Australian Council on Children and the Media

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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Parental Guidance 8 - 13 (moderate impact violence, coarse language, and supernatural and mature themes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • a review of X-Men: Dark Phoenix completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 June 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to moderate impact violence, coarse language, and frightening themes
Children aged 8–13 Not recommended for this age group, but parental guidance likely necessary if viewing
Children over the age of 13 Ok for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, action violence and occasional coarse language
Length 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In the 1970s, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) – head of an academy for mutant children – takes in Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), after her supernatural powers accidentally cause their car to crash, killing her parents.  After several years at the academy, Jean becomes a central member of the X-Men; a group of mutants who help protect the world and save the day when no one else can.  When a mission goes wrong, and Jean is filled with a mysterious extra-terrestrial substance, she begins to develop incredible powers that she struggles to control.  As her powers continue to grow, Jean starts to hurt those around her, both unintentionally and deliberately. The X-Men – Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and Professor X – must work together to stop Jean, and the alien Vuk (Jessica Chastain), who has come to destroy her and take the supernatural powers for her own bidding.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death; Child abandonment; Murder

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • A car crashes in slow motion – the audience is shown the inside of the car as it flies into the air, flips, and crashes – this is relatively graphic
  • Mutants use their powers to fight one another – this includes fist fights, use of lasers, lightening strikes, use of ropes, mind control, use of knives and guns, etc.
  • Soldiers shoot guns at other people
  • Aliens in human form are attacked and shot, but heal and continue to fight
  • People are thrown around violently and into objects
  • A character is thrown across a road and impaled on wooden stakes (and dies) – this is graphic
  • Characters are disintegrated by a mutant
  • An alien in human form is hit by a train

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Many of the mutants and alien characters undergo physical transformations throughout the film, or have some monster-like aspect to them (e.g., X-men’s Hank can turn into a big blue animal-like monster) – these are likely to distress young children

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A young girl accidentally causes a graphic car accident in which her mother is killed and her father abandons her
  • A number of main characters are hurt or killed – this may distress young children

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Mutants attack one another, including in a prolonged, almost torturous way – for example, a character uses her mind to slowly and painfully crush a metal helmet around the skull of another character, this is quite graphic
  • Many characters threaten and attempt to murder a young woman because of her mutant abilities

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Aliens murder humans and take on their form, before attacking and murdering other people
  • Reference is made to putting mutants in internment camps
  • A character in a wheelchair is forced to walk up a staircase by a mutant with mind control abilities – this is slightly disturbing as the wheelchair-bound character is in clear distress and pain, and their feet and legs move in unnatural and painful ways

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Panasonic TV

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A young woman dances provocatively at a party

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Young adult characters kiss passionately on multiple occasions

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Adult characters drink spirits on a number of occasions
  • Younger characters (teenage and young adult) appear to drink punch at a party

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fuck
  • Shit
  • Damn
  • Jesus Christ

 

In a nutshell

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the fourth film in the X-Men prequal franchise. While generally well shot, this film is often quite violent and repetitive in plot. While the continuity disruptions in this film were pre-empted by the two previous films in the series, it is likely that some of the events in X-Men: Dark Phoenix will confuse viewers familiar with the original films.This film is not suitable for children under 13 due to moderate impact violence, coarse language, and supernatural and mature themes. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Loving and supporting those we care about, even when they are going through difficult times

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Underage drinking

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