well as confirming once again just how well directed Cameron’s sequel really is, and whilst it’s rather heartwarming to see that Hamilton still exists as an actor as she once again rips up the big screen with her sarcastic, heartless demeanour, Miller’s movie might as well be a retread of the a-typical Terminator narrative. With the “John Connor” hero subtype now being re-focused onto Natalia Reyes’ Daniela Ramos, the plot sees Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) take up the mantle of the primary protagonist as she continuously battles against Gabriel Luna’s (Rogue One) Rev-9, an awfully designed rehash of Robert Patrick’s infamous T-100 and a villain whose primary scare factor is the jarring CGI which follows him as he leaps around in attempt to make his character carry some form of relevance. When Arnie eventually and inevitably turns up, the film does begin to pick up slightly but when a two hour film is essentially just a twenty first century rip-off of two science fiction classics, it’s fair to say that maybe it is time to put the Terminator franchise on hold indefinitely.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: Zombieland: Double Tap

“Life Is About More Than Just Survival. We Were A Family. Dysfunctional, Sure, But What Family Isn’t…”

How a lot can change in the world of cinema in just one decade. Since the release of the first Zombieland back in 2009, Emma Stone has picked up a much deserved Academy Award, Woody Harrelson stunned audiences with a career-best performance in the first season of True Detective and Jesse Eisenberg has become more and more of a sanctimonious asshole after winning plaudits for his central role in the outstanding, The Social Network and then bombing any chances of redemption after delivering one of the worst villainous performances in the history of cinema in the awfully misguided, Batman Vs. Superman. Forever placing itself in the hearts of cult movie fanatics since its’ initial release, the world of Zombieland returns with Double Tap, a movie which finally hits the big screen after years of development hell and one helmed once again by returning director, Ruben Fleischer, whose exploits since the original movie have included the vacuous and noisy double bill of Gangster Squad and Venom. With jokes aplenty, some juicy comic violence and an erratic, lightning-fast pacing, Fleischer’s movie is exactly the movie you think it is, and an enjoyable one at that.

Whilst there is some degree of a central narrative at the heart of the movie, one involving our four horsemen (and ladies) of the apocalypse splitting off from each other in search of individual life decisions, Double Tap is without doubt more interested in set pieces, set pieces involving smart, sarcastic and well timed comedic gags during the heat of the battle against the hordes of the undead who make their way into the storyline when absolutely needed. With particular gags from the original being repeated, including the well-versed “zombie rules” utilised as a recurring flashpoint and the mighty Metallica returning to boost the soundtrack’s awesomeness, Double Tap is far from original, and whereas the original was essentially America’s answer to Edgar Wright’s superior zombie classic, Shaun of the Dead, Double Tap concludes with the most Americanised and overly ridiculous climax ever seen in a zombie flick. With the cast being supported by excellent supporting cameos including the scene stealing, Zoey Deutch (Everybody Wants Some!!) and a weird post-credits sequence involving Bill Murray (Groundhog Day), Double Tap is perfect Friday night nonsense, with emphasis on the nonsense.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Rambo: Last Blood

“I Want Revenge. I Want Them To Know That Death Is Coming, And There Is Nothing They Can Do To Stop It…”

Seemingly taking the most out of his latter career surge after impressive performances within the likes of Creed, Creed II and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Sylvester Stallone returns to his second most iconic cinematic role in the form of the rugged Vietnam veteran, John Rambo, for the aptly named, Rambo: Last Blood, an impressively ultra-violent revenge flick which takes the central plot of Taken and attempts to mix it with the rugged, nihilistic and contemplative nature of something like James Mangold’s thoroughly impressive and similarly gruesome, Logan. Co-written by Stallone but directed by Adrian Grunberg, famous so far for directing the Mel Gibson starring, Get the Gringo, alongside credits on the likes of the incredibly memorable, Apocalypto, Last Blood sees Stallone’s retired Rambo now content with seeing out the remainder of his peaceful days on a dusty ranch in the outskirts of Arizona, U.S, until his beloved niece is of course captured by sadistic Mexican human traffickers when she pops across the border in order to catch up with her long lost father, a decision of which her knife-loving Uncle tells her to disregard from the outset.

