I finally got around to watching Fox’s last X-Men production yesterday and I wasn’t as disappointed as quite a lot of critics said I would be. Sure there were somethings that could have been better but I enjoyed a lot more than I disliked.
When we are introduced to the ‘New Mutants’ we see that the main character Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is being hunted down before waking up in a hospital.
Here she is informed of the New Mutants programme, designed to help those transitioning through their powers. It’s much like you’d imagine a mental hospital to come across, with an old aesthetic, a kind nurse and lots of cameras and suspicious security. Dani is thrown into group therapy, there’s good patients and bad ones and in this case, powers.
As Dani begins to explore why she is truly in the programme, with some help from Maisie Williams’ Rahne (Wolfsbane) and Anya Taylor-Joy’s bully character Illyana (Magik), she begins to realise not everything is as it seems.
The other patients also begin to realise that something has changed when they start to vividly visualise nightmares that weren’t there before. Pointing the finger at each other they realise it’s time for out.
You’ll probably think that, with this plot, there’s nothing new about it and you would be absolutely correct. In my opinion it is a fairly safe plot to use just with added mutants.
There’s more good than bad, so it’s a good place to start. To begin with the characters are interesting. Whenever we are introduced to new Mutants (especially the ones we don’t traditionally know) it’s always fun finding out their story. In this case as they are in a hospital there’s even more to it.
With how the plot is worked each character has some really good set pieces. We are introduced to them by way of what really drove them to use their powers and find themselves needing help.
This is where the horror element we heard about years ago comes from. This horror part is both good and bad. It works as a really good angle to tell the story from. Some of the scenes do have a genuine tension to them. The setting is dark, the characters are alone and it’s all a bit weird as we don’t really know their powers or what’s going on.
Thing is, it’s a comic book movie about people with powers, so how scared can we get for the characters fate?
When the characters do use their powers they have been well done. The CGI is good and they feel almost down to earth, with maybe the exception of Illyana. We’re not bombarded with this constant display of CGI.
Illyana’s Magik does steal the show when we talk about powers. She’s the most ‘badass’ with her powers and would probably make a good protagonist in like a Deadpool kind of way. She has the ability to teleport, a dragon and a magic sword she wields in an armoured arm.
Her ‘hate everything’ grungy attitude means it feels cool when she launches into using them.
The film also has some serious issues such as racism and sexuality. The sexuality is a first for the comic book world in this sense. It’s something that maybe deserved more recognition for the way it’s so normally dealt with in the film. There’s no big moment or bells and whistles its just normal as it should be.
So where does this film get it wrong? It’s the same problem I think a lot of the X-Men films have and that’s bringing it all together.
As I have said the characters are interesting enough and when we’re exploring their stories it’s really good cinema, New Mutants fails to bring it all together cohesively. The same can be said for Apocalypse and Phoenix.
New Mutants looks to be the product of what started of with a lot of passion that has been drained by studio interference, delays and Disney’s merge.
There’s some really lazy script writing, it’s relatively short and is missing something. That bit of flair or charisma that you would normally get from group movies. You get the feeling that this film was clearly to far along to cancel but not close enough to carry on supporting.
I hope this project gets picked up again in the future. I’m probably biased towards X-Men films for some reason as I normally love them. The idea is really cool and some of this film is very strong.
They needed to show conviction in making a horror or an action film. They needed a better script to really draw out these characters relationships with themselves, each other and the world around them.
There isn’t really a villain, which is okay but we needed more of a direction to the film. It shifts a couple of times towards the end.
Having actors that represent the characters better would be an improvement. Half of them had fake accents and I’m not sure why as their heritage was never a major factor in their stories.
It’s well worth a watch and if Illyana had a spin-off somewhere I’d be happy to see more of her character.