With the release of The New Mutants the X-men movies under the 20th Century Fox banner come to an end. After 20 years The New Mutants is the final movie in a series that started with 2000’s X-men. That movie is billed as the movie that kick-started the golden age of comic book movies. Sure, Blade was first Marvel movie to be a box-office smash two years prior, but X-Men was the first big budget blockbuster starring some of Marvel’s most recognizable names.
It has been a wobbly ride all these years, with the quality of the movies varying wildly with each installment. For every X2 there is an X-Men: The Last Stand. For every X-men Origins: Wolverine there is a Logan. And for every Deadpool there is a New Mutants.
The story behind The New Mutants is probably more interesting than the movie itself. It was shot at the same time as Deadpool 2 and X-men: Dark Phoenix. Movies that were released back in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The release date of The New Mutants was pushed back several times. Many of us were wondering if it was ever coming out. When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox there were numerous rumors about the movie going straight to Disney+. But this year it finally came to the big screen in the midst of a pandemic where it of course underperformed. It’s hard to turn out big numbers when the majority of movie theaters are closed.
Since it’s a custom to don’t speak ill of the dead I would like to start off on a positive note about this movie. It’s vastly different from the rest of the X-Men movies or most superhero movies even. 20th Century Fox was never afraid to experiment with their Marvel properties, sometimes even releasing movies with an R-Rating. This approach paid off on multiple occasions, but sadly not always. They brought us great movies Disney was and is never going to be able to give us. Sadly The New Mutants isn’t one of them.
The New Mutants is a rather small scale movie considering it’s a movie about a group of mutants like the X-men. Almost all of the movie takes place at a medical institution where young mutant Dani Moonstar is being treated after an unseen force has destroyed her home town and killed her dad. Here she comes in contact with a group of other teenage mutants who are discovering their powers and learning to control them under the supervision of Dr. Reyes. But all is not what it seems at this institution as the students are being plagued by visions and nightmares. Basically, it’s A Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Breakfast Club.
In Deadpool the relatively low budget of the movie was mocked by having the titular character comment on the small size of the cast and the fact that there are only two X-men around in a large mansion. Because The New Mutants is a deadly serious teenage horror take on the Comic Book movie genre it doesn’t have the luxury of making the same comment. But much like Deadpool, The New Mutants also lacks a large amount of characters occupying a facility that is at least as big as the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. The difference being that in The Shining the hotel being nearly empty was actually part of the plot.
But it’s not just the teens, there is also just one doctor on staff and she’s there day and night. Not at one moment does the movie actually convince me that this is a real medical facility. The rest of the movie is mediocre at best, only saved by some decent acting of the talented cast of which you should recognize a couple of faces if you’re an avid watcher of shows like Game Of Thrones or Stranger Things.
It’s not too hard to guess what is causing these nightmares or the revelation of what this facility actually is. Since when have medical institutions in horror movies ever been just that?
With a run-time of only 90 minutes The New Mutants is probably one of the shortest superhero movies ever made. Most of them tend to clock in at about two hours minium. But with 90 minutes this genre movie still manages to drag somewhat. Especially when you’re aware of what is going on and the movie still is pretending you will not guess it for another 10-15 minutes.
The New Mutants is the final nail in the coffin of the X-Men series, with Deadpool being the last character standing. It’s anybody’s guess how this foul-mouthed R-rated character will fit in with the family friendly Marvel Cinematic Universe at Disney, but for now the X-men franchise under 20th Century Fox has come to an end. Sadly it didn’t end on a high note.