by Tyler Gibson
What once seemed doomed to rot in purgatory is now finally being released wide into theaters. Return to theaters with a movie that’s ironically indistinguishable from any weekly CW superhero show! While leaving the house for entertainment purposes is a personal decision, it’s difficult to recommend risking it all for a forgettable studio product with shoddy production values that don’t justify the theatrical experience.
Re-configuring the genre to a single location is an intriguing change of pace, but there’s no vision on display to realize. Director Josh Boone does not shy away from showing off his influences such as “The Breakfast Club” or “Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Warriors”, however nothing in his storytelling stands on its own. The dialogue lacks personality, plot points being hopelessly rattled off by a young group of actors without much passion. Their characters and their super powers rarely contrasting off each other to create compelling drama. One turns into fire and the other…? Well, it’s impossible to recall exactly what Charlie Heaton’s character actually is capable of.
This is a far cry from Boone’s sensitive and tender work on “The Fault in Our Stars”. Superhero movies rule the mainstream because they offer engaging characters and bombastic action. “New Mutants” fails to deliver in both aspects. Twin Peaks DP Peter Deming wastes his talents on underwhelming horror jump scenes cloaked in darkness and rhythm-less editing. Other than an exciting Replacements needle-drop, the soundtrack is anonymous when it should be propelling the thrills forward.
The film’s bright side is a sweet and convincing love story between Maisie Williams and Blu Hunt, but the brisk 90 minute runtime and incompetent character development does it no favors and undermines instead of blossoming. After 20 years, Fox’s “X-Men” franchise has experienced many ups and downs, but this is the series at it’s most expendable. The behind the scenes production nightmares and the threat of contracting COVID are far scarier than whatever “New Mutants” attempts.