IF you’re expecting “The New Mutants” to be a sequel to the X-Men series, you’d surely be disappointed. It introduces five young new mutants who have yet to fully discover their powers, so it comes out more as an origin story, but it is also structured as a haunted hospital-horror flick with its own version of Slender Man.
The movie starts with Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt), a teenage Native American Indian waking up in the middle of the night during what appears like a howling tornado. Her dad takes her to safety but she then hears the growlings of a monster who kills her dad.
She regains consciousness chained to a bed inside a hospital run by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga of the hit TV series “Queen of the South”), who seems to be the only staffer in the entire hospital. She’s told she’s a mutant and she should remain in the hospital until she fully discovers the extent of her powers and learns to control them.
She meets the other mutants being trained (or tamed) in the hospital: Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton), the Russian Ilyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the Brazilian Bobby da Costa (Henry Zaga) and Rhane Sinclair (Maisie Williams). Sam can fly at great speed and accidentally caused the death of his own dad and his co-workers inside a coal mine in Kentucky.
Bobby has solar power and burst into flames when he gets so hot. He unintentionally killed his girlfriend when they are about to make love. Ilyana is a rebellious victim of child slavery and is haunted by a Smiley monster who looks like Slender Man. She can open wormholes and go into limbo.
Rahne can turn herself into a wolf so she is branded a witch (that’s why she has a scar of the letter W on her back from a branding iron) by their Scottish village. The five kids are made to believe that they’re being trained to later join the X-Men as crimefighters, but eventually, they discover that the company that Dr. Reyes is working for actually just wants to weaponize them and turn them into killers.
Reyes later decides to kill Dani because it turns out her powers are so great that they can never control her. The film’s climax shows their battle against a monstrous demon bear that seems to be hounding Dani. Eventually, they win and they discover that the force field that prevents them from leaving the hospital has been destroyed and they are now free to go to the outside world.
Hopefully, they can now go to their next adventure, if there’d be a sequel. But unfortunately, the movie flopped when released in theaters during the pandemic and it was also panned by critics.
“The New Mutants” is actually a Marvel X-Men spinoff with a new generation of multi-national teen heroes in Prof. Xavier’s academy, which is now missing in the movie. It could have been the start of a new franchise but since it didn’t work, we guess they have to cook up another project to continue with the X-Men saga.
To begin with, most of the actors they got to play the lead roles didn’t make an impression, except for the phenomenal Anya Taylor-Joy who is now flying high due to the Netflix blockbuster series, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. As the resident mean bitch who’s antagonistic to almost everyone in the movie, specially to Dani who she’s bullying all the time, she just stands out as a volatile ice queen who eats everyone alive in all the scenes that she is in.
The film does not have much of a striking personality in itself when it could have been a coming-of-age saga for these new heroes. The movie is directed by Josh Boone, who previously made the teen tearjerker, “The Fault in Our Stars”, about terminally ill young folks.
Here, he just cannot seem to make up his mind whether this will be a high school movie with the kids dancing to the music of The Replacements, a horror flick (which is devoid of creepy atmosphere), or an LGBT movie with Dani and Rahne in a lesbian relationship. The end result is really neither here or there, making this a lame conclusion of Marvel’s X-men series.