Dark Phoenix, the latest movie in the X-Men franchise, opened this week to disappointing box office and critical reviews. But I went to see it anyway. One point to note: I’m not an X-Men fan. I have a general idea of who the characters are and how they became a family, but… it’s a very general idea. So is Dark Phoenix worth watching for a non-fan? And should you let the kids see this one? Here’s my Dark Phoenix parent movie review to help you decide if Dark Phoenix is kid-friendly.
Is Dark Phoenix Worth Watching to a Non-Fan?
Fandoms are wild, amirite? We know when our favorite characters are getting the short shift and we know when they deserve better. And we’re usually pretty vocal about it when it happens.
That seems to be the general consensus from critics and X-Men fans alike over Dark Phoenix. It’s sunk at the box office and the reviews are tepid at best.
But how was Dark Phoenix to a new-to-the-franchise moviegoer? Is Dark Phoenix worth watching to a non-fan?
I think it is. I usually know within the first 20 minutes or so if a movie will hold my interest, and this one certainly had it.
I didn’t hate the movie or keep looking at my phone hoping it was almost over. In the end, I was entertained and actually interested in learning more about the X-Men based on this experience. I even researched the best order to watch the X-Men movies (and man, that’s a complicated subject!) so I can get caught up to speed.
Bringing a new fan into the fold may not have been Dark Phoenix’s intention, but here I am. That’s got to be a win for X-Men fandom, right?
About Dark Phoenix
In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey.
During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. 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.
Run Time: 113 minutes
Is Dark Phoenix the Worst X-Men Movie? Dark Phoenix Review
I can’t answer the question of Dark Phoenix being the worst of the X-Men movies because I haven’t seen them all.
It might be, but I really have no idea and didn’t want to slam a movie based on what a fan would expect and want when I simply wasn’t there yet.
But I can say this: as someone who doesn’t X-Men, Dark Phoenix was easy enough to follow as far as the relationships and basic storyline.
I’m sure there were nuances and moments that I missed since I didn’t have the background of previous X-Men movies to help bolster the history. That was pretty obvious and it probably took me a beat or two longer to get on board at times.
However, the way the story is put together and the details that are given through character reactions and interactions made it clear what was meant and implied. I wasn’t struggling (too much) to understand what was happening.
The overall pacing of the movie is pretty slow until all of a sudden it’s just way too fast in the last act. This is where my lack of background knowledge of the various mutant’s powers hindered me. I wasn’t sure who was doing what in the big fight scenes and eventually just gave up trying to figure it all out.
I also had the impression that Charles Xavier was some big hero in the other movies, but Dark Phoenix explores some of his manipulative tendencies. I found that interesting and it gave me the impetus to want to know more.
If you love comic book stories and are willing to take a chance, I think you can make worse decisions than Dark Phoenix. The special effects and CGI were well done and pretty cool, actually!
No-Guilt Fangirls Podcast Dark Phoenix Review
When Can You Pee During Dark Phoenix?
If you’ve gotta head to the bathroom during Dark Phoenix, I’d say these moments are going to be the best times.
- After Raven says “let’s go home” in the spaceship around 18 minutes in
- After a major character’s death occurs (you can miss the funeral scene and not be lost) around 44 minutes in
- After the scene in the bar between Jean and the blonde around 1:05 in
Are There End Credit Scenes in Dark Phoenix?
Nope. When this movie is over, it’s really 100% over.
Head to the nearest exit and enjoy your day!
Dark Phoenix Parent Movie Review
If your kids have seen the other X-Men movies or Marvel/DC superhero films and you are ok with that level of violence and action, then you’re family should be ok with Dark Phoenix.
There are tons of fight scenes, plenty of people being killed, but not too much gore or blood. One moment happens early on with a horrific car crash that is realistic and in slow motion that I feel it could impact a young child even more than the fantasy of the mutant’s powers at work.
In this Dark Phoenix Parent Movie Review, I can’t call Dark Phoenix kid-friendly, but it’s not terrible if they are over the recommended age of 13.
The language in Dark Phoenix was actually pretty sparse; I think I counted 3 instances of curse words and a couple of uses of the Lord’s name in vain. But one of those curse words was the biggie F-bomb. If that’s where you draw the line, please note that it’s pretty clear what’s being said- no music or action to cover the moment up- so your kiddo is going to hear it.
There’s no nudity or sex, though there are some romantic kisses that happen on screen.
Can you take the kids to see Dark Phoenix? I’d say over 13 is pretty safe, under that age will depend upon your families tolerance for violence and language.
Rating: 5/10 – maybe 6/10. But no more than that from this non-fan.
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.