After being marred by scheduling and Covid-related delays, The New Mutants finally sees the light of day. Josh Boone’s origin story retains the superpowered body-morphing elements established in the X-Men series, but injects this film’s outcast teenagers with a large emotional cross to bear: isolated, and in the thralls of teenage angst.

Upon first glance The New Mutants‘ setting is a page from Marvel’s Avengers Academy comic book, a disciplinary-cum-hospital facility that masquerades as a prep stop before the Charles Xavier school for X-protégés. However, sinister forces are at play, as Dr Cecelia Reyes (Alice Braga), the warden, is working for the Essex Corporation who plan to hone mutant abilities for evil purposes. The introduction of Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt), a young Cheyenne, with her unbeknownst abilities has an unparalleled effect in aggravating the other mutants’ powers, wreaking havoc with the corporation’s plans.

An in-depth character study with an elaborated origin story, this feels fresh and edgy, further enhanced by its injection of horror, its sense of eeriness and sporadic jolts taking place within the confinement of a sanatorium. Yet its prolonged contained setting and a continuous rehashing of identical scenes causes the film to lose steam. As Dani’s powers become increasingly unruly, there is a gear change; the mutants’ powers come to the fore and scenes become infested with elaborate CGI, which jars with the film’s previously subdued tone.

An array of young acting talent populates the film, such as Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton, with Williams’ Rhane being a particular highlight. Her quirky, hirsute, Wolverine-esque character outshines them all, boosted further by the sweetest queer romance with Dani, praiseworthy in its relatability and naturality. For that alone The New Mutants is worth a watch.



CAST: Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga

DIRECTOR: Josh Boone

WRITERS: Josh Boone, Knate Lee

SYNOPSIS: The New Mutants is an American horror film in the superhero genre, the thirteenth and final instalment in the X-Men film series.