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George At 

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix

I dont understand all the fanboy hate and quiet box office for DARK PHOENIX, the concluding chapter in the 20 year XMen film saga.

With incredible sound design, terrific special effects and a flawless cast, it's my second favorite "First Class" XMen film after 2014's "Days of Future Past".

When a 1992 NASA Space Shuttle Mission encounters a massive energy field outside Earth's atmosphere, the XMEN jump into action to save all the astronauts aboard.

Jean Gray (Sophie Turner of "Game of Thrones") is exposed to a massive amount of energy, amping up her powers to levels that are soon beyond her control.

When tragic deaths occur, Charles (a terrific James McAvoy, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (excellent Nicholas Hoult), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan in his best performance as Cyclops) must weigh the fate of the planet alongside the fate of their friend.

A secondary plot about an alien force also wanting to take control of the power living within Jean is less compelling, but Jessica Chastain is effective as it's unyielding leader.

There are several incredible action set pieces, including a battle on a train that's incredibly well staged and never bores.

By the time Michael Fassbender enters the story as Erik/Magneto, things are already at a a fever pitch that he escalates nicely.

Yes its a special effects extravaganza, but there are superb actors here, from the always powerful Fassbender and McAvoy to Turner's terrific turn as Jean, showing more range in two hours than she did in many seasons as Sansa on "Thrones".

As always, Peters steals every scene he's in.

This is the directorial debut for Simon Kinberg, who has written the last four XMen films. Apparently the last act of the film was completely reshot with the train bound conclusion, which is spectacular. I have no idea what the original space set ending was, but this one works just fine.

Critics and fanboys alike have pounced on the troubled production and deemed this entry a loser, with less than $30 million in box office opening weekend against a $200M budget.

I won't pretend to know every nuance of the Marvel history around the story arc, but we all really enjoyed the movie.

With Disney now owning 20th Century Fox, this will be the end of the current XMen series and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. The crossover opportunities are endless.

I'm glad I ignored all the negativity around this one. We saw it at Alamo Drafthouse and the sound design is spectacular on their sound system. I now know what a Space Shuttle launch FEELS like. The sound mixing is superb throughout, putting you in the blazing middle of the action.

Funny, emotional, fast moving and fun, DARK PHOENIX recovers from the muddled story telling of the last entry, "Apocalypse" and burns brightly with a solid A-.

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