THE MANDATE Episode 43: DARK PHOENIX Rises From the Ashes, But it Shouldn’t Have

Happy Tuesday, Mandaters! I present to you an episode I wish didn’t happen; not because I didn’t enjoy sitting down with my guest and discussing movies, but because I absolutely dreaded seeing the latest and, unfortunately, not the last Fox installment of the X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix.

It seems that for as long as this film was in production, it’s been plagued with reshoots, poor test screenings, and delayed release dates. Not to mention it was coming off the heels of the heavily criticized X-Men: Apocalypse. Throw in the fact that the studio was in the midst of being bought out by Disney, and it seemed like this was a complete recipe for disaster. However, here we are.

With all that information, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in covering this film, even for free. So I was surprised when my guest, Ken Miller (ex-Eaten Alive), not only claimed to be an Apocalypse apologist but that he was genuinely excited to see Dark Phoenix. With our drastically different levels of interest in this film, I just knew he had to be the guest for this episode. Right from the jump, I force him to defend Apocalypse, and he does his best. We agree to disagree and move onto the topic at hand. Ken explains in detail how the Dark Phoenix storyline was the series that got him into reading comics. He explains that he should know better going into this film, but it’s his deep connection to the comics that make it impossible for him to not be excited about it. Despite his eagerness to check out the film, it was surprising to hear where his honest expectations lied. I hold nothing back and predict that the film is going to be utter trash.

When the film concludes, just as I expected, we agree that it was rubbish. I allow Ken to go first and force him to eat crow on what we just suffered through. He does his best to pick out the high points of the film and what they got right from the comics, but ultimately conceded that they have once again ruined his beloved storyline. Coincidentally, we put it together after the fact that this is also the director Simon Kinberg’s second botched effort getting this right, as he was the writer for X-Men: The Last Stand. Unsurprisingly, I find even less redeeming qualities in my assessment of the film. There are some more discussions about the previous films and how they compare, as well as some discussion about the last film of the entire Fox X-Men franchise, New Mutants, another film troubled with tons of reshoots and delayed release dates.

I would like to thank Ken for coming on and giving this one the old college try. Hopefully the next time I have him on the show — and I definitely will — the film will be a little more tolerable. In the meantime, you can check out Ken’s artwork, Violent Visual, that he discussed on this episode here. And of course, I want to thank you, the listener, for coming along for the ride again. Without you, this podcast doesn’t even matter. Just don’t forget to share with your friends and leave us some feedback or comments on this page. ‘Til next time, go see some movies….just not this one.

John Wren

I am John Wren; a Delco original, and thanks to a cartoon Chihuahua (surprisingly, not the small bird), most know me only by my last name. Although people think I it’s due to self-hatred, I do actually enjoy running in ridiculous races up and down mountains and have recently ventured into the world of triathlons. I used to sing for the Jersey based metalcore band Bottomfeeder (www.facebook.com/bottomfeederhxc) but am now bandless. I’m the worst Buddhist known to man and if I’m given the opportunity, I will ramble on about anything and everything at great lengths, with lots of profanity. I’ve read every Stephen King book, my favorite band of all time is White Zombie, and I will need to take a week of bereavement the day Bruce Campbell dies.

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