No wonder this “X-Men” meets “Shutter Island” rip-off got delayed.
As you Marvel fans know, “The New Mutants” has constantly been pushed back for two years. It didn’t want to be overshadowed by other big releases, and this COVID-19 kept pushing movies back. Well, it finally sees the light of day this weekend.
I was on a family vacation in Boothbay, Maine, and we took a pit stop by Gloucester, Massachusetts. I was able to find an opened local movie theater to review “The New Mutants,” and I was not impressed. This is supposed to take place in the X-Men universe, where the set-up splices “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with “Shutter Island,” and it fails in all movies.
For one thing, the main and only doctor in the facility is Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) has to put on a nice girl act, when really she’s a Nurse Ratched working for the Essex Corporation, which abuses young mutants into becoming killing machines. You’re obviously not fooled by her kind nature. Her acting here is so droll, that you feel like you’re reliving “After Earth” again with all those moods and tones being lifeless.
For another thing, the mutants are especially “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson,” and “Animal House” characters, who interact with each other for the first time, fool around in the second act, and finally come together to battle a demon bear and escape Reyes’ clutches.
- Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt from “Another Life”) is the newbie, who is the sole survivor of a village attack, which kills her father (Adam Beach). She has nothing, and she ponders what her powers are, and why she is still alive.
- Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams from “Game of Thrones”) is Danielle’s kind new friend and lover, who can transform into a wolf. Matter of fact, she’s like a werewolf, even without the full moon. She was abused by a priest, who labeled her a witch, and brands a “W” on her back. You know like Hester Prynne wearing an “A” for Adultery in “The Scarlet Letter.”
- Illyana Rasputina (Anya Taylor-Joy) has sorcery and teleportation powers (lucky), and often provokes Danielle. She’s often haunted by demons, one of which wears a smiley mask.
- Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton from “Stranger Things”) can shoot himself in the air like a cannonball, and feels morally responsible for the tragic death of his father in a mine accident.
- Roberto de Costa (Henry Zaga from “Teen Wolf” and “XOXO”) is basically the Human Torch, who can absorb and manipulate solar energy, which happened to kill his girlfriend.
I suppose Williams does keep her character in line with her connection to Danielle, and the movie does respect their characters’ lesbianism. I mean, I have heard about superhero movies wanting to let women be free and independent with their interests and choices. I’m glad movies and shows are considerate about the LGBT community these days.
But “The New Mutants” fails to deliver on the genre. The last “X-Men” movie “Dark Phoenix” was a real borefest and a bad conclusion to the franchise. This one, co-written and directed by Josh Boone (“The Fault in Our Stars”), tries and fails to begin one. The characters are formulaic and recycled, the demon effects are shabby, and the narrative never goes anywhere. And if you wanted to see a demon bear, you should see Pixar’s “Brave.” Now that was thrilling compared to this CGI monster.
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