Whilst I can admit to not seeing every release in the Rambo franchise, let alone remember anything about them, Last Blood doesn’t really “feel” like the typical Rambo film, with the central revenge narrative conforming to every single cliche and stereotype ever created in the history of cinema, and whilst most audience members don’t exactly head into a Rambo movie ready for two hours of heavy contemplations and art-house stylisms, Last Blood does eventually get to the set pieces which action fans will either lap up with gleeful joy or turn their heads at in disgust at how simply sadistic Mr. Rambo’s latest human cull actually is. With more knife-welding murders than most slasher flicks and some overly disturbing kills which I think even John Wick would admit to going slightly too far, First Blood is the most violent big screen film I can remember since Overlord, but with an overly wacky and absurdist sensibility, Stallone’s latest is a good old fashioned carnival of carnage which passes the time nicely and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all in the ilk of the good old fashioned 80’s action flicks of which the character of John Rambo helped build in the first place.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: It: Chapter Two

“Something Happens When You Leave This Town. The Farther Away, The Hazier It All Gets. But Me, I Never Left. I Remember All Of It…”

With It surprising both critics and audiences alike back in 2017 as it proudly declared itself as not just one of the best films of the year but undoubtedly one of the best Stephen King cinematic adaptations of all time, this week finally brings with it the release of Chapter Two, the hotly anticipated concluding tale of the battle between Pennywise the Dancing Clown and The Losers’ Club, one set twenty seven years after the events of the previous film as we see our returning heroes return to the town of Derry in order to face the fearful figure which has haunted them throughout their individual lives. Directed by the returning Andy Muschietti, Chapter Two continues the Argentine’s dedicated affection for the original King novel as he brings to the big screen a three hour long, horror adventure epic which, in a similar fashion to the original source material, is thrilling, well orchestrated and thunderously entertaining, but a film which also annoyingly suffers drastically from an overlong and poorly managed runtime, bloated pacing issues and an over reliance on very repetitive set pieces, factors of which at times puts shivers down your spine in completely the wrong way as you cry out for a cold-hearted editor to cut away the deadwood in order to create a film which would have proudly stood head to head with the 2017 original but instead, is clearly the inferior chapter of the two.

With Chapter Two of course set twenty seven years after the events of the first film, the opening movement of the movie takes time to re-introduce the adult form of our beloved Losers, most of whom have managed to move away from the confines of Derry and into successful lives elsewhere until they are quickly brought back to their homeland by Isaiah Mustafa’s Mike Hanlon, the only remaining member of the pack still residing in Derry, who quickly realises that the threat of Bill Skarsgård’s ominous Pennywise has once again returned. With the reunion party out of the way and memories of their childhood slowly rising back to the surface, the narrative then sees each of the Losers each attempt to fully remember the reason for their return, a clever plot device which allows the story to weave in and out of time shifts as we dive deeper into the lives of the Losers younger selves and further chance encounters with our beloved baby-headed primary antagonist, a strangely similar device to that seen within Avengers: Endgame whereby time travel was utilised in order for individual characters to revisit iconic sequences in an almost victory-lap appraisal of the events which have come before it. Whilst this most definitely worked within Endgame thanks to a buildup of characterisation over twenty films, the same cannot be said for Chapter Two, as the individual set pieces soon become incredibly repetitive, resulting in a sense of unease not caused by horror but by a willingness for the narrative to actually get on with it, particularly when most of the scenes do seem direct re-treads of those seen within the first film, but even with that in mind, certain set pieces do evoke a chilling sense of knowingly ridiculous, overblown horror, particularly one scene lifted straight from the novel in which Jessica Chastain’s (Zero Dark Thirty) Beverly Marsh takes a haunting trip back to her childhood home address.

With the original King novel itself suffering from a sense that certain aspects within the story go so out there in terms of the sublime ridiculousness that to transfer them onto the big screen would be nigh-on impossible, the first part of Muschietti’s vision did well to bend particular set pieces in order to cater to a more mainstream audience with alarming success, and as Chapter Two finally arrives at its’ final act, all memories of the cringey, low budget depiction of Pennywise’s true form from the 1990 television miniseries are completely expelled thanks to a final confrontation which is probably the best big screen depiction of the source material as you possibly could get. As per the overall sensibility of the film, the final act manages to blend supernatural horror elements with laugh out loud moments of comedy, where although not every pun manages to quite stick the landing, carries on the coming-of-age feel which the first chapter clearly evoked so well, as we see the Losers continue the charming character conversations and witty banter shared all the way through the first film and now almost effortlessly once again as they reunite as adults. With Chastain, James McAvoy (Dark Phoenix) and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) the clear standout performers, with Chastain particularly being well and truly put through the wringer thanks to THAT bathroom scene alone which evoked the look of Shauna Macdonald in The Descent, and a sheer fondness for the central characters, Chapter Two works excellently as a two hour horror adventure, but thanks to an unholy decision to add on an extra hour just for the memories, Muschietti’s approach to King’s novel is undoubtedly the best adaptation fans could have hoped for thanks to characters and a Pennywise for the ages, but as a standalone picture by itself, Chapter Two is baggy, but is still very, very good.

