The New Mutants

09/16/2020 06:38

Film: The New Mutants

Year: 2020

Director: Josh Boone

Writer: Josh Boone and Knate Lee

Starring: Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton



This was a movie that I remember something close to 2 years ago seeing the trailer for it and was interested in seeing it. Growing up I was into comics and I knew this fell into the X-Men line. I didn’t know much about it, aside from the fact that this was going to be a superhero film that bleeds over into the horror genre. I’ve finally seen it now as a 2020 horror film when I had a free afternoon when it was out. The synopsis is five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

We start this film with Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) being woke up by her father, played by Adam Beach. They flee out into the night as it is snowing, but we see fire raining down on them. He tells her to hide in a tree as he has to go back to help the others. She then sees him flung by something, dead. She runs into the night.

Dani then wakes up in a hospital bed. In the vents she sees a face that disappears. She finds she is handcuffed to it and pulls her bed to the window. She doesn’t understand where she is and then pulls her bed to the door. It is locked and she pounds on it. The voice of Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga) tells her to calm down and she will come explain what has happened.

It appears that the event she saw was from an F-5 tornado. She is the only survivor of her tribe. She was saved and it appears she is a mutant. Dr. Reyes asks if she knows what that means and Dani seems to. The X-Men and their adversaries seem to be common knowledge. This teen is here as it is a hospital to figure out what her power is and once she is ready, she can leave to go to a school to develop and hone that ability. That is if she wants to.

Dani then gets introduces to the others that are here. There is Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams) who seems to be from Scotland. She has the ability to change into a wolf and goes by the codename Wolvesbane. There is Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy). She is from Russia and has a hand puppet that is a dragon. From what we will learn, she’s the most powerful one here, but also has the most deep-seeded issues. There is Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton) who can discharge energy to fly and he’s from the southern United States. Then finally there is Roberto da Costa (Henry Zaga). He is a rich teen from Brazil that won’t reveal to the others what his power is. It seemed to have led to a traumatic event that landed him here, partially at his parent’s wishes.

None of this group really wants to share anything. Illyana immediately is mean to Dani while Rahne takes a liking to her. She tries to show her that things here aren’t that bad. That is until something happens in the night, while they sleep. They start have to face their past demons that might be a bit too real. Dani needs to figure out what her power is before it is too late. Dr. Reyes might not be who she says she is and might not be working for who these teens think either.

Now to delve a bit more into what I stated earlier, I was really into comics back when I was a kid. Marvel was more of my jam and I really liked Spider-man. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a few here and there of the X-Men, Venom, The Fantastic Four and others to just name some of them. I bring this up as I recognize some of the more important ones and few of the lesser ones. The New Mutants did not fall into my realm of knowledge.

When I heard they were going to combine this with a horror film, I was really intrigued as I’ve been a fan of this genre since I was child as well. I tried to temper my expectations as this really had some development issues. It appears that they were going to allow the co-writer/director Josh Boone to make the film he wanted with more horror elements. It appears he may have made it and then the studio decided to change things. They then decided that wasn’t going to work after some sales when through and it just kept getting its release date and then moved.

The reason I bring this up was that this movie doesn’t feel like it knows exactly what it wants to do. It feels like a superhero movie with some horror elements, but it doesn’t necessarily lean into either enough to really be good in my opinion. The movie is also a bit too predictable as well.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like some of what they were doing here. Dani tells a story from her people, as she is from the Cheyenne tribe of Native Americans, about there being a demon bear. Everyone has this with them as a child and if you let it feed on your fears, it will consume you. From this moment, I knew that her mutant power is to show people their fears. I’m sorry if this is a spoiler, but we learn this like 15 minutes in if you’re paying attention. I did like seeing what each of these people’s fears are as some of them are quite dark to be honest. I really wish they could have made their movie as this would have been better to be honest.

Since they don’t really go far enough, the movie as I said is just predictable and it made it boring as well. They also introduce the idea of this Essex Corporation. From trivia I read, this was planned to be a trilogy that would give us more about this group and their leader. This is like dark X-Men and the movies would get progressively darker. I’m not sure what they’ll do now though since I have a feeling this isn’t going to do as well.

That’s not to say that the acting is bad in this movie though, as I believe it to be the strongest part. Williams is solid here and I’m impressed she could hold her accent as well as she did. I like the development we get of her character and the tragic back-story she has. It deals with her religion and the darker aspects of it as she is branded a witch. Taylor-Joy is really good as well. She is harboring probably the darkest secret of all. She acts out and it is really hard to blame her the more that we learn. Her power is the strongest and it makes sense with what she endured. Heaton is solid along with Zaga and Braga. Hunt is good as well. For her being our lead, I really feel like she takes a bit of a backseat which is odd. I’d say the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed in their minor roles.

The last thing to go over would be probably one of things most people worry about, the special effects. This movie doesn’t lean as heavy into the CGI as I was expecting it to. What we got was good. From Rahne being part wolf, which I’m assuming is part practical and part CGI was fine. Illyana’s was probably the most difficult and I thought it was solid. Sam and Roberto’s didn’t bother me. The big bad at the end really impressed me too. The only other thing would be that of the Smiling Man (Dustin Ceithamer). I’d be willing to watch a movie about Illyana dealing with that for how dark I think that story would be. The movie was shot fine aside from that, I had no issues.

Now with that said, it is a shame that this movie couldn’t be made how Boone wanted it as I feel what we got falls short. There are some really good ideas here that don’t get fleshed out enough so the movie feels like a superhero movie that doesn’t know if it wants to be that or a horror movie. The acting though is really good across the board as were the effects. It does end up being boring for the reasons that I stated above though unfortunately. I just wanted more as I feel if we got it, there other two planned films might have happened. I would rate this as just over average in my opinion.


My Rating: 6 out of 10