‘The New Mutants’ is a name you’ve seen around on the internet for three years at this point. It has transformed from being a superhero horror spin-off to becoming the finale of the 20th Century X-Men Franchise. It made it’s digital debut this week and it’s time to talk spoilers!
As an overall opinion on the movie, I definitely don’t think it’s as bad as everyone is making it seem, in fact there is some enjoyment to be had while watching ‘The New Mutants’. The problem is that at the end of the day, the movie doesn’t commit to it’s concept and it ends up becoming a tamer, duller version of what it wanted to be. I can tell that the movie wanted to carry this claustrophobic feeling with it but the movie never commits to it. It lets the location do all the work. The cinematography never tries to add a layer of isolation and tightness to the movie, in fact the movie looks and feels like a low-budget streaming service show. The script fails it’s unique cast of characters and it’s great cast by making them feel like teen characters in movies instead of actual teens. It’s trying to be an edgy YA adaptation from 2013 instead of taking itself seriously.
The script is easily the biggest issue of the movie, it is such an easy, forgettable, cliched script that ‘the CW’ would pick it up and milk out seven seasons from it if it could. There is nothing interesting about the lead character she is exactly what you’d expect from a movie like this. Traumatic backstory, doesn’t know her powers, has to overcome some big fear to save the day. The worst offence this movie pulled though was an early scene consisting of a suicide attempt. We know nothing about her as a person, only her backstory. She is in an obvious state of distress and she opts for suicide. We never get to see her truly process the emotions that she’s having for this scene to make sense. Actress Blu Hunt fails to express the overwhelmingly dark emotions going through you when you choose that decision. Once Maisie Williams’ character convinces her not to go through with it, she is seen laughing and making jokes in the next scene. It was this odd and unnecessary scene which didn’t add anything to the movie. It wasn’t done responsibly and it should’ve been cut.
The script overall is pretty weak, it’s filled with inconsistencies that diminish the stakes of the story. We are talking about five mutants being held in a facility run by a single person who was proven to be easily removed from the equation when Illyana spiked her tea. They could have easily killed her and ran away but they didn’t. Illyana brags about killing a bunch of men so why not kill Dr. Reyes? Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t make sense. There are multiple instances where she couldn’t keep up with all five mutants, it does not make sense. Unfortunately I really couldn’t stand Alice Braga’s performance either. She is incredibly monotone which led to a forgettable and disposable villaFin.
Admittedly this review has so far been one-sided but there actually are some positives to talk about. I think the rest of the cast did a great job with the performances. I have to applaud the movie for casting the perfect people to play these characters. Despite their characters lacking true depth, the actors chosen did the most with what they were given. Every actor in this movie has a unique look to them which made them stand out. Anya Taylor-Joy is having quite the successful year and while Illyana is far from a decent character, the charisma and epicness she brings as Magik make her the star of the movie. Maisie Williams also did a great job, she had the most interesting character by far. My only complaint is that they rush a romance between her and Dani. It didn’t feel natural at all, Dani never looked like she reciprocated any sort of romantic feelings towards Rahne. That being said I do applaud this movie for actually being a comic-book movie with actual gay characters who make it out alive and aren’t there to act as tokenism. The male characters are perhaps even less nuanced, they’re all basically a copy-and-paste version of each other when you think about it but hey, I ended up caring for most of them so it did something right.
As a whole the movie is actually pretty entertaining. It sits at only an hour and a half including credits. The only times I felt the movie was starting to get boring was the beginning of the third act, at that point the movie comes to a brief halt when we find out that Dr. Reyes has been assigned to kill Dani but it picks up fairly quickly. The third act action sequences are actually done pretty well, they were never boring or dull. That being said though, I feel like we didn’t get enough of Illyana versus the Demon Bear, her power-set definitely brings an exciting change of colour and spectacle to such a dull looking movie. The solution to defeating the Demon Bear was an eye-rolling moment which again, wasn’t executed well at all. The thing which brings Dani back to consciousness is her dead father telling her that she’s bigger than her fear which sure it’s fine. What about the love that she feels for Rahne? What about the newfound family she finds with The New Mutants? The movie makes such a big deal about her losing her family to the point where she was going to commit suicide to be with them again and it never attempts to make a point out of how she’s made a new family with the friends she’s made in this facility. It’s so bizarre to have a lead character be this badly written.
Have you seen seen ‘The New Mutants’?
Where does it rank in the 20th Century X-Men Franchise?