The New Mutants is now open in theaters nationwide, and after years of waiting, I can finally confirm that it definitely—exists.
Hello everybody. I’m Dan Murrell, here with my review of The New Mutants which just debuted in theaters nationwide. Mere hours ago, and in case you haven’t noticed, no. I’m not in the studio. As a matter of fact, I am back in Arkansas, back in the closet of my room. Uh, back home, to bring you this review.
And, before you ask, no; I did not fly from Los Angeles to Arkansas just to go to the movies. I am here to see some family and take care of some other business, but I happened to be here during the time when a lot of these new movies are coming out, and I booked a ticket to see The New Mutants.
Now, before I get into my review of the film, I know that there are a lot of critics who are not reviewing this movie because Disney did not screen it for critics ahead of time. And there are a lot of outlets and individual critics that don’t feel as if they should be asked to go to a theater where it could potentially not be safe. I understand that standpoint, and I support their decision to do that. I have to say that I only made the decision to go to the movies after I was able to see online that the screening that I was going to was not very full. As a matter of fact, there were only about a dozen people in the screening that I was in, a theater that seated two to three hundred. So, there was plenty of room for social distancing.
I also did not book tickets and did not go to the film until I was able to get my hands on an actual certified N95 mask. This not only protects other people it affords me some protection. And it’s honestly the only way that I would personally feel comfortable going into a theater.
I understand the concerns around theater safety and the concerns of those who chose not to go see and review the film. I do feel that I took appropriate precautions to protect myself and protect others, so I did choose to go to the film.
And this is the first big movie. No disrespect to Russell Crowe, who as I mentioned before I won’t mess with and neither should you, with Unhinged that opened last week. But this is easily the highest profile film to open in theaters since they started reopening just a few weeks ago.
And this is also a long awaited movie. The New Mutants has been pushed and pushed and pushed up the schedule for literally years at this point. So even if nothing had happened, there would be a huge degree of curiosity around this film.
The fact that its release was couched around this global pandemic of course increased even more the curiosity for audience members around this film. And even today, here in Arkansas, there was a tropical storm, the first tropical storm in the history of Arkansas.
To come through that, I thought that maybe, that this even this screening would be delayed. It seemed like there were so many obstacles in this movie’s way, and it finally in theaters. And to be fair, all of these expectations that’s been heaped on it due to it being delayed, is not this movie’s fault. However it does like a movie from a bygone era. An era when Fox was its own company, that didn’t quite know what to do with X-Men movies.
Now it’s not all X-Men movies that Fox that didn’t really know what to do with. Obviously, Logan and the two Deadpool movies had great talent behind them and a really unique voice and a really unique direction. I’m talking about the X-Men Dark Phoenixes, the X-Men Apocalypses, and going outside the X-Universe, yes, the FANT4STICs of the world. The movies that just didn’t quite seem to know what they were gonna be, other than…a movie.
And this is what New Mutant feels like. It feels like a movie. It centers around young mutants, and this is actually a very small movie when you look at the cast. There’s very few cast members. Really eighty percent of the movie revolves around these young mutants, and the doctor running the facility. That’s about it.
So, it does feel very small, particularly for the first three quarters of the film. But it also has ambitions of going very large and getting very grand. And you can mix these two different things in the film. I just don’t know how effectively this movie does it, because for the bulk of the runtime, you’re getting to know these characters, getting to know their past.
You have a couple of interesting storylines here and there. There’s teen romance; there’s obviously family drama; there’s a lot of different threads of things for this movie to pull onto. But I kinda found the first three quarters of this movie a bit of a snooze. I know what Josh Boone was going for. Here, it he was going for that Breakfast Club-type vibe and that movie worked very well in its time.
But, it just didn’t work very well for this movie. Because when I talk about the FANT4STIC of the world, Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, this movie actually kind of reminded me of that in this way. I think it’s a better film. It’s definitely a better film.
