Film Review: The New Mutants

The New Mutants Poster

Who doesn’t enjoy a good mutant film set in the Marvel Universe? That sounds like a great idea! Growing up, I collected “first issue comics.” About the only comic series I tried to collect past Issue 1 was The New Mutants, so when I heard there would be a film based (loosely) on the comics I thought it would be an interesting addition to the franchise.

The film was directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars, Stuck in Love) and written by both Boone and Knate Lee, whom Boone ultimately went to work with on The Stand TV series. The duo have very few other credits, which could be refreshing, but in this case, was not. The filming took place in 2017 and was supposed to be released in 2018 until reshoots were ordered following by Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. It stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga.

Like the comics, the movie centers around teenage mutants just coming into their powers. Rahne, Illyana, Sam, Dani, and Roberto. The names and abilities of the characters, however, are the limit to the film’s relation to the comics, however, as we are introduced to each of the characters with extraneous exposition.

I get it. New characters need exposition. However, the film goes through exposition after exposition and consequent manifestations. Exposition, manifestation… exposition, manifestation… through every one of our main characters.

Dani arrives at the hospital after falling unconscious and we are introduced to Dr. Reyes, who has to remind us several times she is a nurse. Only a few minutes in and Dani is introduced to the rest of the group in a therapy-like environment. As the camera pans around to each of the young mutants, the similarities to The Breakfast Club become apparent and we half expect Sam to start playing with his hoodie.

It doesn’t take long to see two of the characters will end up sharing a kiss at some point in the film. The director has a hard time with subtlety. As soon as we see a kissing scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and notice the music changes whenever the two characters are alone, we know what is going to happen.

After a few bouts of fighting between Rahne and Illyana, we find the new brat pack in the attic as they “break out” of detention to a place where there are no cameras, so they think. Roberto finally shows his power and we find out Reyes isn’t exactly a doctor and also that Cyclops is not the one behind the scenes running the “hospital.”

For a film that is only 1 hour and 33 minutes long (for comparison, X-Men: Days of Future Past was 2 hours, 31 minutes long), it takes this film a lot of time to get anywhere. And even when it arrives, it takes a wrong turn. We finally see all of the exposition and manifestations come to a head at around the hour mark, a few good one-liners, “Let’s kill the bitch,” and then, mercifully, the end of the film comes with a simple “Stop. No. I’m in charge now.” The end.

The film ends with another recollection of the Cheyenne legend of the two bears: one is good, one is evil. In doing a google search I found that same legend as the tale of two wolves (not bears) but I suppose using the true legend both would have had us confused how Rahne fits in, and also wouldn’t add to the size of the “bad bear” that manifests in the film’s climax.

All in all, this Breakfast Club reboot set in the Marvel Universe is both predictable and forgettable. While the opening says Marvel, this film can easily be forgotten and placed alongside the Star Wars Holiday Special with how closely it fits into its parent universe, but it won’t be remembered as fondly as Chewie’s son Lumpy.

  • The New Mutants

Leave a Comment