Review: The New Mutants

The New Mutants (2020)

Director: Josh Boone

Writers: Josh Boone and Knate Lee

Starring: Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga

Plot: A group of young mutants are held at a creepy facility with sinister intentions under the guise that they are being trained for something better.

Review: Well, here we are. The end of the road for the X-Men franchise. It’s been quite the journey. There was greatness. Then, the movies got pretty bad. Then, like Jean Grey’s Phoenix, they rose again to some of their highest heights. They should’ve ended things with the strong finale of Days of Future Past and Logan though, because the fall was almost just as hard. The last couple of X-Men movies have been some of the worst movies to come out in the last couple years. And, then, we have New Mutants. Poor New Mutants. It’s misery was dragged out for sooooooooo long. This movie was supposed to come out in April 2018! The actors have each had, like, four different projects release since the filming of this. In fact, The New Mutants is so old that Stan Lee is listed in the credits as a producer. As we know though, it just kept being pushed back time after time after time. And, to make matters worse, about halfway through my viewing at the theater, it just cut off. I swear this movie was cursed. Actually, having seen it, I kind of think the universe was doing us all a favor. Because, The New Mutants is bad. Like, really, really bad. There’s almost nothing in it that worked for me. In fact, I might even say it’s the worse in the franchise, which is really saying something.

I don’t even know where to begin with The New Mutants honestly. There’s just so much about it that’s disappointing. I guess we should talk about our heroes first. After all, this is predominately a super hero movie. The people that go out to watch it are looking for some of that Marvel awe and wonder or, at least, the watered down Fox version of it. So, does it at least deliver there? Surprise! The answer is no. Not at all really. While I was watching, I was trying to think back to the last time we saw superheroes represented in this lame a manner in a big budget movie. Unless I’m forgetting something, which is entirely possible, I think it was Fant4stic? You know… that other massive franchise that Fox just bailed on halfway through. Seriously, this is laughably bad. The fight choreography is almost non-existent with only slightly cool, short moment of badassery coming from Magik. The villain is one of the lamest we’ve seen in comic book movies period. She was not intimating or fun to watch in the least. The special effects looked worse than the CW superhero shows with the final battle looking especially cringey. I was just laughing every time they used their superpowers. We’re in a time where Ant-Man looks cool and realistic, but a girl who turns into a werewolf looks laughable. Come on, Fox! Get it together! (I mean… I know they’re no longer around, but, if this movie can be outdated so can my complaints about it. ) And, worst of all, these characters just didn’t click with me at all. They’re powers all felt like powers C-list superheroes would have with the personalities to match. Now, I get it. These are not the most popular Marvel characters. Heck, they’re not even the best X-Men characters. However, we are playing on a field where you have to sell your C or D-list characters as if they are the most important characters you have. Marvel Studios made Rocket and Groot cool! They’re probably about to do the same with Eternals. There’s no reason to blame your source material in comic book movies anymore. It’s your job to make these characters cool. Also, you’ve got the talent to get that done! The cast is filled with likable people, whose talent sometimes manages to poke through you’re shitty script. Making these characters work on the big screen shouldn’t be this difficult. If anything, New Mutants found a way to make the characters worse.

But, The New Mutants didn’t stop at being bad at just one genre? No! This movie sucks at two! Because it’s also marketed as a horror movie. And, yes, there are definitely horror elements to this movie. Was I ever scared? No. Did things ever tense up at all? No. Is there any imagery that is going to stick with me? No. Seriously, I get that it’s rated PG-13 but I bet you could show this movie to an 8 year old and they’d be fine. There’s nothing scary about it. I’m all for doing different things with the superhero genre. I think it’s needed. Logan and Joker were both great examples of stretching the genre in new and interesting ways. I was kinda hoping New Mutants would do the same. But, if you’re going to do horror, do horror. Don’t half-ass it. Make a legitimately scary movie that stands on it’s own as a horror movie. And, maybe, it just happens to feature superheroes. That sounds really cool. Those other two examples of genre bending I listed can stand on their own in those other mediums. Wolverine doesn’t need powers to make Logan work emotionally. You don’t need to know who the Joker is to feel the punch to the gut that is that movie. However, if you were to take the superheroes out of New Mutants, I’m not sure anyone would care to see this movie. It’s just another generic, teen horror flick. It’d get tossed on the same pile as movies like Countdown and Slender Man. Heck, the “monsters” even look like Slender Man!

I’ve read rumors that Fox was super disappointed in The New Mutants. Apparently, they saw the initial cut and almost wanted to start over again from scratch. Having seen the movie, I understand that urge. It’s really, really bad. Nothing about it works. It’s my least favorite of the X-Men movies. It takes Apocalypse’s place because at least that movie felt like it mattered. This is a big old nothing burger. Fox abandoned this movie, then just bailing as a company. Disney then inherited this mess and seemingly just didn’t want to release it. Again, I get it. I’m a little saddened that this is how the franchise had to go out though. While X-Men was never super consistent, it did give us some really high highs. It’s a shame it ended with the lowest of lows.

Oh well. Now Disney/Marvel has the rights. Time for a reboot.

(Actually, before we wrap this up, I do have one compliment for The New Mutants. It was very brave of them to have LGBT representation and it was fairly well done. Also, it’s great that the marketing hasn’t made a huge deal about it. That’s all. That compliment didn’t seem to fit anywhere else so I figured I’d throw it in at the end. Everything else sucks though. It’s definitely still not worth seeing.)

TL;DR: Almost nothing about The New Mutants works.

Score: 3/10 (Awful)

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