Following the much-anticipated return to cinema, there was no bigger disappointment in the lineup of films than “The New Mutants.”
This adaptation of the Marvel spinoff comic series made frequent references to the X-Men franchise, while also attempting to stand on its own. Unfortunately, it doesn’t accomplish this with much success.
Director Josh Boone, best known for the movie “The Fault in Our Stars,” made this comic book adaptation generic and, at best, straining to be a somewhat heartfelt love/horror film.
The movie follows Dani Moonstar, a Cheyenne mutant played by Native American actress Blu Hunt, after she wakes up strapped to a bed in a gloomy psychiatric institution. Moonstar’s subsequent realization that she’s not alone in this strange science experiment culminates in her leading the new class of mutants.
Headed by the mysterious Dr. Reyes — Alice Braga — this institution houses other resentful teen-patients, each of whom is nursing a superpower as a symptom of some awful secret in their past.
Hunt’s supporting cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy who plays Illyana, a Russian with teleportation abilities and a bad attitude, and “Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams as Rahne, a Scottish girl with fierce animal instincts and googly eyes for one of her incarcerated companions.
The other mutant roles went to Henry Zaga who plays Bobby, the handsome, young Brazilian whose sexual history has left him too hot to handle, and Charlie Heaton, from Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” as Sam, a boy from a mining town in Kentucky who can project himself at lightning speeds, but carries the burden of an unfortunate family tragedy.
Boone produced a heavy dose of teen angst with the constant reminder from Dr. Reyes that “mutation most often occurs in puberty.”
However, the five mutants begin to slowly realize that their powers have origins they are suppressing and everything they are experiencing is a result of a psychic wound.
Boone, and co-writer Knate Lee, projects the five mutants’ origin stories as recurring nightmares that happen inside the hospital — nightmares that, like Freddy Krueger, can become real.
Somewhere in between the horror and superhero genre, “The New Mutants” isn’t as scary as it could be, a fact that could be explained by the need to maintain a PG-13 rating.
Even more tragically, the over-the-top CGI seen throughout the movie leaves many scenes distracting and forgettable.
It’s no masterpiece, but the franchise has definitely mutated a little — perhaps too late as “The New Mutants” is supposedly the last entry in the long-winded “X-Men” franchise.
This would be a movie best watched once it makes its way to Disney+ — if it makes it that far.
Sean Schaper is the Collegian assistant news editor. He is a junior in journalism and mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.