the new mutants
director: josh boone (the fault in our stars)
starring: blu hunt, maise williams, anya taylor-joy and charlie heaton
REVIEWER: lyall carter
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.
It seems like an age since the announcement of The New Mutants, as well as all the release delays, to us seeing it on the big screen. After 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix it seemed like 20th Century Fox, who had done such a superb job with First Class, Days of Future Past and the incredible Logan, had run out of fresh ideas for the franchise. The New Mutants promised a new, fresh edgy direction. Unfortunately it appears as though it has become stuck between the old and the new.
Five teenage mutants - Mirage, Wolfsbane, Cannonball, Sunspot and Magik - undergo treatments at a secret institution that will cure them of their dangerous powers. Invited by Dr. Cecilia Reyes to share their stories, their memories soon turn into terrifying realities as they start to question why they're being held and who's trying to destroy them.
Narratively The New Mutants follows a very similar superhero story structure. Super hero has powers, meets others with similar gifts and tries to figure out what to do with those powers while fighting a force greater than themselves.
Aside from the familiar structure, The New Mutants attempts to go in a darker, more adult supernatural direction. But unfortunately it just doesn’t commit to that line unlike Logan who started out as an R-rated film of brutal violence and fully committed to it.
There are dark, supernatural themes, a prominent same sex relationship and the film also hints of a wider story that The New Mutants is connected to but it doesn’t feel like it fully ‘goes there’. It feels like it wanted to be darker and progressive but it decided at the last minute to play it too safe and as a consequence it becomes a little muddled.
The New Mutants does have a great concluding fight sequence filled with heart pounding action and CG wizardry. Blu Hunt is a compelling lead as Moonshine and the rest of the ensemble cast give great performances. Hopefully with the X-Men property back in the hands of Disney and Marvel, we can see the franchise heading in a fresher and more cutting edge direction.
Even though it will entertain you, The New Mutants attempts to go darker and edgier appears as though it has become stuck between the old and the new.