Listen to the new single from VoxMusic!
Listen to the new single from VoxMusic!

The New Mutants

The New Mutants




- for violent content, some disturbing/bloody images, some strong language, thematic elements and suggestive material.
Director: Josh Boone
Starring: Maisie Williams, Blu Hunt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: August 28, 2020
Digital Release Date: November 17, 2020


READER RATING:   


Plot Summary

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. (from IMDb)


Film Review

Over twenty years ago, Marvel Comics mutants X-Men made their big screen, live action debut in the Bryan-Singer directed film. Since then, no less than six X-Men sequel or prequel movies have been made, with numerous spin-offs for Wolverine and Deadpool. The latest in the series has a long-troubled production story. The New Mutants is based on a spin-off comic series of the same name and is inspired by a very specific story arc from the comics. The movie was filmed and completed several years ago, but the call for reshoots and Disney's acquisition of FOX caused the film to get delayed multiple times before its eventual release in late summer 2020. The film even had a much more horror-focused plot originally, and was aiming for an R rating before changes brought it down to work for a wider audience. The final film presents mixed results, but I have a sinking feeling that even without all of the changes and growing pains, it was still a film that just wasn't really working.

Although The New Mutants is rumored to be set in the 1990's, everything about it screams "2020." Hollywood continues to push gender boundaries (why?) and even the content that can be put into a movie, and The New Mutants feels like a product of this. It's got the angsty teen 80's and 90's feel going for it, that does work at times, but other aspects don't feel like a natural fit. Take for example the film's central love story. A troubled teen named Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is revealed to have special powers when an evil force invades her town. She then wakes up in a creepy, secluded medical facility with other teens who she finds also have special abilities. One of these fellow inmates is Rahne Sinclair (Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams), who is shy but takes a strange interest in Dani. The two quickly strike up a friendship which just as quickly (and oddly) turns romantic, and it never really feels natural. But, in a way, that kind of sums up the feel of the entire film.

While it's hardly boring, very little about The New Mutants seems to click. They set up Dani's powers as kind of a mystery, and weird things start happening in the facility that seem to have begun as soon as Dani arrived. But it soon becomes about the characters facing their greatest, most disturbing fears, as quite literally their nightmares start coming to life (coincidentally, the plot of fears being brought to life by a magical power is exactly the plot of a creepy 1987 DuckTales episode called "Nothing to Fear"). I understand that it's based on a popular comic book story, but when you see what it is they end up fighting during the film's climax, it might seem a little more ridiculous than awesome. Still, the movie does have moments and characters that work, and everyone involved clearly puts in the effort (I thought Charlie Heaton, who I know solely because of Stranger Things, was great as Sam, but his character felt a little underdone). But storywise, the film is missing something, and it's quite possible that the filmmakers also knew this and just couldn't figure out what it was or how to fix it. Some of the subplots feel underdeveloped, especially the stories behind the nightmares that haunt the film's teens. The movie's connection to the X-Men universe is also pretty thin. They teased a closer affiliation during the film, but end up not following through on it (Although I'm not quite sure it's needed, to be honest. I was a mix of disappointed and excited when they name-dropped the X-Men, but it made the film's darker revelations more impactful). The movie barely crosses the 90-minute mark, and one has to wonder if a little longer running time could have helped flesh the story out a bit. (Where Wonder Woman 1984 was in desperate need of a running time trimming, this one could probably have benefitted from 15 to 20 minutes more material.)

The content in the film definitely plays up the PG-13 horror genre with plenty of bloody scrapes and cuts, a ghostly burned corpse, and ghastly eyeless-and-large-mouthed creepy creatures. Anya Taylor-Joy's Illyana Rasputin uses the "F" word twice earlier in the film, and there is quite a bit of other profanity and blasphemy along the way. There are two shower scenes with Rahne, showing her bare back and shoulders, and one of them where Dani is also there and we see her bare back and brief side of her chest. The two girls also share a few kisses in a scene where they star gaze, and then again later. There's also a subplot where we learn that Rahne was tortured / abused by a priest who considered her a witch because she has the ability to turn into a wolf. And when Dani is being shown around the facility, a character tells her "This is the chapel, if you believe in that "s--t." The filmmakers are none too subtle about where they stand on the subject of spiritual matters.

