The New Mutants

After dealing with endless reshoots and delays, Marvel’s most horrifying X-Men are finally delivered out of development hell and the result makes you wish they had stayed there.

This latest chapter in the X-Men universe begins with a Native American teen named Dani (Blu Hunt), a mutant with the ability to tap into people’s fears. She’s sent to an institution for Mutants which is headed by a doctor (Alice Braga).

The doc introduces her to four other Mutants with their own unique powers: Maisie Williams plays a girl who can turn into a werewolf (Sorry. Hugh Jackman does not show up in a cameo as a relative). Anya Taylor-Joy plays a Russian girl with teleportation powers who has immediate animosity towards the newcomer. Charlie Heaton plays a boy who is impenetrable to harm while in the air and Henry Zaga is a Mutant from Brazil that can manipulate solar energy.

They refuse to cooperate with each other due to their differences, but the doc insists that they put that aside if they want to break free. I know what you’re thinking: They’re Mutants. Why not just pool together their abilities and break free? Well, that would work, but as an old standby in these movies, the institution is loaded with trap after trap to keep the kids there.

Even at a brisk runtime of 94 minutes, the story is dull and there is no real sense of jeopardy because we can see plot developments coming from a mile away. The characters are mostly unoriginal and one-note, except for Taylor-Joy who tries to brighten things up with a heavy dose of hammy acting. The cinematography is murky and the tone is generally uneven.

The X-Men franchise has had an up and down road, but between this and Dark Phoenix, it makes us wish the filmmakers had devoted more time to crafting a good script, developing their characters more, and creating special effects that don’t have a “been there, done that” feel.

It’s been said that mutation in the X-Men is the key to their evolution. Well, this entry takes things leaps and bounds backwards.

Grade: C-

(Rated PG-13 for violent content, some disturbing/bloody images, some strong language, thematic elements and suggestive material.)

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