Final X-Men Film ‘The New Mutants’ Fails To Live Up to Previous Films

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Published September 29, 2020
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"The New Mutants," directed by Josh Boone, hit theaters on Aug. 28, 2020. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

After two decades of continuously releasing X-Men movies, it seems 20th Century Studios have officially reached their finish line.

Being the final Fox-made X-Men film since the production company was bought by Walt Disney Studios in 2017, “The New Mutants,” directed by Josh Boone, has gone through many delays to hit the big screen and is now one of the first films to hit theaters since their reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This film introduces a batch of new mutant characters from the classic X-Men comics, along with a new cast.

The film focuses on a young mutant named Danielle Moonstar, played by Blu Hunt, who is sent to an asylum for unstable individuals who can’t control their powers. But despite being told that the institution is meant to rehabilitate everyone, she finds out they have other goals in mind.

"The New Mutants" is the final installment of the "X-Men" series. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

“The New Mutants” is the final installment of the X-Men series.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The film ultimately succeeds in bringing in characters who were popular from previous X-Men comics such as Wolfsbane, played by Maisie Williams. She has an interesting relationship with Danielle, along with an intriguing backstory.

Magik, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, was an enjoyable character who was also one of the few to have a fascinating character arc. Starting off as a spiteful person, she soon becomes a likable hero.

The makeup and special effects for “The New Mutants” is definitely praiseworthy, particularly regarding the display of the characters’ superpowers. Sunspot, played by Henry Zaga, Magik, Wolfsbane and the main antagonist, Demon Bear, who was made up of pure computer-generated images (CGI), were characters who stood out the most.

As thrilling as this film is, there are many disappointing aspects to it as well.

To begin, there is hardly any context behind each character’s superpowers, such as for Magik, who has a strange combination of powers. This could have been because “The New Mutants” felt more like a short film and didn’t allow any extra time for character development.

The plot also feels rushed because it lacks additional context on what is going on within the asylum and what the main villain, Demon Bear, even is.

Several backstories are touched upon but are eventually brushed to the side which left me curious on the characters’ origins. Other characters such as Dr. Reyes, played by Alice Braga, also lack a proper story arc. She initially has a goal but is scraped away too early.

The film does not live up to the expectation set by its trailer. “The New Mutants” was originally meant to be a superhero-horror film, yet it seemingly neglected to include any sort of horror element.

It doesn’t feel like a proper ending for the X-Men series as it pays hardly any reference to classic characters such as Cyclops or Wolverine. That being said, however, it is better than some of the other films released from the series, such as “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Dark Phoenix.”

Now that Marvel’s parent company, Walt Disney, has acquired the X-Men films, we can hopefully look forward to seeing characters like Wolverine meet the Hulk or Captain America.

Overall, the X-Men franchise had a good run and while “The New Mutants” may have missed the mark in comparison to their other films, it does a decent job of allowing other mutant characters to share a chance in the spotlight.

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