Fox’s original X-Men franchise comes to its end with ‘The New Mutants,’ directed by Josh Boone. It had a tumultuous production with numerous recuts and reshoots before 20th Century Fox was acquired by Disney, who finally released it.
After an incident that kills her entire family including her father (Adam Beach), Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) awakens in a hospital that is surrounded by a strange energy field. She is told that she is a “new mutant” by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga), who is also housing the Irish girl Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), Russian jerk Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kentucky teen Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton), and the wealthy Bobby da Costa (Henry Zaga). The teens all want to leave, but Dr. Reyes insists that they cannot until they learn to control their powers. However, the youths start to see strange ghost-like figures and having nightmares. Though they all try to warn Reyes, the doctor dismisses their concerns as the strange occurrences continue to increase.
The New Mutants comic book by Chris Claremont was originally published by Marvel Comics as a spin-off to the X-Men. It definitely handled teen drama, but always with the backdrop of being a mystical adventure into the unknown and with the guiding hand of Professor X. The stories, while imperfect, were impactful and exciting to read, unlike this movie.
The movie was billed by virtually every promotional material as some sort of horror film set in the X-Men film universe. There is just one problem with that, it is not scary. Freaky, sure, but with no sense of fright. Zero. It is more akin to those cheesy Y/A movie adaptions that attempted to copy the success of The Hunger Games with a few horror elements mixed in to make the story seem more interesting.
Every Y/A trope is there. The lack of character development, the toxic male, a jerk female we’re supposed to feel sorry for, horror scenes that lack a sense of urgency, teens doing stupid stuff, getting caught, getting into trouble, abusive adult, and a complete reworking of the source material where it is virtually unrecognizable. Oh yes, they get the Hollywood slap at Christianity to fit in nicely.
Of course, they have a lesbian romance between two originally straight characters that is clearly written with all of the forced drama of a fanfiction shipper on social media. Seriously, the X-Men already have characters that are gay. If they needed “muh representation,” they could have brought one of them in and it would not have been as forced. Considering how this film went, that is a big “if.”
As for the rest of the plot, it is simplistic, predictable, and boring. The characters just jump from situation to situation from beginning to end with no sense of direction, almost as if the movie was made from production notes instead of an actual script. You can almost recite precisely what will happen in the next scene with no issue whatsoever.
All of the actors react to almost everything with all of the charisma as a block of wood or just a general expression of being freaked out. Anya Taylor-Joy‘s Russian accent is downright bad. Of the cast, she is the one I have seen in several films and I applaud her talent, but in this feature, I was disappointed. It was not just her, the entire cast is a massive yawn fest.
There is exactly one redeeming quality in this film. The score by Mark Snow is actually pretty good and does its best to edify the film, though it cannot save it.
Bottom line, it is clear why The New Mutants was delayed for so long. It is just a bad film. Despite many references to the X-Men films, it is the worst. Yes, this movie makes X-Men 3 look like The Godfather. I never thought it was possible.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong language, Violence, Frightening images, Sexual content
FAVORITE QUOTE: Did you know that baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than their parents?
Check out the trailer below:
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