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DARK PHOENIX (Movie Review)

Mutants and humans have always had an uneasy relationship. But thanks to Professor Charles Xavier's diligent, careful efforts, the bridge between the two races seems as solid as it's ever been. Mutants aren't hunted, hated or feared these days. In fact, they're increasingly seen as … heroes.

So when NASA faces a crisis in 1992 one of its space shuttles is spinning out of control and drifting right toward a mysterious energy cloud that's menacing it the president calls Professor X. And Charles Xavier sends his X-Men into orbit to save the stranded, terrified astronauts.

And so they do, thanks to Nightcrawler's ability to teleport and Jean Grey's telekinetic ability to stop the crippled craft from spinning.

Jean, perhaps the most powerful among them all, doesn't get out of the derelict spacecraft in time. Instead, the mysterious mass of flame-like energy engulfs the shuttle, with Jean still trapped inside. But instead of incinerating her, she somehow absorbs the energy, screaming as its cosmic power permeates and penetrates her body, finding a new albeit unstable home within her.

Jean should be dead. In fact, blue-skinned shapeshifter Raven says as much. Raven's also increasingly leery of how Professor X seems willing to put the X-Men in harm's way for the sake of positive publicity. Even if it means risking their very lives in the process. Oh, yes, she knows Charles means well. But she doesn't trust his motivations. Especially when he seems to be enjoying his proximity to power of a different kind these days: the political variety.

Raven confides her concerns about Xavier's shifting loyalties to Hank McCoy, the sometimes blue-furred genius known as the Beast. Hank's not ready to bail on the X-Men just yet. But Raven's practically packing her bags.

At least, she was. Right up until the moment that Jean Grey's already potent abilities begin to leak out in frightening, increasingly destructive ways.

Jean desperately wants to believe that she's OK, that she's got it all under control, as does her boyfriend, Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. But as she revisits old memories of the car crash that took her parents life, old instabilities resurface. Violently.

Instabilities that a mysterious, white-haired woman named Vuk seems eager to exploit … if Jean's surging powers don't kill everyone on Earth first.

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