The overall story of The New Mutants subverts expectations in many ways and delivers a superhero story that is small in scale and, in the end, feels very small in budget. First, the entire movie takes place in a single location…a mutant medical facility, if you will. The cast is tiny as well. Along with the five members of the New Mutants, you have facility director Dr. Reyes and then several background players and a CG monster. It just doesn’t feel like the superhero films we’re used to, which is fine as long as you’re not expecting a big superhero film. The advertising presents The New Mutants as horror, but it’s really a psychological thriller.
It’s essential to judge what’s actually on the screen versus what should have been on the big screen. Regarding the mutants themselves, the film gives us a fair and relatively accurate portrayal of each character. Though it cranks up the teenage angst a little, fans should feel satisfied. My only complaint is that the film is 75% story and 25% action. What you see of their powers is good, but there could have been more.
“The women take the lead…They are the more strong-willed characters…”
Another highlight of the film is the relationships between the teen mutants. The story of five strangers forced to put aside their differences and their past is a good one…not great…good. What I like, though, was how they captured the interpersonal dynamic of this team in the same way the original comics did.
The acting is decent. The women take the lead for the most part. They are the more strong-willed characters as the boys come off as…well, teenage boys. Both Charlie Heaton and Henry Zaga comes off as way too angsty in their portrayal. Anya Taylor-Joy has the bully thing down perfectly. Blu Hunt’s Dani is the focus of the film, and she admirably carries the main storyline with Maisie Williams serving as much more of the emotional weight as Rahne.
If you want a few jump scares and a superhero Breakfast Club, give The New Mutants a chance. With the proper expectations, it is not as bad as you think it is. Just keep those expectations really low.
"…“…the film gives us a fair and relatively accurate portrayal of each character.”"