However, it felt like it wanted to be one certain thing; that, this is very outside of the box for a superhero film. For the Fantastic Four movie, Josh Trank’s version, it was this kind of body horror, much darker take on these characters, much more psychological. For this movie, it’s the much more intimate; much more focused teenage drama side. But then feels obligated at the end to go big, because this is a superhero film. And they just don’t really gel together.
And that’s the thing about New Mutants that I think doesn’t work the most, is that you have all these pieces, and all these influences, and all these different types of movies and types of genres, but they never really all mesh and blend together into one cohesive whole. And ultimately, I think, the result that you have ends up being disjointed. And honestly when you get to the end, a bit disappointing, because you don’t really know why you were going on this journey. I didn’t really connect to many or any of the characters that deeply.
Of the lead characters, Blu Hunt and Maisie Williams actually had the interaction and the relationship that I thought worked best for the movie. The others, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga; they were there and they weren’t necessarily uninteresting. I just didn’t, there wasn’t a whole lot of meat on that bone for me.
And then you have Alice Braga as the doctor running the facility. She does well with what she’s given, but again, she kinda has a thankless role in the sense that she’s there to be the authority.
There is a tie-in to the X-Universe, which I will let you discover for yourself in the film. I will say that it’s a tie-in that I think would have been much more relevant, and perhaps more effective, if the movie had been released when it was originally supposed to be released. Because it’s not one of the most obvious tie-ins and it’s not maybe one that you think that you’re gonna be seeing for the bulk of the film.
So you can see that they were trying to add to this X-Men shared universe, but this also is another thing that makes it feel like it is a relic. It is an addition to a shared universe that no longer exists. And not only no longer exits, but hasn’t existed for a couple of years and kind of flamed out spectacularly when it did go away.
Again, this is not the movie’s fault. But this is the reality that we have been presented with this film. And that’s kind of what 2020’s been. Isn’t it? It’s really we’re making the best out of the reality with which we’ve been presented. It’s not what we wanted, but it’s what we got.
I think that’s what we have to do with New Mutants. If you are an X-Men fan, then you might like it.
This one more than any of the other X-Men films recently is really for the deep cut fans because there are a lot of deep references to the X-Men mythology in this movie.
But it just doesn’t quite come together. I wonder if they had done these reshoots that were rumored, but never happened. I wonder if the impetus behind those or the logic behind suggesting those, if that, if indeed they were on the board at some point, was to tie these disparate elements more closely together. It does feel kind of like the first version of a movie in the sense of you have a lot of different story points, but no real unifying cohesive thing that just brings everything together.
At a certain point in the film, they just start kind of throwing elements out, because we’ve gone so small at the beginning of the movie, and we have to get so big by the end of the movie, that that bridge between the two halves—or not even halves—but the two parts of this film, just becomes this weird kind of wonky thing of pulling things out and fighting these random monster things, and you’re not quite sure why they’re there.
It’s just very awkward transition between those two things. Ultimately, it weighs both of them down, which meant that neither of them really worked for me that much.
Not a recommendation for me on New Mutants. Really, just kind of on an artistic level, I think even if this had never happened, it’s just very down the middle. It’s not terrible. It’s not great. It really is kind of forgettable, sadly, which is ironic because of the circumstances around its success including things like the countdown to New Mutants, I will remember for a very long time. But ultimately, I think it is going to be the story around this movie that I remember more than the movie itself.
So those are my thoughts on New Mutants. Have you been out to the theater? Do you plan to go out to the theater to see the movie? Let me know what you think and stay tuned because there are some other reviews that are coming up here on the channel.
I’m gonna be having a review of Bill and Ted Face the Music which is hitting premium video on demand, that’s how I’ll be watching it as well as select theaters this weekend. So stay tuned very soon to see my review of that.
I will also be coming up next week, early next week, with a review of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the next movie that I will be seeing in the theater, with my trusty N95 on Monday. So stay tuned for that.
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