For a horror-flavored superhero film, The New Mutants entertains, but it doesn't deliver much to make it worth revisiting. As an X-Men film, it's definitely bottom tier, falling somewhere in line with arguably the franchise's lowest point, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. If you're a diehard fan of anyone in the cast, a fan of this particular comic book series, or one who must see every X-Men related piece of cinema, you might enjoy The New Mutants... otherwise, I'm pretty sure your time is better spent elsewhere (if not with the "old" mutants).

- John DiBiase (reviewed: 1/20/21)

 

 

iTunes / Digital Copy Bonus Features Review


The New Mutants is now available on all digital platforms, as well as in disc form. We were only given a digital copy, but the iTunes version includes some extras.

Deleted Scenes (10:53) - There are seven deleted scenes, with a Play All option. In the first scene, we see Dani climbing the tower (and Rahne follows) while Illy and Berto hang around together outside. Next, there's a brief moment where Dani and Rahne check out Illyís room (and get caught). The following scene shows Berto joining Dani in the cafeteria to get to know her and flirt with her. Dani tells him he's not her type, which is clearly an attempt to establish her lesbian leanings. The fourth deleted scene is an alternate version of Dani's nightmare (which can be seen in the film's trailer). When she's in her room, we see faces pushing in through the walls (like they were bed sheets and not solid). She then sees her face on the ground talking back to her. It's creepy, albeit kind of silly. The next scene shows Sam and Berto playing basketball. Berto starts to "overheat" and tells Sam he needs to cool off (but none of the other kids know yet that he can burst into flames). Next, Dr. Reyes tells the team theyíre on lockdown, and the final deleted scene shows a little more from when they decide to go after Dr. Reyes near the film's finale (1 "b*tch").

Featurettes
Origins & Influences (7:28) - Here the cast and crew talk about how the film is based on the "Demon Bear" comic storyline. They explain that their intentions for the film was to mix the DNA of an X-Men movie, and a teen story, with horror.

Meet The New Mutants (7:17) - Here, the cast and crew talk about each other and who their characters are.

Finally, the extras are rounded out with a feature-length Audio Commentary where director Josh Boone interviews The New Mutants comic creator Bill Sienkiewicz (1:34:02) and two Theatrical Trailers (where you can see some of the more horror-focused elements of the film).

- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 1/20/21)

 

 

