The reviews for Dark Phoenix are in and it's officially the lowest-rated X-Men movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a movie that has been in the works for several years. Initially, it finished production in 2017 but, thanks to extensive reshoots and delays, it's just now going to be arriving in theaters this weekend and will serve as the end to this version of the mutants on the big screen. Sadly, based on the early response, it doesn't seem like they're going to be going out on a high note.

20th Century Fox decided to leave a review embargo up until midnight today. Any time a studio doesn't allow for reviews to come up until just ahead of a release, it's usually a sign that something is wrong. That appears to hold true here. As of this writing, Dark Phoenix has a very poor 21 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 78 reviews counted. That puts it, rather amazingly, even below X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which currently sits at a 37 percent critical approval rating, to become the most poorly rated movie in the history of the nearly 20-year history of the franchise. Ouch.

Given the response, the finger pointing will begin in no time at all. Who should shoulder the blame for this one? Why did the same studio botch adapting one of the most beloved Marvel Comics storylines of all time twice? Many will probably turn to director Simon Kinberg. Directors often have to shoulder the blame for a bad movie, which is pretty reasonable to some degree. Kinberg has served as a longtime writer and producer of the X-Men movies. However, he had never actually directed a movie of any kind before. This served as his directorial debut. Early on, that had people worried. Perhaps those worries were warranted.

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At this point, trying to assign blame will do nobody any good. Because Disney completed their merger with Fox back in March, the X-Men and Fantastic Four will be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point down the line. That means, sad as it may be for a multitude of reasons, this is going to be the final entry in the franchise that helped kick off the superhero movie craze with the first live-action X-Men back in 2000. No matter what one thinks of this movie on an individual level, this is a series that deserved to go out on a more universally positive note.

For what it's worth, the highest-rated X-Men movie on Rotten Tomatoes is 2017's Logan, which sits at 93 percent. James Mangold's heralded standalone served as Hugh Jackman's goodbye to the character of Wolverine. That movie went on to become a box office hit and even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Sitting right behind it is 2014's very ambitious Days of Future Past at 90 percent. Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters on June 7. To dive deeper on how critics are feeling about the movie, head on over to Rotten Tomatoes.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott