First Dark Phoenix Reviews Suggest a Not-So-Stellar Finish for the X-Men Franchise

The final film in the X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix, is set to open this Friday. Fans are hopeful that it will end on a high note, with the remaining heroes battling Jean Grey’s newfound “dark side.” Alas, the first reviews that have posted on Rotten Tomatoes suggest that they’re not going to get the ending they want.

The critical consensus for the concluding chapter to the franchise sits at 15 percent, based on 41 reviews. That’s the lowest ranking in the movie series to date. It’s even lower than the 37 percent for 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. By comparison, X-Men: The Last Stand, which features another take on Dark Phoenix, has  58 percent. In fact, many of Dark Phoenix’s reviews feature a comparison to Last Stand, with critics actually preferring that film.

Here are a few examples of the reviews we’ve seen for Dark Phoenix, noting its many problems:

First up is’s review of the film, giving it a 4.5 out of 10. Scott Chitwood, who usually loves the series, noted the following. “I’m a big X-Men fan, but I was disappointed by Dark Phoenix. I suppose it underlines that Hugh Jackman is the true MVP of the X-Men movies. But this misstep by Fox definitely makes me more eager to see how Marvel and Disney take the X-Men ball and run with it in the future.”

Related: Get Ready For Dark Phoenix With an X-Men Celebration Video

Katie Walsh of the Tribune News Service was way harsher with her 1.5 out of 4 review.Dark Phoenix racks up a rap sheet of offenses (it doesn’t even look remotely like 1992!), but perhaps the worst is proving what X-Men Apocalypse started in its treatment of Oscar Isaac. Despite the caliber and talent of the actor, lackluster writing, directing and editing can warp a performance into something truly dreadful. Now that’s power.”

Don Kaye of Den of Geek noted Sophie Turner’s great acting in the film, but said the rest of the cast was unbalanced.  “At least she’s trying, which can’t be said for some of the other members of the cast. Jennifer Lawrence is all but checking her watch during her scenes as Mystique.” He concluded, though, that “the X-Men franchise, for now, goes out not with a grand finale, but a relentlessly mediocre entry that once again whiffs on one of the canon’s great stories.”

Entertainment Weekly, surprisingly enough, did find some positivity from the film. Leah Greenblatt noted, “You can’t keep a good X-Men down. or a bad one, really; 12 films into a nearly two-decade-old franchise, Dark Phoenix rises from the ashes of 2016’s silly, bloated X-Men Apocalypse — not a free bird, exactly, but better than what came before.”

Fans can judge Dark Phoenix for themselves when the film opens this weekend. Will you be seeing it in theaters, or waiting for it to arrive on home video? Let us know in the comments below!