Depending on who you ask The New Mutants is either the punching bag or sympathy case of the superhero film world since that initial trailer dropped on Friday October 13th 2017.Initially envisioned as a more horror focused spin off within the Fox X Men continuity its three year journey from that first teaser to the big screen involved reshoots that a never happened, getting caught up in corporate mergers, being kicked around the release schedules as if by several top football players and finally being sent out to die as the result of a contract mandating it a theatrical exclusive during a global pandemic. As with the previous (and penultimate)film in this universe Dark Phoenix it was essentially redundant before viewers or critics had even seen the thing with the knowledge that some new iteration of the X Men will be introduced into Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe eventually . It could be argued the only value the film has is for completeness and critics. After close to three years sat on the shelf what does a product that several viewers assumed was never coming out actually looked like
In its finally released form, it is worth giving The New Mutants a little bit of credit. The final cat possesses some vision of what the film was trying to be on a conceptual level. This is not something that can be said for a good number of the Fox superhero efforts. This is even true for some of the better entries (looking at you Deadpool 2.) Granted sad vision is not particularly good. A bland mix of teen horror clichés with occasional mutant relates powers tossed in for good measure. The hottest young actors of 2017 try their best with the material they are given but cannot bring anything of interest to the rather dull proceedings. The most interesting thing from a performance perspective may be the smorgasbord of attempted accents with Maisie Williams delivering an offering that visits every corner of the UK and Anya Taylor Joys Russian effort bordering on parody. Visually the film is one of the blandest studio offerings in recent memory with a lot of the action taking place in budget saving grey hallways reminiscent of Agents of Shield season 5. The difference between these two is that Shield has great character writing to make up for the clearly slashed budget. This film offers bursts of mutant action and generic teen horror. It’s clear this was meant to be the start of a sub franchise within the original continuity and having seen it a large reason for its delay was possibly that Disney did not want to invest money for the reshoots but weren’t sure what to do with a final product that was clearly meant as purely an introduction to the new cast. Its hits a very awkward note.
Some viewers will brand The New Mutants as every bit the disaster audiences will have been expecting. It is not. That does not mean to say It is anything above mediocre. The brand of dull teen horror clichés it peddles would have been stale if it had met the initial 2018 release date That said if the film was released in something like its original form it at least has a sense of creative vision in what it’s aiming for rather than studio micro management as is the case with a lot of output in this genre from this studio. It only really has value for completeness and to those that have followed the films production history and want to see what the final product looks like.