“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
I never thought it would actually happen but The New Mutants is finally here! It’s like a dream, a really mediocre dream. I had zero expectations for this particular movie except that it was never going to see the light of day. It would seem fate itself was determined to prevent the release. When it was finally solidified I had to see it for no other reason than to say I saw it. And now I have and here we are. That’s honestly I think the most accurate way I can describe the lukewarmness that is The New Mutants, I saw it and now I have seen it. It’s that impactful, it’s that game changing, it isn’t. I wanted, I always want, a big surprise and to discover the next great superhero movie but reality is a son of a bitch with all of 2020 as an example and this was never meant to be anything beyond being just fine. In fact if the delays never happened this run-of-the-mill comic book movie would have been long forgotten at this point.
It isn’t awful, it’s certainly not great, it just kind of exists. The promise of a more horror oriented MARVEL movie doesn’t exactly live up to that promise. It’s more X-Men movie with similar themes as the previous films but this time there’s more scary imagery littered here and there. I would definitely say it creates a darker tone than previous films, with the exception of Logan, it manages to explore the darker elements that make up the life of an average teen mutant just trying to find their place. That said you can also feel the limitations of the story from the script to setting it all feels second rate, a sort of afterthought when the whole Disney merger shook the planet and set off a chain of events all leading to the spread of Covid-19. That last part is hearsay, I have to make that clear or I’ll disappear in an unmarked van definitely not owned by Disney (wink).
The cast is entertaining, although very skeleton crew-like with literally one doctor running an entire hospital that could hold hundreds inexplicably only holding five patients. I have to assume there’s more than five whole mutant teenagers in the world. In fact based on previous X-Men movies I can confirm there are many more out there. Again this is where the budget seems to come into play only allowing minimal character involvement beyond the main five teens and a lone doctor.
At a certain point you realize the story is asking us to figure out a mystery alongside these teens about the sudden appearance of horrifying occurrences plaguing everyone inside this facility. Thing is it’s a bit predictable and once you figure out what’s happening, long before the official reveal, it never finds anything else to thrill or surprise us with. The final confrontation has some interesting elements here and there but ultimately it ends up like any other X-Men battle. You’ve seen it and maybe that’s why this is the last one from 20th Century Studios. They lowered the bucket into the well only to discover that it wasn’t limitless, and here we are at the last remnants of a dried up source. Make no mistake though this is far and away better than Dark Phoenix, what a mistake in every way that was, yikes.
The cast as stated before is young led by newcomer Blu Hunt as the newbie mutant just trying to justify her existence in a world where her kind is often disposed of like trash, kinda timely I have to admit. By her or in her way is GOT alum Maisie Williams, The Witch beauty Anya Taylor-Joy, Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton and Henry Zaga, the pretty boy of the bunch. Together they discover a hidden conspiracy to alter all young mutants into weapons for a secret, evil company responsible for mutants such as X-23. They want freedom and face a future of slavery and servitude. Rebellion is at hand.
The entire movie reminds me of the scenes in the Deadpool movies when he visits the mutant mansion and there’s never anyone around. You can see the lack of budget, only Deadpool leaned into it and made a joke of the whole thing. The New Mutants not so much with the entire film contained within a rundown hospital with little to no outside influence or impact. I’m sure it could be said this was always the intention to keep things small scale but like the characters themselves it struggles to rise above the limitations so noticeably holding it back.
In the end this ended up pretty much where I thought it would be, a potentially awful, possibly mediocre at best, comic book movie where the reputation far outweighed the movie itself. This will be remembered for the insane amount of delays it incurred and not in any way for the story it wanted to tell. Even now I’m just happy for everyone involved with the making of the movie that it’s finally seeing the light of day, even if only dimly lit.
Rated PG-13 For: violent content, some disturbing/bloody images, some strong language, thematic elements and suggestive material
Runtime: 98 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Starring: Blu Hunt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Alice Braga
Directed By: Josh Boone
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: I’d say no. It’s worth a one-time watch and that’s about it.
Check out the trailer below:
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