The New Mutants (2020)

new mutants poster 2020 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Had the right idea

The delays, story needed to be punched up a bit, better ending

Movie Info

Movie Name: The New Mutants

Studio: 20th Century Studios

Genre(s): Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Horror

Release Date(s): August 28, 2020 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

new mutants cast team

Who’s scared?

Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) finds her life changed in the course of one night.  Her family and her people are wiped out by a force she doesn’t understand.  Dani wakes up in a facility run by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) and learns that the other teens there Sam Gunthrie (Charlie Heaton), Roberto da Costa (Henry Zaga), Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), and Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy) all are mutants.  Without any knowledge of her mutant powers, Dani is trying to find her way through the twisted world that seems to hold her prisoner.  Something is coming for Dani, and Dani and her new peers might not be able to stop it.

Directed by Josh Boone, The New Mutants is a Marvel Comics X-Men spin-off title.  The horror-action movie suffered major delays and had its release rescheduled for over two years.  Following X-Men:  Dark Phoenix in 2019 and released during the COVID-19 epidemic, it received average reviews and a poor box office return.

new mutants illyana demons

Smile and the whole world smiles with you

New Mutants was my favorite X-Men comic series and the core team (minus Karma) presented here was my favorite team.  The news of New Mutants movie was exciting and scary (I didn’t want them to do it wrong), but delay after delay, I had low expectations.  While The New Mutants isn’t the best comic book movie, it is still better than some of the previous outings.

The New Mutants can be admired for trying something different.  The movie was made and marketed as a horror film.  Dani’s powers manifest fears and the Demon Bear storyline in New Mutants explored it.  Here, the story gets flattened out and confused by the inclusion of the Essex Corporation (which is tied to Mr. Sinister in the comic books) and the horror is also muted due to the PG-13 rating.  One of the big inspirations for the film was A Nightmare on Elm St. 3:  The Dream Warriors, but that had no restraints due to the R-Rating.  It feels like The New Mutants was reaching the peak of the hill but didn’t quite make it over the top.

new mutants demon bear

He just wants your picnic baskets

The cast actually is pretty good.  X-Men was always about inclusion, but it also preyed on stereotypes.  The teams would be extremely diverse, but they would also have characters so ridiculously tied to their countries that it was sometimes hard to take with all the attempts to write dialect.  The film stuck to this diversity and characters like Cannonball played by Charlie Heaton are a little hard to take because of it…but it is accurate to the comic.  I do feel bad for Alice Braga who plays Dr. Cecilia Reyes because the character wasn’t ever meant to be a villain and that was out of context with the comics.

Visually the movie is there.  The horror starts to build in the third act with the smiley face people, but that also feels like a distraction since the real horror is a massive giant bear.  The fight between Illyana and the bear shows where the movie could have gone.  Initial plans had talked about including Warlock (a favorite), but the price tag for him was too great.

new mutants illyana magik lockheed anya taylor joy

More Magik please…

The New Mutants was the final entry in the Fox line of X-Men movies.  While the MCU were heralded, Fox’s movies were kind of treated poorly.  I don’t feel that this was fair since not only were they trailblazers (especially presenting team movies), but they also had a nice solid run (with a few bad ones mixed in) that felt both like a comic book, an action movie, and they generally weren’t as bloated as MCU movies.  The New Mutants was primed for sequels which explains some of the pacing (Warlock being the second act and Inferno being the final), but it was also geared toward failure.  I hope that the New Mutants get another chance, but if they do, they’ll probably just be cracking jokes and goofs like all the other MCU movies that are churned out.

Related Links:

X-Men (2000)

X2:  X-Men United (2003)

X-Men:  The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men:  First Class (2011)

X-Men:  Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men:  Apocalypse (2016)

X-Men:  Dark Phoenix (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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