I find it kind of remarkable that people are calling this, in so many words, pretty much the worst of the franchise. At the same time, however, I also find it kind of remarkable that given this day and age, 'Deadpool' and the MCU paving a clear path, studio influence is STILL too much, especially when they don't entirely know what the hell they're talking about.
Unless you're in the MCU area of things, your stories are generally rushed, have some big names slapped on them, and advertise a title that will put butts in seats. Some of the now most notorious cases of not getting superheroes right go to Fox (so thank you, Disney); 'The Fantastic Four', and about half of the 'X-Men' franchise are prime examples. 'Origins: Wolverine' should have been so much better, since they had the right idea, Gambit has just been completely blown over, and then of course we have 'Dark Phoenix', now failing miserably for a second time. But is it so bad that it's the worst of all X-Men films? One's perfectly entitled to opinion, but personally speaking, I wouldn't say so.
In all honesty, I think I disliked both 'Apocalypse' and 'Origins: Wolverine' more - but it does end up just about on par with 'X-3' for me in that it covers the same story, fails again making stupid decisions, and rushes through everything. One might also compare Phoenix to Venom, as a prime story with a massive fan base that they just can't seem to get right. Which is a crying shame because this movie SHOULD have been the make-up for X-3.
The film hits the ground running when the lead, adult X-Men, go on a space mission to rescue some astronauts. The team is now comprised of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and of course, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), all led by Xavier (James McAvoy), back home.
During the mission, Jean undergoes this crazy death-to-life instantaneous, unsuspenseful transition, which of course resurrects her as Phoenix, as most of us understand the basic story at this point. Upon their return home, Jean starts to lose control of her powers, explained by an ancient force which destroys everything in it's path until it came into contact with her. She essentially absorbed this power, and now it's growing unstable, and she releases it through fits of rage.
Now the rest of the X-Men have to face the hard truth that if Jean gets too out of hand, something crucial may have to be done. While the preference would be to help Jean through her problems, the X-Men also have to face off against an alien race who is looking for Jean and her newfound remarkable powers.
I might make it sound interesting, but trust me, it's not what it should be. The trailer managed to do the same thing to me. I thought things were gonna go back to solid storytelling, and the eye candy was gonna take a back seat. But nope. That's where I'd actually compare this to 'Apocalypse' - the best reason for being there are the visual effects. But would you believe that unlike 'Apocalypse', I did find a few moments I enjoyed here - and they pretty much all involved Magneto ( Michael Fassbender).
Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto makes a good appearance here, and I find it interesting what they did with his character. He's now trying to live a life of peace out of the way of things, since nowadays the President and the X-Men are living in peace. Erik has been given his own spot of land with which he can come and go as he pleases, as long as he keeps his mutant powers at a bare minimum. I won't spoil his role in this completely, but he's hands down the most interesting character in this one - and actually I'd say all of the new ones, but most easily this one.
Some of the mutants were thrown in for easy convenience though. For example, Nightcrawler, as they needed to be able to teleport the astronauts from ship to ship in space. Storm was interesting enough, and I appreciated the casting choice, but she underused her abilities far too much. Most of the time, it's sparks of lightning from her fingers.
It's most definitely one of the weakest of the franchise, and it's sure to live in infamy along with the other bad 'X-Men' titles. But I still think I've seen worse. Not MUCH worse, mind you, but still worse. This one at least had some interesting moments here and there; for me, a scene where Beast is talking to Xavier in the kitchen, the whole train scene from the trailer, and anything with Magneto were all perfectly good scenes. But sadly, not enough to save it from still being bad.