Five teenage mutants (Blu Hunt, Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga) are being held in a secret facility as they learn to control their powers and face their inner demons.
‘The New Mutants’ has been deemed as cursed following numerous delays which meant it reached cinemas more than two years after its initial scheduled release date. A superhero movie in times like these seems apt, and the ‘X-Men’ series has typically proven entertaining (except when it comes to rounding off trilogies with the likes of ‘The Last Stand’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’…). Its director is Josh Boone, which would seem a good choice for a teen pic after his success with ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. But ‘The New Mutants’ is still as poor as you expected.
Everything about the film is conventional, formulaic and predictable. You’ve seen this story in various forms a hundred times before. It’s a shame too because you’ve a great cast that includes ‘Game of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy from ‘The Witch’ and ‘Split’, and Charlie Heaton of ‘Stranger Things’ fame. Williams stands out, bringing some vitality to the listless proceedings, even if her Scottish accent can be questionable. Heaton and Zaga’s characters are essentially indistinguishable, and their powers are confusing. Then for all the talent she has, Taylor-Joy’s Russian sorceress is an embarrassment to watch. Someone took Angelina Jolie’s character in ‘Girl, Interrupted’ a little bit too seriously.
Speaking of, Boone clearly drew from the Winona Ryder starrer as well as such films as ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’, aside from the ‘X-Men’ series, in his latest. But only in a menial sense as generally, the feature has little by way of direction or ambition. It’s loaded with plot holes and feels consistently hollow. The concept of hormonal kids with powers they can’t control has been done in such more meaningful, interesting ways previously, going back as far as ‘Carrie’, or in recent Netflix series ‘I Am Not Okay with This.’ Moreover for all ‘The New Mutants’ claims that it’s a ‘horror’, this really only is the case in act III and even then, its “scare factor” feels wasted.
One is at least optimistic to have a LGBTQ+ narrative feature prominently in the plot, and there are a couple of very sweet moments that come with that storyline. But generally speaking, this is just not a good movie. It’s the third worst in the ‘X-Men’ franchise after ‘The Last Stand’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’.