The New Mutants (Josh Boone, 2020) Review

Spoiler Warning: This discussion contains some spoilers. It could be an entire gag from a comedy or in-depth conversation concerning events in the second act.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.
"All of you are dangerous. That's why you're here."

The official final X-Men project that Fox handled was the mistreated and much delayed The New Mutants that was intended to kick off a brand new trilogy and to refresh the franchise. However, the Disney merger and the general state of the product left this dangling over the pandemic cinematic release period, seen by almost nobody and recommended by even less.

It’s a shame that this was so mistreated, overlooked even by the studio that eventually pushed it out, given that it bolstered a talented, young cast. Anya Taylor-Joy is a bonafide movie star nowadays who any sensible studio would be looking to build a franchise around. Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton are stars of potentially the two biggest contemporary television properties, with bags of potential. Yet, nobody here is even half-decent; not even the underappreciated Alica Braga seems like she could be bothered to check in for her scenes. It reeks of a messy set with no consistent direction and an uncertain future that left everyone pretty unconvinced it was worth putting in the time and effort to make this as good as it could have been.

There’s just nothing redeeming about the film. Its much-discussed horror elements are no more than (count them) two jump scares, creepypasta horror villains, and PG-13 violence. The final act is an embarrassment with some of the worst action I’ve seen in a long time, built on the foundation of a pathetic screenplay that leaves you wishing you’d saved the last ninety minutes of your life. The characters go from adversaries to friends within the space of half an act, with absolutely no contributing factor to the relationship shift. This happens often – namely with Taylor-Joy’s Illyana and makeshift lead Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt). The entire group have a somewhat inconsistent dynamic that tries to make a superhero-horror out of The Breakfast Club, except instead of detention, it’s a deus-ex machina mental asylum.

I could go on and on about The New Mutants’ many issues, yet just these thoughts feel like more evaluation than the filmmakers put into it. All things considered, the film takes a very simple concept with some promise and turns it into a studio-manufactured garbage square. The dialogue is atrocious, like something from one of the many cheap superhero TV shows on the CW, and the performances reflect that lack of creativity as your favourite actor turns into a robot for an hour and a half.

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