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Angel Has Fallen

“Mike Banning, You’re Being Charged For The Attempted Murder Of The President Of The United States…”

Declaring himself with a beaming smile as the world’s worst actor come the conclusion of 2016, a year in which film fans across the world were “treated” to the double delight of both Gods of Egypt and London Has Fallen, two films which will forever remain as prime examples of cinematic garbage at its’ most wretched and unbearable, the Scottish cash-grab that is Gerard Butler once again returns to the big screen with yet another entry into the “Has Fallen” film series with Angel Has Fallen, an equally poor attempt at furthering the saga of Butler’s super secret agent, Mike Banning, as we see the raggedy Bruce Willis wannabee framed for the attempted assassination of Morgan Freeman’s (The Dark Knight) peace-loving President of the United States, even after saving the world twice and being declared as a national hero. Plot holes aside, Angel Has Fallen sees Snitch director, Ric Roman Waugh, being handed the reigns for a movie which bears all the worst attributes you would expect from a recent Gerard Butler vehicle, albeit Den of Thieves which was actually very good, as it incinerates, massacres, stabs and blows its’ way through a rather generic action plot with enough brute force to leave you with quite a nasty, elongated headache. We soldier on…

With London Has Fallen not only being a genuinely terrible excuse for a big-screen action movie as it succumbed to a jaw-dropping level of xenophobia and racism I had previously not overly noticed from a blockbuster shoot-a-thon, it does comes as a warm relief to report that Angel Has Fallen stays well clear from such levels of bad taste and instead holds out more so for the utter ridiculous. With the movie executives suddenly realising that Butler himself is no longer the fresh runner bean he may have been in the past, Angel Has Fallen does sort of start in semi-interesting fashion as we come face to face with the inevitable movie baddy in the first ten minutes alongside a focus on Banning himself, whose years of war and murder seem to have finally taken a toll on both his physical and mental capacity. As soon as the explosions occur however, all level of depth is completely dropped in favour of poorly CGI’d destruction, endless, pointless cannon fodder death and a central Taken meets Shooter plot line which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever but still ends in exactly the same way you would expect from a film attempting to reach as wide an audience as possible. Add into the mix a strange cameo role from Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Reloaded) and a laughably bad Nick Nolte (Warrior) and Angel Has Fallen is exactly the type of movie you suckers made possible by paying to see London Has Fallen, albeit one which actually does manage to improve on its’ predecessor ever so slightly.

Overall Score: 4/10

Film Review: Hobbs and Shaw

“I’m Dealing With The Future Of The Planet. I’m The Necessary Shock To The System. I Am Human Evolutionary Change…”

After a rather petulant, if supposed, high-profile, on-set fall out, the hotly reported, rather extended and overly silly “feud” between the muscle-headed duo of both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel results in the release of Hobbs and Shaw this week, a similarly stupid, bloated and mind-numbingly dull spin-off from the jaw-droppingly successful Fast and Furious franchise, a blockbuster series which staggeringly continues to make shed loads of money even when the quality chops and changes more often than the leader of the Conservative party. Whilst the Furious franchise has become less about fast cars and more about fuel-injected explosions over the course of nearly two decades, Hobbs and Shaw is the first to overtly discount any notion of similarity from the set up of the series’ first couple of movies and fall more into the bracket of full-on, high-octane, science fiction oriented action, one which sees The Rock and Jason Statham pretty much play themselves as they happily accept bundles of cash in order to reprise the titular roles of Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw respectively in order to prevent a catastrophic, world-ending, overly cliched bad thing from occurring. Whilst I am all for silly, hot-headed nonsense from time to time, Hobbs and Shaw is the type of action movie which is so painfully sterile and cheap, you long for the craftsmanship of 1990’s era Michael Bay to come in and at least churn out a decent level of enjoyment, but with excess for the sake of excess and an annoying scent of self-congratulating sprayed upon it, the Furious franchise’s first spin-off makes you long for the return of Vin Diesel.

