Film Review: The New Mutants (2020)

Inside every person, there are two bears, forever locked in combat for your soul. One bear is all things good. The other is all things evil. 

The New Mutant finally is on Disney+. A film about mutants in Marvel Comics that has a horror element in it. Just think about Deadpool, replace the comedy with horror, then keep it PG. 

What is this film anyway?

Danielle ‘Dani’ Moonstar (Image: Disney/Fox)

It started with some kind of big storm around Dani’s neighbourhood. She and her father went to a safer place. In the middle of the chaos, her father was insisting on helping others. Sadly before that ever happened, he got killed by a brutal bear. 

It was like a dream, Dani woke up in some kind of facility. But the truth is the incident was real as dr. Reyes-the facility lead told her the incident.

The Facility

Surveillance is everywhere, not just for mere videos. They monitored all things including heart rate, body temperature and even threat level. Also there was an autoscan occurred every night, then reported the analysis to dr. Reyes. Most likely it was sent back and forth from her employer’s HQ.

The facility (Image: Disney/Fox)

There was no information about where the facility was located. The facility itself was not guarded whatsoever. Only fully locked from the inside with thick steel doors when dr. Reyes said so. You know, the type of military grade locking mechanism. But actually the facility was protected by a dome shaped energy field around. Or was it the world that was protected from the facility?

In this place, our patients were treated, so they could control their powers. One of the highlighted treatments (or the only one) was a group therapy session. The therapy was led by dr. Reyes. From what I can see, this was supposed to handle their trauma but in a sinister atmosphere. Remember this is a film with horror-tone? 

Characters’ Stories

For a 90-minute film, we are presented with characters who have a clear background story if not deep one. Sam the Cannonball had a claustrophobia that made him create an incident back when working in a mine. Rahne the Wolfsbane feared prosecution as a witch by the church. Dani feared for a (demon) bear. Berto the Sunspot traumatised after burning a girl he liked. And our beloved Illy seemed abused as a child. 

Intense group meeting (Image: Disney/Fox)

Like any other stories from mutant films/series, there are always families that want to ‘cure’ their children like Berto’s family was doing. Treating this is like some kind of a disease. 

There were also mistreatments like Rahne was experiencing. She was treated as a witch. Leaving her with a wound both physically and mentally. Think about prosecution to witches in the early modern period in Europe and North America.

Connection With The X-Men Franchise

This is just my two cents, not a deep analysis of the connection with the (now dead) X-Men franchise. The New Mutants fits before Logan (2017). As the director-Josh Boone said that the film is in the original timeline, before Wolverine travelled back through time in the X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). The facility itself is like what we had seen in Logan (2017)-educating mutants to be weapons. Courtesy of Essex Corp.

What’s Fox’s Problem?

Vuk and Jean Grey in X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Image: Disney/Fox)

Sadly the so-called horror-tone film is not as scary as I expected to be. Other than that, as a whole film, The New Mutants felt somehow like there is something missing. This is what I always see everytime Fox delays / or does some reshoots. The same thing also happened with X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). It seems the filmmakers already knew what they wanted to achieve, but the studios (before acquisitioned by Disney) made the last call to fine tune the films.

Let’s Wrap It Up

In the end, The New Mutants gives us bitter-sweet parting with the X-Men franchise. The horror atmosphere promised within a year and months of trailers, marketing materials and etc. didn’t deliver well. What we see is just Fox’s mutants film with regular actions in it, then put in some scary stuff.

Now let’s hope for the best for Disney to treat them better. Whether The New Mutants itself or the X-Men franchise as a whole. I somehow hope Disney would make The New Mutants 2 with proper horror-tone. Let’s see what we can get from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) first.

Inside every person, there are two bears, forever locked in combat for your soul. One bear is all things good. The other is all things evil. Which one wins? The one you feed.

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