Sooooooo, yeah. The New Mutants finally (finally) hit theatres a while back to lackluster reviews. Then this past weekend it finally hit HBO Max. I spent the time to watch this, the 13th movie in the X-Men series…. Well, in FOX’s X-Men series anyway…. and here’s what I have to say.
To call The New Mutants an actual entry into the pre-Disney X-men franchise is a joke. A terrible horrible joke gone terribly horribly wrong. Nobody wanted this movie. From the initial trailers that billed it as some sort of weird young adult horror movie (its not) to the later ones that were basically “No really its an X-Men movie we swear!” …. Just, ugh, why. Why did anyone bother.
The only reference to this even being in the X-Men universe is a couple of scenes talking about whatever “superior’s facility” that Dr. Reyes wants to send them off to, and that they hope its the X-Men…. That and the “Essex Corporation” which you’d only recognize if you remembered the after-credits scene from Logan. I mean, at least have Colossus show up, or maybe even Pool-boy to give you something to connect this.
Because as it is, its pretty weak.
Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) gets sent off to this school/hospital/prison/whatever after a giant smoke monster bear thing completely destroys her town and kills her dad. She wakes up to find herself kept here with a few other “gifted” kids her age, Rahne (Maisie Williams), Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy) , Roberto (Henry Zaga), and Sam (Charlie Heaton)… and of course Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga).
And that’s literally it as far as locations and people. The entirety of The New Mutants takes place within the confines of this hospital. Which, by itself isn’t so bad, but it really limits where this movie can go. I’m sure it kept the budget down, though.
I could run down the plot, but let me just summarize it thusly. The bear is Dani, that’s her superpower, she can take someone’s fear and manifest it against them and everyone around them. And that includes herself while she’s asleep. Obviously this makes her dangerous and Reyes is ordered to terminate her, which she tries to do in a rather goofy scene where instead of just doing it, she makes this huge production and gets all Bond-villain and shit and starts monologging as superhero villains are prone to do. We all saw The Incredibles, you know the drill.
We get to see each of the kids’ fears come to life and mess with them, and of course the big bad bear fight at the end. And yup, Dani figures out how to control it and quits “Feeding the bear” or the wolf, depending on which version of this particular saying you’re used to.
The biggest problem with The New Mutants is that literally nobody wanted this movie. “hey lets make a movie about some C-list mutants nobody’s ever heard of, reference the X-Men and it will be a guaranteed hit!” No, that’s not how this works. If anything you get a big screen version of that crappy 1990’s “Mutant-X” TV show.
But it never really goes anywhere. I don’t mean moving locations, I mean there’s really no plot to speak of, apart from them having their fears manifested one by one and then a big boss fight at the end. There just isn’t.
Then there’s the kids themselves. They are like some weird fucked up caricature of The Breakfast Club. You’ve got some serious stereotypes going on here. From Dani the Native American and her magic bear spirit animal, Illyana the Russian bitch with her metal arm and lightsaber, Roberto the Human Torch rich boy, and Sam the Kentucky hick with his ragged clothes and awful accent who is like a weak version of The Flash. Just, this is what we came up with, guys? I don’t care if its faithful to any comic book representation, this kinda thing just doesn’t click any more. Don’t even get me started on Taylor-Joy. I’ve never liked her, she’s always wooden and fake AF and this is no exception.
Her character I assume is supposed to have some sort of back story that would explain the smiley-faced guys, but we get nothing except “I’m just scared of them” and then they appear and try to kill everyone. Her magic world made real and her magic dragon are equally just as WTF inducing.
I’m not sure what Fox was thinking with respect to this movie. Was this some old guy puffing a big cigar going “the X-men movies are 20 years old, we need something new, hip, cool, that the kids will love!” and thought that this would be it? News flash, no…. no it isn’t. People go see Wolverine and Cyclops and Deadpool because they know those characters, they grew up with them.
Same for Marvel, who will be facing a similar problem with their new slate of characters that few people on the street have heard of. “Moon Knight?” “She Hulk?” “Shang Chi?” What? Who? Hopefully they are able to connect the dots and make us care about these new characters. I mean these kids don’t even have cool superhero names yet FFS.
And that’s the problem. We don’t care about these kids. A few scary moments and a giant bear won’t change that. Connect the dots for us. Shit, all you had to do was put McAvoy back in the chair for an after-credits scene where he finds these kids with Cerebro or something that ACTUALLY connects them to the X-Men universe… but nooooooo.
I’m going to give The New Mutants a 2.0 / 5. Yeah, I don’t think I can go higher. It’s just not interesting, not exciting, not engaging, has no reference to, and its just a lame attempt to bring new blood into the X-Men world that went nowhere, figuratively and literally. Hopefully Disney will just look the other way and forget this ever happened when it finally comes time to bring the Marvel Fox-verse into the MCU.
Is there anything about The New Mutants that I did like? Honestly no not really. I’m just going to pretend that it doesn’t exist and hope that it gets put away and never spoken of again. Ever.
2.0 / 5. I could have gone lower but production value is a thing, and I guess maybe that’s the one thing that doesn’t suck as bad. It looks decent for the most part. I guess. Or something.