The New Mutants is directed by Josh Boone. The film stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga. This the thirteenth and final film in the X-Men film franchise started by 20th Century Fox in the year 2000. Originally slated for a 2018 release, the film was delayed by factors like reshoots (which may or may not have happened), Fox being acquired by Disney, and the current world pandemic.
When a Native American girl wakes up following her family being killed in what was presumably a natural disaster, she finds herself in a facility for mutants – learning that she herself is one, with her ability remaining a mystery. Getting to know her fellow mutants, who find themselves curious about her power and strange goings on, they must learn to set aside their differences to determine the origin of a new potential threat.
The New Mutants’ theatrical release got delayed. A LOT. At one point there were even rumors the movie would just get a direct-to-streaming release on the Disney+ streaming service. It’s been nearly two-and-a-half years since the initial projected release date (recent world events haven’t helped any), but it’s finally in theaters, getting overwhelmingly negative reviews.
So, how is it? Really?
While the movie can’t compete with the X-Men franchise’s better entries, it’s at least better than people say, and certainly above direct-to-video quality. That said, I’d probably still wait for the home release. The movie unites a talented cast of youths, but the overall product still feels inconsistent and scattershot.
Where The New Mutants shines brightest is its cast. A relationship between Blu Hunt’s Dani and Maisie Williams’ Rahne is the highlight of the show; these two have a definite chemistry and it’s almost a shame we won’t get to explore this relationship in future films, as this movie is the final installment in the 20-year run of the X-Men franchise. The rest of the cast has their own share of angst and dramatic moments, and even if other aspect of the movie fall flat, the cast is certainly something I won’t knock the movie for. There are even a few surprising light-hearted comedic moments.
Sadly, the rest of the movie doesn’t quite hold up as well. The initial pacing in the film is slow, and where there’s decent character development, even the best dramatic moments can’t hold up to many of those in the series proper, not to mention the fact the “villains” feel like they don’t belong in an X-Men movie. Hell, some of the villainous creatures later in the film bare more than a passing resemblance to the Lizard Mutts from The Hunger Games franchise.
The New Mutants isn’t horrible, but aside from a strong youth cast, it doesn’t leave the memorable impact so many other movies in the X-Men franchise do, ending the franchise with a relative whimper. It’s not a total loss, but you’ll probably be best served waiting for the eventual home release.
Rating: Two stars out of four.
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