The New Mutants

Twenty years after the first ‘X-Men’ movie burst onto screens, comes the last instalment in the franchise ‘The New Mutants’. Based on a popular Marvel comic beginning in the early 1980’s, ‘The New Mutants’ gained its own followers as it successfully charted its unique course in the series. The long delayed film version, while not great, gives it a good go in offering a coda in a film series reaching its temporary conclusion.

Five young mutants, including Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), are held captive in a secret facility. Although mentored by the facility’s Doctor Reyes (Alice Braga), the group are desperate to flee. Fighting to escape past mistakes and forge new futures, the team learn to use their special abilities to become the heroes they were born to be.

Directed by Josh Boone, ‘The New Mutants’ is a darker and more personal entry in the ‘X-Men’ franchise. There’s less saving the world and more saving themselves as the group try to overcome their fears. It’s like a teenage-angst story with the young mutant’s developing powers reflecting their growing maturity. This makes for an interesting instalment, free of the overblown excess of other films.

The cast do a fair job with their sketchily written characters. Williams succeeds the best with Wolfsbane exactly as seen from the comics. The mix of horror, drama and action is competently handled without being amazing. The excitement levels come in occasional spurts with the low key atmosphere and small ensemble working despite this lack of consistent incident.

‘The New Mutants’ is decent which is about the highest compliment one could give. It’s engaging without being too boring. As the grand finale to the 20th Century Fox ‘X-Men’ series, it may surprise fans expecting a huge blow-out. It provides a way forward for the new film owners, Disney, to create their own mutant-led tales with what comes next full of intriguing possibilities.

Rating out of 10: 6


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