A lot of slack should be given to The New Mutants.
While a film’s release date getting pushed back would most likely be due to the film being overall bad, this film has its released date pushed back for a number reasons.
Originally meant to be released in 2018, producers wanted it pushed back so it did not conflict with film Deadpool 2. It was pushed back again so it would not be coinciding with X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019).This was also around the time that Disney purchased the rights of the X-Men from Fox, pushing it back again to March of 2020. Once COVID hit, the film was pushed back again.
It has taken the film so long to make it to the big screen (which it was under contract to do) that, in the end credits, you can even see the late great Stan Lee as an executive producer. In short, it is almost a for sure thing that a sequel will not be happening.
I saw all this because it is a big shadow that The New Mutants will have to live under, which is a bit of a shame since it is not as bad as you might think, certaintly when compared to more recent X-Men films like Apocalypse (2016) and the aforementioned Dark Phoenix (which I did not see, but have heard more than enough about).
The movie tells the story of five young mutants who, in the mist of discovering their powers (as all mutants do around their teen years), are quarantined (which seems to be the most proper word to use) in a giant mansion with Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga). Reyes is tasked with helping each mutant cope with their abilities before they can be released back into society.
The newest of the mutants is Danielle (“Dani”) Moonstar (Blu Hunt), after being the only survivor of a tornado (or so she is told) on her Indian Reservation. Eventually, she meets the southerner Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton of Stranger Things), the muscular Roberto da Costa (Henry Zaga), and the deceptive Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy). Her most personal relationship is with the final mutant, the Scottish Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones). I will leave it to you to discover what each of their powers are (the movie would explain better than I could anyway).
Director Josh Boone (The Fault in our Stars) should deserve some credit for trying something relatively new: a horror movie with superheroes (not to mention some touches of The Breakfast Club). The horror mainly comes from each of the mutants’ past events, each of which must be overcome for them to move on as characters. This is rather cliché in cinema, but when was the last time it was done in a horror film with unstable superhero teenagers? The only one that may come close was the overrated Chronicle (2012).
If you think of it, there is one positive to the movie being released two years later. Remember how I mentioned the characters being quarentined? It seems obvious that the characters would indeed grow impatient with cabin fever, wanting to get out (though they are allowed outside). Perhaps the scariest part of the film is how the characters portray some of our feelings during the COVID pandemic.
Parents, it should be noted that the film has a rather hard PG-13 rating, with more than just scary moments for kids. There is some swearing (no occurences of the F bomb that I can recall), as well as violence. There is some kissing, including between two female characters. The most nudity is in the female shower, but we only see their backs. Mature teenagers and up should be okay.
The movie is indeed far from perfect: some of the mutants’ powers leave me with questions (one of them has what may be, potentially, the greatest superpower one could have). While it does not dive as deep as some would hope into the elements of fear, past sins, and moving on, it does at least rely more on that then special effects (which are passable). Most of the actors are well cast, particularly Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy (who I have been a fan of since 2016’s The Witch).
While a sequel is all but certain to never happen, The New Mutants still is a movie with characters I would have been okay with seeing more of.