“The New Mutants” falls into the clutches of cliche

Illustration courtesy of Casper Jay Savoie.
“The New Mutants” is 20th Century Studios’ so-so attempt at a genre-bending superhero-horror flick. It centers around 16-year-old Dani Moonstar, the sole survivor of a mysterious presence’s attack on her reservation. Dani wakes up and discovers she is a mutant living in a secluded mental hospital with Dr. Reyes and four other teenage mutants who don’t know how to control their powers.  

New mutants are considered dangerous and must be kept away to learn how to control their abilities. However, all is not what it seems, and soon everyone becomes haunted by their worst fears. 

The film is based on a comic book of the same name, written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz. This movie specifically is from the demon bear saga that debuted in the early 1980s. 

The main problem with this film is the poorly written script, which resulted in a lack of character development. Also, you really had to see 20th Century Studios’ other X-Men film, “Logan,” to understand the antagonist. Of course, some moments were better than others, but overall it wasn’t an exceptional superhero film.

Some lines in the film were particularly cheesy. I kept asking myself why they would say that, and it hurt character development. I left the theater wanting to know more about these characters.  

They tried to bring in the element of horror with each character’s nightmares, but it lacked any true terror. The only real horror they used were darker themes and undertones of child molestation and murder. 

I was excited to see this movie because of the cast. The three most recognizable faces in this movie are Maise Williams, known for her role as Arya Stark in “Game of Thrones,” Anya Taylor-Joy, known for “The Witch” and “Split,” and Charlie Heaton, who played Jonathan Byers in “Stranger Things”.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance as Illyana Rasputin, known in the X-Men comics as Magik, was the standout. She takes the mean girl attitude to a whole different level.

“The New Mutants” introduced me to angsty teen characters that I wish were a little more dimensional. Each character represented a common cliquey label. You had the mean girl, the rich kid, the girl next door, the religious one, and the southern hillbilly with a horrible Kentucky accent. 

Naturally, the dysfunctional-teenagers-from-different-social-circles cliche reminiscent of “The Breakfast Club” ended the same way it always does: they team up and become best friends. There’s even a dance montage.

One of the true diamonds in the rough of this movie is the special effects. They were visually stunning and realistic. It stood up there with the likes of blockbuster Marvel movies.

The film overall just felt unexciting and lacked that element of scariness I was eager to see in a superhero movie. My only true excitement was watching the same-sex relationship between Maisie Williams and Blu Hunt blossom. 

The potential for a great superhero movie was there, but it just was not executed to the standard of past great superhero films. There is always the chance Marvel will get the rights to remake or reboot it. I recommend waiting for “The New Mutants” to release on DVD or video on demand instead of going to the theaters.

About Author

Jordan Jones was hired as the Culture reporter for the Mesa Legend in January of 2020. She is in her second semester at MCC, and she plans to transfer to ASU and get an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Film Study and Art History. With her degrees and passion for cinema, Jordan intends to become a film archivist.

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