NOC Review: Dull ‘Phoenix’ Barely Rises Above Subpar

Sometimes when the public gets hold of bad buzz regarding a studio tentpole, they end up pleasantly surprised by the result of the film. Wonder Woman was at one point considered to be “a mess” thereby worrying audiences before release. Aladdin was getting blasted online, and Disney was getting ready to take another Solo-sized bath.  However,  Wonder Woman went on to become the DCEU’s best reviewed film and a huge box office hit, and Aladdin went on to positive audience reviews, and grossed a healthy $100M in four days, two weekends ago. Nope, negative buzz isn’t always reflective of the final product itself… Unless you’re Dark Phoenix. Then it’s entirely true.

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‘Dark Phoenix’ WonderCon Footage Description

It’s that time again, Nerds of Color! Con-Season is upon us! And on the first day of WonderCon,  Fox gave unto us an awesome Dark Phoenix panel with Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), and writer/director Simon Kinberg.

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Logan: The End of Ol’ White Men

The “Whitelash” theory of Trump’s super-embarrassing slide into the presidency (well, we never claimed the U.S. wasn’t anti-intellectual, did we?) has the still-ascendant, but demographically shrinking and culturally stagnating white/cis-het/male contingent (helped substantially by their female counterparts) striking back at the diversity of Obama’s America by electing a crypto-white-supremacist in response to his racist and xenophobic dog whistles. Although not the only compelling narrative of the last year and a half, Trump’s Whitelash has enough truth to it to make it into at least a Ronald-Takaki-authored history book, if not a textbook from Texas.

Meanwhile, pop culture may be lashing in the opposite direction — and, in fact, contributing to the panic. Whereas the last Academy Awards shows of Obama’s presidency featured a field of winners that rivaled a wedding-dress-clad polar bear fainting on an iceberg for whiteness, it is President Trump’s first Oscars that saw the Academy — now led by a black woman — crowning its first African-American-made Best Picture. The last season of tv was the most diverse in history, and we don’t need numbers or stats to know this. And even the debate around diversity failures points to how far we’ve come, and how aware of the changing nature of American culture the mainstream has become.

So it’s not much of a stretch to see Logan, clearly the end of a franchise, as the gentle, mournful and mourning, Hollywood-sanctioned version of conservative white panic.

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A Mutant from Planet Cripton, An Origin

In 1974, a baby arrived in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana from the planet Cripton. She looked like the offspring of two Chinese immigrants, Ma and Pa Wong, but something was different.

The Earth’s gravitational force made it difficult for this baby to raise her head. She couldn’t crawl and went straight from sitting to walking. Perplexed, Ma and Pa Wong took their baby to the doctor and found out: she is a mutant from Cripton!

This is her origin story.

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Magneto Was Right

Quentin Quire

“The X-Men are hated, feared and despised collectively by humanity for no other reason than that they are mutants. So what we have here, intended or not, is a book that is about racism, bigotry and prejudice.”
—Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont, 1981

Call me Quentin Quire. Magneto was right.

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