The New Mutants has a decent concept and engaging characters. However, the holes in the script, the lack of scope and the visually unappealing fights stop it from being more than an okay film.
Plot: Five mutants find themselves trapped in an abandoned hospital with a doctor working for a mysterious employer.
Review: The X-Men movies have been up and down for me. While some of them were great (The Wolverine, Logan, the two Deadpool movies), most of them have fallen somewhere in the middle for me. Along came New Mutants, which at least looked like it offered something new for the superhero genre. While it should be applauded for doing something different, the end result is a bit of a letdown.
Let’s start with the good. The concept is very good, and I really liked the characters. At a time when people are screaming for strong women roles, this movie actually offers it, including a female lead, and some great supporting characters. Even the main antagonist is a woman. It also features what is probably one of the most believable same-sex female romances I have witnessed in a long time, if ever. The actors knock their roles out of the park, with special mention to Anya Taylor-Joy as the feisty Illyana, and Maisie Williams as the sensitive Rahne. Overall, I liked all the characters, and no one pulled a jerk move that I need to moan about.
That being said, the story has some pretty noticeable holes. When Blu Hunt, who plays the lead, Dani Moonstar, goes to the hospital at the beginning of the film, the other four mutants are already there. Some of those mutants are quite powerful – one can teleport, one can use kinetic energy to fly, etc. So, how the hell did these characters not break out of that hospital already? There’s one doctor! They couldn’t overpower her and leave? I mean, I know that there’s a force field, but the character who teleports can’t just…teleport…outside the barrier? It makes no sense.
It also was a letdown as a horror film. There’s some scenes with these “smiley men,” who I guess are visually scary, but there’s no real horror element to it. This felt like a psychological drama as opposed to a horror film, but the set up is more akin to the horror genre. There’s also this element in the plot where everyone’s greatest fears are manifesting (though for the male characters, it’s more like their greatest guilts), but again, not really that scary. The movie has a really condensed plot that needed to be either really scary, or they needed to expand the scope. However, they never do, so the movie feels a lot like a television movie. While again, this is something new for these types of films, with the characters and their individual powers, they could have done so much more.
As for the action, it’s hit or miss. The creatures are cool, and the powers are well-represented, but the action itself was not shot very well. There was a lot of fast editing, and the movie was extremely dark, especially at the end, to the point that a bright scene preceded the dark ones and my eyes were actually irritated by the sudden change in light. It still strikes me as so odd that the filmmakers take the pains to give these characters such cool-looking powers, and then refuse to allow them to display those skills in a clear visual manner.
While it seems that I’m really bagging on this movie, I’m not really angry at this movie. I do think overall, it was a miss, and that there were some bad choices with the story and how it was filmed, I didn’t have a bad time in this movie. There was enough to keep me interested, and the characters were interesting enough to keep me engaged. I wouldn’t place it in the top echelon of X-Men movies, but it’s not the worst either – it probably fits somewhere in the middle.