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Welp, The Reviews of The New Mutants Are In …

Number four will not shock you

new mutants

After literal years of waiting, reshoots and changes, two studios, and a literal pandemic, The New Mutants is finally in theaters. Not many theaters, of course, because of that whole continuing global pandemic thing. But it’s out and the reviews are … well, just about as good as you might expect from a movie that was delayed several years before release.

As of this writing, superhero-horror mash-up boasts a truly horrifying 23% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, from critics with a slightly better 52% fresh rating from audiences. Not great! But what are the critics who were brave enough to see the movie saying?

Well, Amy Nicholson at The New York Times calls the film “all buildup and no bang” which feels appropriate for a movie that was filmed in 2017 and languished for years. It sounds like the movie is a mix of teen rebellion tropes, weird mutant stuff but none of it is compelling? “But the plot needs more pep,” Nicolson writes. “Most of the running time is allotted to the inpatients and their shame over powers that brought them under the good doctor’s thumb.”

New Mutants doesn’t sound terrible, but it doesn’t sound good either. Peter Debruge of Variety explains: “Re-shot, re-cut and somehow rescued from total obscurity, Boone’s movie isn’t half bad. Alas, it’s not half good either.” The teen mutants on Shutter Island plot seems novel (and appropriate given that it was filmed at the same location) but it might not work for a movie where the “mutants as societal outcasts) metaphor is made pretty literal. “Boone isn’t as clear about how to treat his characters’ so-called gifts. (That said, this is the first Marvel movie to depict an openly queer relationship, giving Dani a lesbian love interest.)”

I am somewhat disappointed that our first explicitly queer love story in a major super-hero film is coming along in a film that’s going to to get buried after years of delay and has screwed up in many other ways. ” What was intended to establish the foundation for a possible standalone trilogy plays like an elaborate pilot for a series you’d never watch, and while the production values are slick, the performances and set-pieces have the awkwardness of cable TV,” Debruge writes.

He’s far kinder than Forbes, which was out of the gate with a scathing review that Maisie Williams herself joked about on Twitter.

Forbes’s Scott Mendelson starts things out with a totally reasonable and not at all over-dramatic critique of where this film stands in relation to the overall X-Men Franchise: “Fox (and now Disney’s) groundbreaking (if inconsistent) X-Men franchise deserved a better send-off than this nothing-burger of a movie.” He goes on to explain:

It’s a monotonous, redundant and irrelevant fantasy flick that fails to commit to being a teen melodrama, a YA fantasy or a horror movie, instead offering half-assed components of all three. Despite a strong cast, the all-too-rare presence of an LGBTQIA romance between two lead characters and a few moments of visual inventiveness, Josh Boone and Knate Lee’s The New Mutants boils down to being, yes, a terrible feature-length prequel for a sequel that absolutely no one will ever want to see.


Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter has a similar take:

Generic and, at its best, straining to be heartfelt, director Josh Boone’s adaptation of the Marvel spinoff comic series is a Marvel movie spinoff in its own right, making vague references to the X-Men franchise but attempting to stand on its own. Unfortunately, it rarely does, even if the film’s trio of young and tough female leads manages to give your typically male-dominated genre something of a feminine twist.

So, overall it doesn’t quite sound like this is the movie that’s going to get anyone rushing back to theaters; nor should it be given that seeing movies in theaters just doesn’t seem very safe at all right now. But I do personally plan to check it out when it’s available to rent or stream. As much of a trainwreck it sounds like in many ways, I am curious to see how Josh Boone mixed horror and superheroes and I want to see a lesbian story in an X-Men adjacent movie for sure.

Have you seen The New Mutants, Suvians? What did you think and if not, will you see it this weekend?

(image: Fox/Disney)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.