The 'X-Men' movies, much like my reviews, are very hit-or-miss (hey, I can own up to it). 'New Mutants', despite a damn near three year wait, is no exception. Yes, it was really that long. Just look at the post date on this 'New Mutants' teaser trailer. After all that, and all my looking forward to what could have been a really cool horror movie with superpowers, I'm sad to say that what we got was actually pretty underwhelming. I expected it to become a new favorite, but I'd generally lump it in with the 'X-Men' titles that are just "okay".
If you want me to rank all 12 of the previous, I'd probably say, from top to bottom: 'First Class', 'Deadpool', 'Logan', 'X-Men United', 'Deadpool 2, 'X-Men', 'Days of Future Past', 'The Wolverine', 'The Last Stand' 'Dark Phoenix', 'Apocalypse', 'Origins: Wolverine'. 'New Mutants', I'm gonna sandwich somewhere between 'Days of Future Past' and 'The Wolverine' - so just one down from right smack-dab in the middle of everything. I still really like the concept of what this could have been as opposed to what it ended up being, so it's a little bit of a let-down. What could have shown the side of kids who are terrified of their mutant ability turned into something... well, similar, but not quite what I'd hoped for.
We are introduced to Dani Moonstar, as her Native American village is being attacked by some force her father claims to be a tornado. She becomes the soul survivor of the incident, but after being knocked out by something unseen, she awakens in a horror movie set of a hospital, run by a Dr. Cecelia Reyes. Reyes requests that Dani stay at the hospital to keep her safe, so they can study her and figure out what her mutant abilities are. As it turns out, the facility is there to house new mutants (boom, title drop) who may be a danger to not only others, but themselves, and the idea is to gain control over what could be lethal abilities before being sent out into the world. I really like that concept, and it's even mentioned in the movie that sometimes most unfortunately, killing or hurting people is just a part of having these uncanny abilities. Chances are, as one is discovering one's Mutant ability, someone will get in harms way.
Within the hospital, she meets a handful of other mutants, and together they form the Mutant Breakfast Club. Sam Guthrie ("Cannonball" - Charlie Heaton) who can fly at jet speed, Roberto da Costa ("Sunspot" - Henry Zaga) with the ability to manipulate solar power, Illyana Rasputin ("Magik" - Anya Taylor-Joy) has inter-dimensional sorcery abilities, and Rahne Sinclair ("Wolfsbane" - Maisie Williams) who can plain and simply transform into a wolf, and has a keen interest in befriending the new girl. They learn together that they are all there for being associated with some sort of tragedy in their past, having something to do with their powers - but I won't say much more, as that's some of what adds to the horror aspect of the film - some of it, admittedly rather disturbing.
While the team, other than maybe Illyana, believe they are there to get their powers focused and under control so they can one day join the X-Men, but the big question the film dangles above your head is, are they? This is, after all, considered a kind of horror movie. Right away, one has a hard time imagining that it's gonna end happily, and I'll just get it out of the way, as soon as you see the set-up of everything, it's relatively obvious what the twist is gonna be. This causes the movie to lose some points. Hell, you can probably tell what's gonna happen just based on the trailers. However, I will give it some credit for having a very cool climax, and a whole other twist I didn't quite see coming. So there IS a balance, of sorts.
It covers some intriguing ground for an 'X-Men' movie, having less to do with being viewed as "different" in society, but more to do with how these powers have left a mental scar. It shows that not every power can be viewed as an "awesome gift", when indeed, it's more of a nightmare to manage it. Truth be told, I may manage to enjoy this a touch more than others who are actually fans of the comic series. I went to see it with one such friend, and sure enough, he did point out some flaws and changes that were made. I knew nothing about this 'X-Men' team going in, only that they existed, and even to me the movie was just okay. I might just recommend waiting for home release to check it out, if you're curious, because there's not a whole lot of it that begs to be seen on a big screen.