Critics have delivered their verdict for the long-delayed X-Men: Dark Phoenix - and the consensus is that it was not worth the wait.

Dark Phoenix has debuted to a Rotten Tomatoes score of 21 per cent, with the website's verdict calling the film, which brings the current era of X-Men movies to a close, "deeply disappointing".

Critics were almost unanimous with their dislike for the film - though some argued that lead star Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) is its one saving grace.

In a one-star review, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers said that despite Turner showing "enormous potential", director Simon Kinberg "fails" the X-Men franchise.

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"Dark Phoenix doesn't just suck big time. It's the worst movie ever in the X-Men series," he wrote. "Dark Phoenix just lies there like a dying fish, futilely flapping about on land while it waits for the inevitable dying of the light."

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Photo / supplied
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Photo / supplied

Refinery29's Anne Cohen said: "Dark Phoenix feels all too much like a movie made by men straining very hard to empathise with its female leads, but never succeeding."

"Dark Phoenix's handling of Jean's story mirrors Game of Thrones' botched Daenerys character arc. It's rushed, without nuance, and ultimately ends with a dude," she continued.

Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson said after all its delays, the film "feels too late and too little, a minor work that's perhaps too streamlined to be really messy, but nonetheless has an air of shambling inexactness. Why this? Why now? Why ever?

"Turner does the same 'what is happening to me???'/'I can't control it!' scene over and over, leaving us still unsure if Turner is a star who can shake off Game of Thrones and assert her talent elsewhere."

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Photo / supplied
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Photo / supplied

Associated Press's Lindsay Bahr said that "while Turner is excellent at looking like a woman in distress, she needs a character to back up all that conflict and make us care.

"The most suspenseful thing that happened had nothing to do with the movie at all, but the theatre's fire alarm that went off during a review screening during the epic climax."

Locally, Flicks.co.nz's Tony Stamp said Dark Phoenix ends the X-Men franchise "not with a bang, but a shrug".

"An A-list character dies and it barely registers. The movie itself seems in a rush to get to the credits and have this all done with."

While Sophie Turner is reportedly
While Sophie Turner is reportedly "excellent" in Dark Phoenix, the film feels like a "rushed and inconsequential spinoff". Photo / AP

Most of Dark Phoenix was shot two years ago, but the film was delayed twice; once from November 2018 to February 2019, then again to this week.

According to star Andrew Stehlin, half of the film needed to be reshot after a test screening was poorly received by audiences. "The audience didn't understand what was going on at the end," he said.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is in New Zealand cinemas now.