Parental Guide: Content Summary


. Sex/Nudity: We see Rahne and Dani in towels as they go to shower. We then see their bare backs and a little bit of the sides of Dani's chest from behind for a brief moment; We see two girls in a TV show kissing; While mocking her, Ilya tells Dani to show her on her puppet "where daddy touched you"; Rahne goes to confession in the chapel and admits to masturbating twice; Roberto is asked how many girls heís been with while connected to a lie detector. He says too many to remember. They say heís lying. He admits it was three; Roberto strips to his boxers to join Illy swimming and she insultingly calls him a virgin; Dani and Rahne (two girls) kiss a couple times while laying out under the stars together; Illy and Roberto kiss passionately while in the pool together; We see Rahne's bare back as she showers again; Rahne and Dani kiss again; Berto catches on fire and when he returns to normal is apparently naked. He takes some of the building's debris and uses it to hide his nakedness.
. Vulgarity/Language: 2 "F" words, 11 "S" words, 1 "Oh J-sus," 2 "J-sus," 2 "*ssh*le," 5 "b*tch," 4 "h*ll," 2 "Oh my G-d," 2 "d*mn"
. Alcohol/Drugs: The kids spike the doctor's drinks to knock her out. While they're hanging out, it looks like they might be drinking alcohol.
. Blood/Gore: In the woods, we see a dead man land on the ground with some blood on his clothes (but itís dark); When we first meet Sam, we see he has bruises his face and his eye is swollen shut; After Dani runs into an invisible wall, we see some blood on her nose; Sam finds himself in a tunnel where he finds his dad is hacking at a wall with blood on it. He turns around and we some blood on his face; Dani feels bloody snow raining on her and rubs some on her fingers. We then see blood splattered all over her clothes; We see a close-up of a needle and vial filling with blood; A scarred hand comes out of the pool. We then see a burning body emerge from the pool and move toward Roberto. We then see his whole body consumed in fire (revealing his power); A priest with a bloody torn face approaches Rahne in the shower and stabs her with a hot branding rod on her neck as she screams; We see a bloody "W" carved into on Rahneís neck; Rahne partially turns into a wold and claws Reyes' face and we see her covered in blood and deep, bloody scrapes on her face; Reyes drips blood on the floor; We see a close-up of Reyes' scraped up and bloody face with blood on her clothes; We see a gigantic bear take a character and chew them up. It's shown quickly and not in great detail; Dani finds herself in a field of dead bodies; Berto picks up a shoe from the rubble and pours gooey blood out from it.
. Violence: A man rescues a girl from a burning house. There is fire and explosions as they flee. We see the girl running through the woods and we see a dead man land on the ground with some blood on his clothes (but itís dark); A girl wakes to find herself handcuffed to a hospital bed; Rahne says a priest beat her half to death when he saw her change into a wolf; Dani runs into an invisible wall and is knocked down; Dani climbs a tower out on a ledge to kill herself, but doesn't jump; Dani dreams of flames in her home and being chased in the woods; Sam is spooked by a thump in a dryer near him. He touches it and finds himself in a tunnel with guys chipping at the walls with axes. He finds his dad is hacking at a wall with blood on it. He turns around and we some blood on his face. Thereís a mini explosion and Sam flies backwards into another washing machine; Sam looks at himself in the mirror and punches himself in the face a few times; While mocking her, Ilya tells Dani to show her on her puppet "where daddy touched you." They then shove each other. Ilya makes an energy sword which is stopped by a force field from another character; While Rahne is in a confessional booth, the doors of the booth rattle as a scary voice tells her she's a witch; We then see a burning body emerge from the pool and move toward Roberto. We then see his whole body consumed in fire (revealing his power); Dani has flashbacks of snow and her running, and then sees a vision of kids training by using their powers to push training dummies around. We also then see a person get pushed down. Finally, we see a kid being dragged away by the ankle; A priest with a bloody torn face approaches Rahne in the shower and stabs her with a hot branding rod on her shoulder as she screams; Illy grabs Rahne by the throat and she sees visions of the smiley men. Dr. Reyes stabs her in the neck with a sedative; We see an action scene on a TV set from Buffy the Vampire Slayer that shows lightning and vampires; Illyís door degrades quickly. We then see the big-mouthed-sharp-teeth monsters chase her. They grab her and Sam beats one. One grabs Berto and he throws it with fire; Reyes straps down Dani and tries to perform a lethal injection on her; Rahne partially turns into a wold and claws Reyes' face and we see her covered in blood and deep. bloody scrapes on her face; Sam tears though some of the monsters, leaving them in pieces; Illy slices some of the creatures up with her power sword; The teens get trapped in force shields; We see a gigantic bear take a character and chew them up. It's shown quickly and not in great detail; Dani finds herself in a field of dead bodies; Illy she slices the bear. It tears at the confessional booth where Rahne is hiding. The teens all take turns fighting it; Berto picks up a shoe from the rubble and pours gooey blood out from it.

 

Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.

To find out why we don't typically review R-rated movies, click here

 

 

go to main Movie review page
go to Video and DVD review archive

 

           
Listen to the new album from Sarah Sparks!

Search JFH




This Thursday, May 6, 2021
NEEDTOBREATHE Into the Mystery - Single [Elektra]


This Friday, May 7, 2021
CAIN Rise Up [Provident / Sony]
The Crabb Family I See Revival DVD [Daywind]
Endless Highway Come Home [Crossroads]
Courtney Franklin We Made It - Single [Pebble Street]
Futures Simple - Single [DREAM]
Kingdom Heirs Jesus is Enough - Single [Crossroads]
Ellie Holcomb I Don't Want To Miss It - Single [Capitol CMG]
Mirours Colorful Love - Single [BEC]
Switchfoot I Need You (To Be Wrong) - Single [Fantasy]
Phil Thompson Jesus - Single [Integrity]
White Stone Receivers Songs for the Wilderness - EP [7Core]
Vineyard Worship Heaven's Work - Single [Integrity]
YWAM Kona Music The Sound of Go (Live) - EP [Integrity]


Next Friday, May 14, 2021
Anna Golden Peace: The Album [Motown Gospel/TeeLee]


For all release dates, click here!
 



Listen to the new album from White Stone Receivers!




Listen to the new single from Love Like Gravity on Spotify!