Let’s start with the stars of the movie themselves. Take The Rock for instance, a dramatically effective action superstar with enormous physicality to boot who when placed in semi-decent, B-movie esque action romps in the ilk of Skyscraper can be thoroughly enjoyable to observe, but for too long now seems to be continually placed in simply awful works of cinema including the likes of San Andreas, Rampage and Jumanji, all of which unsurprisingly then proceed to take millions upon millions of dollars resulting in the cycle of bang-average movies continuing forevermore. In the case of Hobbs and Shaw, the addition of the always likeable Statham and Idris Elba should indeed be a trio made in heaven, but thanks to a quite awful screenplay, one full of genre-literate cliches and dodgy accents, eclectic editing which literally made me cheer inside once a shot held still for more than thirty seconds, and digital effects which take you completely out of the action due to their sheer cheap and tacky sensibility, Hobbs and Shaw is a real cause for concern regarding the way in which summer blockbusters seem to be heading, particularly when you look at the other examples this year alone in the ilk of Godzilla and Men in Black, but with the movie guaranteed to be a box office marvel as it provides certain types of audiences with enough to keep them coming, I for one can only speak the truth, and in the case of Hobbs and Shaw, it really is quite crap.

Overall Score: 3/10

Film Review: Toy Story 4

“You’re Bonnie’s Toy. You Are Going To Help Create Happy Memories That Will Last For The Rest Of Her Life…”

Come the end of Toy Story 3 back in 2010it’s fair to say that a huge majority of both film critics and fans alike seemed to all be in universal agreement that the story of Woody and Buzz had been wrapped up rather beautifully, concluding a trilogy of award-winning animation movies which would forever be regarded as Disney Pixar’s very own pièce de résistance and a particular franchise that would never be topped. When the first whispers of a further sequel arose therefore, a wave of pandemonium and panic justifiably surfaced across social media, with the same critics and fans jaw-dropped at the idea that such a beloved trilogy could potentially be tarnished for what seemed to exist for no other reason than that of a quick cash-grab, and whilst many may head into Toy Story 4 carrying a suitcase worth of trepidation, what a huge relief it is to report that Disney Pixar’s latest is a heartwarming, hilarious and sometimes beautiful animated delight, a third sequel which mixes the return of all of the franchise favourite characters with interesting new inclusions alongside a central narrative which although does feel overly familiar for a series spanning twenty years plus, will undoubtedly work for both children and adults alike.

With a different director at the helm once again, Pixar Animation Studios stalwart, Josh Cooley, is gleefully offered the top job, taking the directing mantle away from the likes of John Lasseter and Lee Unkrich, after his work on recent animated works including Inside Out and Up, and with a script from a whole army of screenwriters, including Lasseter himself, Toy Story 4 primarily picks off where its’ predecessor ended, with Woody (Tom Hanks) and co. now being cared for by young Bonnie, the playful daughter of the parents living next door to Woody’s previous owner, Andy, and with Woody now being resigned to a limited amount of playtime, Bonnie soon finds herself a new best friend in the figure of Forky (Tony Hale) a makeshift, DIY hybrid of trash and toy whose lust for freedom results in Woody and the gang attempting to rescue him and bring him back to the loving arms of his creator. With more comedic punches than so-called contemporary comedies, an array of interesting new characters including Keanu Reeves’ (John Wick) Duke Caboom, and simply stunning animation, Toy Story 4 is indeed Disney Pixar at their most charming, and whilst the overall plot does seem slightly run-of-the-mill and franchise built, Cooley’s movie benefits from a tonal sensibility that only the best Disney movies can do, with it the type of movie which within the space of just over ninety minutes makes you smile, laugh and cry all at the same time. Oh, and I loved the massive nod to The Shining. 

