An empty, cliched runaround that has no substance, very little style, and will be forgotten by the time you’ve read this review.
Hey gang! Remember when the trailer for The New Mutants dropped, around 2 years ago, and promised us a different look at the X-Men franchise? Do you recall the thrill of the visuals, as we saw what appeared to be a mature and horror inspired superhero film that would be firmly based in the X Universe? Well forget all that, because The New Mutants is a disaster from start to finish.
Set within the confines of a secret hospital facility, the five-strong team of mutants are studied by the mysterious Doctor Reyes, who also has the ability to create strange forcefields, although this will never be explored properly in the course of the movie. In fact, very little will ever be explored as the characters in this screenplay drift aimlessly and without motivation through the various corridors and rooms, spouting exposition, being horrible to each other, and looking like extras from Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, which is a better film to watch than this.
Plot wise, there isn’t much to go on. We are introduced to Dani Moonstar, who arrives at the “hospital” after an ambiguous trauma that might have something to do with a hurricane, or something. We are then introduced to the rest of the cast, Rahne Sinclair, who turns into a wolf, Illyana Rasputin, Russian sorcerer with metal arm and sword, Sam Guthrie, Cannonball, who flies very badly, basically, and Roberto da Costa who looks like a Pound Shop Human Torch. Dani’s arrival triggers nightmares of the team to become real, and they have to battle to survive against the demons that are unleashed.
As the film crawls to it’s third act, it’s hard to feel sympathy for the leads, and scenes are so badly edited together it looks like a series of set-pieces loosely linked together in the hope that some of the narrative sticks.
The amount of time that they have had to put together something that might translate as an entertaining super hero film is staggering, and the fact that the finished product was this slow, cheap-looking homage to The Breakfast Club proves that any enthusiasm the production team might have had for this film must have been lost as the months turned into years awaiting an actual theatrical release.
The horror elements may have been the one saving grace that would have elevated this above other similar fare, yet it is dialled back and watered down, making the threats look silly. You never really feel any threat, let alone horror, and it all eventually looks like a generic superhero film, and a cheap one at that.
The YA acting and terrible script do nothing to help matters either. I’m sure the actors were doing their best, but it takes more than some tonally off sweary words to make the young X-Men appear “cutting edge”.
By the end of The New Mutants, you are left with more questions than answers, and perhaps there was a time where they imagined a spin-off franchise with The New Mutants meeting The X-Men, but as a standalone film this just falls on its featureless face.
We are told Doc Reyes works for The Essex Company, but it’s never explored further, the whole hospital is maintained by this poor woman, who must have been run off her feet, as she also controls the inmates, the counselling sessions, the experiments, the forcefields, the medical implications and I’m assuming the deliveries so they can eat at regular intervals. Just hire some staff for crying out loud.
I suppose that all hope was lost for this film to have any further implications in the X-Universe, defunct now until Marvel reboots the whole thing again, so as a result we are left with an empty cliched runaround that has no substance, very little style and will be forgotten by the time you’ve read this review.
Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk. He currently runs his own business in between watching films.