The New Mutants Review – The Horror Breakfast Club Of X-Men

Five young mutants are discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will. They will fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

This is a spin-off of the X-Men film universe and the very final instalment in the franchise. It was filmed in 2017 but was pushed back due to planned reshoots, however after the 20th Century Fox/Disney merger the reshoots were cancelled. There were even rumours that the film would only get a VOD release before finally getting a cinema release date of March 2020. The new release date was then pushed back again due to Covid-19 and the film was finally released in August 2020, just as cinemas started to show new releases.

With the odds against it, I’m happy to say I really enjoyed this film. I love that the later X-Men films have been mixing with different genres (First Class – spy thriller, Days Of Future Past – time-travel, Logan – western, Dark Phoenix – psychological thriller) and this film tackles the horror genre. This is smaller scale than the rest, set primarily in the facility, which offers a creepy and claustrophobic environment.

Our mutant members include Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt), a Native American who isn't sure about her powers; Rahne (Maisie Williams) a Scottish werewolf who’s deeply religious; Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy) a Russian sorceress who can form a sword and teleport via portals; Sam (Charlie Heaton) an American who can propel into the air and Bobby (Henry Zaga) a Brazilian who can manipulate solar energy. Each character stands on their own and gets their moments to shine, each with disturbing backstories that come into play for the scarier moments of the film.

Dani and Rahne have a very sweet relationship, which would please the LGBTQ+ community, as I believe it’s a first to have a lesbian relationship take centre-stage in a superhero film. Their relationship is well developed in a very natural and non-stereotypical way. Blu Hunt and Maisie Williams have excellent chemistry, their characters are very relatable and likeable, which makes you route for them.

Anya Taylor-Joy steals the show as Illyana, she's got a real bitchy attitude and presses every character’s buttons anyway she can. She’s also crazy with her sock puppet purple dragon and Russian accent, which at times reminds me of Helena from Orphan Black. She also has the coolest power and the best action out of the bunch.

The film takes inspiration from films like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Alice Braga’s Dr Reyes does have vibes of Nurse Ratched. There’s also The Breakfast Club and Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors influence, and even a little bit of The Shining. There are some references to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which I’m sure die-hard fans will more than appreciate.

This was initially intended to be a starter for a trilogy which will no longer happen, which is unfortunate as I would’ve liked to have spent more time with these characters. There was certainly potential to explore them further and maybe a possible crossover with X-Men characters, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The connection to the rest of the films is loose due to not featuring any previous characters, however the facility is connected to one featured in another X-film.

This is not the strongest entry in the X-Men universe by any means but is a worthy addition. It may be an odd way to end the franchise, but honestly there was never going to be a better ending than Days Of Future Past or Logan have already offered. But I still enjoyed this one for what it is, a small-scale superhero flick with horror elements and a relatable cast of characters.

Written by Jack Parish

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