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Men in Black: International

“We’ve Been Compromised, With Every Citizen At This Planet At Risk. Trust No One…”

With the catalogue of blockbusters appearing on the big screen post-Avengers: Endgame so far this year not exactly managing to hit the same levels of excellence in any way shape or form whatsoever, with the likes of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and X-Men: Dark Phoenix failing to win over both critics and the box office alike, one of Hollywood’s most rusty cinematic franchises is strangely brought back to life in the form of Men in Black: International in a last-ditch attempt to save the day for cinema chains across the worldWith the original Men in Black from 1997 still too darn entertaining to be regarded as a guilty pleasure, with a typically sarcastic Tommy Lee Jones and a Will Smith in full-on Fresh Prince-era brilliance resulting in a cinematic partnership for the ages, the subsequent sequel and threequel failed to ignite similar levels of excellence, resulting in sheer bemusement when rumours of a fourth entry was on the way, and with the latest chapter this time being directed by F. Gary Gray, whose work on the excellent, Straight Outta Compton, has somewhat been overshadowed after the not-so excellent, The Fate of the Furious, it’s fair to say that International isn’t the most anticipated movie of the year thus far.

With the usual acting suspects dropped in favour of Thor and Valkyrie themselves, it’s fair to say that the likeable pairing of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson (Avengers: Endgame) is one of the only good things about International, a lifeless, run-of-the-mill, cash-grab which sees Thompson as Molly Wright, a wide-eyed, alien-obsessed dreamer whose experience of the titular darkly attired agents as a young child results in her soon joining up herself and working alongside Hemsworth’s suitably cocky and annoyingly charming, Henry, in order to, you guessed it, save the world against an alien threat known as the hive. With cringe-inducing dialogue, poor storytelling and an over-reliance on forgettable special effects, Gray’s movie prefers the art of nonsensical explosions over a decent plot and whilst the inclusion of Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) as the voice of a clingy, cutesy egg-shaped alien adds a much needed level of comedic spice, International is annoyingly both a gigantic waste of time and talent, adding itself rather nicely to the collection of half-baked summer blockbusters thus far. Neurolyse me now.

Overall Score: 4/10

Film Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix

“The Mind Is A Fragile Thing. It Takes Only The Slightest To Tip In The Wrong Direction…”

With Avengers: Endgame showing forevermore how to successfully handle a blockbuster, superhero franchise which not only pretty much exceeded the expectations of obsessive fans across the globe, myself included, but ticked the boxes many times over in both the critical and financial categories, here we are no more than a month and a half later with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, 20th Century Fox’s own “endgame” which brings to a messy conclusion, the entire X-Men franchise which began all the way back at the start of the century with a movie which in retrospect, could be argued as being the kickstarter for the comic-heavy filmic universe we find ourselves in today. With the X-Men cinematic universe being handled with less delicacy as the MCU, it’s fair to say that Dark Phoenix arrives with little hype or expectation, a concluding chapter that screams with half volume a fond farewell to the alternative universe of our familiar mutated characters first introduced in X-Men: First Class, revived excellently in the franchise best, Days of Future Past, and once again in the not-so great but still watchable, Apocalypse, and with the movie attempting to revive the titular and very well regarded “Dark Phoenix Saga” from the original comics which was somewhat soiled in the franchise low, X-Men: The Last Stand, the final chapter in Fox’s almost twenty year franchise is indeed a solid, by-the-numbers superhero blockbuster, but that’s pretty much it.

As per the standard of most cinematic franchises, Dark Phoenix ultimately works or doesn’t work depending on how much you personally bring to it, and whilst I do not hold Fox’s own superhero franchise with anywhere near as much regard as I do with the MCU, I can claim to bear a slight relationship with the film’s central characters, with the likes of McAvoy (Filth), Fassbender (Shame) and Jennifer Lawrence (mother!) each returning in their respective roles, yet where the movie ultimately fails is in its’ approach to both the sloppy introduction of new characters, particularly Jessica Chastain’s (Zero Dark Thirty) criminally underdeveloped leading villain, and the wider universe, with timelines now completely out of whack and the effect of the predecessing movies having less of an impact when watching in retrospect. With sloppy dialogue and a highly predictable plot, Dark Phoenix is ultimately saved by the Phoenix herself, with Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones fame giving the best big screen performance of her career so far, outshining her elder Hollywood colleagues who in all honesty, seem to be waiting for the franchise to end in order to collect their well earned bonuses, and whilst a film which starts with a car crash is somewhat begging for certain similarities to be made, Dark Phoenix is by no means the worst superhero movie in the world, it just happens to be one of the more forgettable. See ya, X-Men…

Overall Score: 6/10