20th Century Fox’s “X-Men” series continues to run out of steam with “New Mutants”

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Courtesy of IMDb

Earl Alexander Givan, Staff Writer

“New Mutants,” the most recent film to release within 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men” series, has had a troublesome path to its release.

The film was originally announced in 2015 but did not begin filming until 2017. Although finished in time for the original April 2018 release date, the film was delayed for another two years, believed to be based on changes within the 20th Century Fox, and Disney merger, as well as not wanting to release within a similar time frame as other X-Men franchise offerings, like “Deadpool 2” and “Dark Phoenix.” It is important that this series of events is known because the history of this film’s journey to release ties directly to how poorly done and mismanaged “New Mutants” is.

The film centers around Blu Hunt’s character, Dani, a teenage girl that is troubled by strange occurrences that are sporadically happening to her and those around her. Her inability to control these events leads to her being placed into the care of a special psychiatric hospital with teenage mutants who cannot contain their abilities. Her arrival causes other patients to believe that things in the hospital are not what they seem, prompting the teens to seek a way to escape.

The plot does not lend an ear to originality. It is hard to not name a single movie that takes place in a prison or hospital-type setting where the protagonists are not trying to escape their treacherous caretakers. This would have been okay, as the idea of X-Men mutants being thrown into this somewhat predictable plot would have had the same effect of spice to a bland dish.

However, “New Mutants” fails to represent how this outing relates to the rest of the X-Men universe beyond the walls of the hospital, and, unfortunately, the one attempt that is made comes off as more of a cameo to an event in an earlier movie than a solid inspiration for our characters’ sudden need to escape. The plot also leaves multiple loose ends untied within its closing moments, leading to the film feeling unfinished and sloppily assembled.

In terms of theming and ambiance, the movie doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. The movie attempted to have some horror elements, but the scares are very low caliber. It is as if it was made from the perspective of someone who either doesn’t watch horror movies or didn’t truly want to scare their audience.

A similar faintness of identity can be seen in the dialogue. Each member of the cast is written like a two-dimensional stereotype of a certain classification of teenager. It wouldn’t be nearly as disappointing if we haven’t been used to seeing some of the casted actors personify teenagers perfectly in other films or movies. A solid example is Charlie Heaton, whose performance as Sam Gurthrite in the film comes nowhere close to his performances in seasons of the Netflix staple “Stranger Things.”

Overall, the film drastically underperforms in comparison to the other “X-Men” films that came before, and it is depressing that a film that was about five years in the making fell this far short of expectations. Taking into account the comparably disappointing entry that came before this, “Dark Phoenix,” 20th Century Fox seems to have emptied the gas tank of “X-Men,” and perhaps it’s time to bid the franchise goodbye.