CERT: 15 | RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 4TH
Launched gloriously in 2000, Fox’s once-proud X-Men film franchise comes to a horribly ignominious end (now distributed by Disney) in The New Mutants, a film left twiddling its thumbs on the shelf for two years and only finally unleashed on a disinterested public under the cover of the early aftermath of a global pandemic.
The New Mutants really has no place on the big screen. At best, this is a workmanlike ‘Netflix original’ movie or a moderately budgeted extended pilot for another saga of super-powered kids finding their place in a world that doesn’t understand them. The first hour of The New Mutants is catastrophically un-cinematic. Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is orphaned when her home is devastated by a tornado and her father killed by some unseen monstrous entity. She awakes to find herself in a sinister, middle-of-nowhere hospital complex run by Dr Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) and told that she is a mutant with undefined powers. She and four fellow super-powered teens (including Maisie Williams as a lycanthropic mutant with a decent Scottish accent) are kept under constant surveillance and they all assume they are to become the next generation of X-Men. Suffice to say, they’re not…
Director/co-writer Josh Boone clearly doesn’t know whether he wants to make a superhero film or a horror movie but the tropes of both genres don’t sit well together and the film is a tonal mess. It rouses itself from its torpor in the last half-hour with a few flashes of CGI and the arrival of the ferocious Demon Bear to add some comic book thrills, but by now the film has sunk under the weight of its own irrelevance and an ending suggesting the birth of a thrilling new comic book franchise is the definition of wishful thinking. Some good, well-intentioned performances aside, The New Mutants is a flat and pointless film we really need never concern ourselves with again.