For a time it felt like this movie wasn’t ever going to materialise, shapeshifting more times than Mystique.
When news spread that director Josh Boone was intending to create Mutant horror film, this surgeon’s interests were piqued. Even with its YA moniker attached proved no obstacle for my expectations at the thought of a dark world to be explored. So it was with much disappointment that constant barriers were thrust in its way including the transition under the Disney umbrella with fears that it would soften the scare factor, the interest started to wane.
Despite this, I was still intent on seeing the final product, so when it finally surfaced this week, I propelled it to the top of my list and while it fell short in some areas, the end result is far from tragic with Boone serving up a decent film.
The concept follows Dani Moonstar (Psyche) played by Blu Hunt, a young Cheyenne girl whose village is attacked by an unknown entity. She awakens in a hospital under the guidance of Dr. Reyes, the only adult visible in the entire film. Joining Dani in the unit are a batch of young mutant misfits that promise to be a more credible group with super powers than The Dream Warriors could muster.
Making up the motley crew is Magik, a Russian with the power of teleportation, among other things, who serves as the needle in Dani’s back for most of the film and could seriously com across as two-dimensional, but thankfully Anya Taylor-Joy (The VVitch) manages to sharpen some further points to her character adding much needed dexterity.
Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) is equally enjoyable on screen as Cannonball, a tortured soul with the power of jet propulsion. There are times that Heaton’s brooding presence appears to tap into James Dean’s aura with his performance, stealing the audience’s gaze with some subtle movements, which at times makes you wish he had more screen time.
Henry Zaga’s (Teen Wolf) portrayal of Sunspot feels a little under cooked for a super hero who’s ability is to channel solar power, and as such feels the weaker of the group. If anything it’s Maisie Williams’ (Game of Thrones) performance of Wolfsbane, a mutant with lycanthrope abilities that outshines her counterparts with a beautiful blend of strength and vulnerability. She’s such a joy to watch and continues to deliver characters with so many layers and blends them with her own special touch.
All of this serves well for the narrative that forces this mismatched group together for a common cause when another unknown entity appears to be attacking their weaknesses. It’s one nagging point for me however, is that by placing Dani as our central protagonist and surrounding her with mystery, she has very little to do other than to serve as our narrator until her ability is able to be unleashed.
With all the promise of a horror film tied into the Marvel universe, The New Mutants suffers under the shroud of its YA genre and fails to deliver anything truly fearful.
It does however, serve a semi-decent psychological movie, tapping into the mindset of troubled youths imprisoned in a world where they must discover themselves in order to survive.
- Saul Muerte