REVIEW: ‘New Mutants’ misses the mark

After nearly two years of delays “The New Mutants” has finally arrived. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say that it’s worth the wait.

The movie begins with a teenager, Danielle (Blu Hunt),  waking up in a hospital-like facility after what seemed to be a monstrous tornado destroyed her town. Danielle soon learns from the single physician at the facility, Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga), that she is a mutant and she’s at an establishment meant to keep other young mutants from the general public and teach them to control their power.

The other mutants include Rahne (Maisie Williams), Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy), Sam (Charlie Heaton) and Roberto (Henry Zaga). As Danielle starts to settle in, the other mutants began having hallucinations while also getting closer to the truth of what the facility actually is.

“New Mutants” may take the “X-Men” concept in a different direction, but original it is not. This movie shares a lot of similarities to other horror movies, especially “Nightmare on Elm Street 3.”

For those who don’t know, that movie featured a group of teenagers in a medical-like facility that were being hunted by Freddy who of course attacks them based on their fears. This film features a group of teenagers in a medical-like facility where they’re being attacked by an entity that attacks them based on their fears.

That’s not to say “The New Mutants” is just a rip-off, but it never does anything in its hour and a half runtime to really set it apart either. The film goes through the “Breakfast Club” like motions of the teens getting to know each other, but the movie never ends up going anywhere interesting.

It’s also noticeable that the movie, despite leaning into horror territory, never really goes all the way with it. The film just isn’t all that scary, and most fans of the horror genre will just see another superhero action flick with some scarier antagonists.

NewMutantsBLog
Courtesy 20th Century Studios and Marvel Entertainment.

Speaking of antagonists, another issue with “The New Mutants” is that Braga has to shoulder the villain role all on her own. She’s clearly not the person really in charge during the movie, the audience learns that there’s an authority over her that’s the true bad guy, but she remains the only one with screen time and in the end she never seems all that threatening.

In all fairness, Braga, and the rest of the cast for that matter, do what they can here with the material. There’s a lot of expected teen rebelliousness and angst from start to finish, but in the true moments that dig into the characters, the cast comes through successfully.

Taylor-Joy is the standout, bringing an intensity to the role and very nicely capturing the obvious trauma the character is dealing with underneath. Hunt is also pretty good in the lead role, especially as her character has to go through the most adjustments.

When it comes to spectacle, “The New Mutants” probably should have just been released to streaming, because it’s not worth the price of a theater ticket. The horror monsters featured are fairly generic, while the final conflict in the feature only has a few good looking moments.

“The New Mutants” feels like a missed opportunity overall, since it had a good concept, but stumbled in the execution. It doesn’t help that the movie was delayed so many times and had development trouble either.

The cast here helps things, and there’s some entertainment there that would maybe  warrant a stream down the road. But at the theater, if you’re not a hardcore “X-Men” fan, skip it. 2 out of 5.

 

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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