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(film review) - The New Mutants

20th Century Fox had purchased the X-Men off of Marvel when Marvel was heading into bankruptcy and in a desperate attempt, to gain some money to stay afloat, Marvel sold a lot of their characters.  It meant that everything to do with X-Men and Mutants belonged to Fox.  They sold Spider-Man and his universe, Ghost Rider, Blade, Hulk, Namor, Daredevil and only kept a handful of heroes.  Fox also purchased The Fantastic 4, so Fox had both the world of the X-Men and Fantastic 4 to do what they will with.  The only stipulation like the others, keep making films and if there is a period of possibly 5 years (I could be wrong, might be 10 years - as it's from memory) where there is no production on a movie, then the rights will go back to Marvel.  We have seen this play out twice between movie studios.  One with The Fantastic 4 and another with The Spider-Man movies (Hence why we are on our 3rd Spidey).  Where Fantastic 4, seems to have NOW gone back to Marvel (although there has been no talk on it) and will likely be an announcement of a upcoming film by Marvel in the next few years, the X-Men franchise and their weird success over the years stayed with Fox until Disney bought Fox whilst they were making this movie.

Disney's purchase of Fox Studios meant that not only would Disney automatically acquire The fantastic 4 (if they didn't already have it by then), they would also acquire all the rights to the X-Men and the word Mutants.  What it meant for the movie though, was that the film had finished initial production and then went into a limbo state.  No reshoots, no release date, just nothing.  The film was meant to come out 2 years ago and it kept getting pushed and pushed and pushed back.  The end product is this and personally, while I don't think the film is terrible, reshoots or a more in-depth storyline would have been more beneficial and would have went a long way.  I'll explain.

Five teenagers coming into Mutant-hood have been sent to a facility where a doctor named Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga) is assigned to help them harness and control their powers when they first discover them, however when newcomer Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt) arrives, everyones greatest fears come to life and an entity called the Demon Bear arrives to feast off of their fear and kill them.  The New Mutants, Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy), Cannonball (Charlie Heaton) and Sunspot (Henry Zaga) along with Dani Moonstar must band together, confront their fears and defeat the Demon Bear.

So, as I've previously stated, the film isn't terrible.  However, where I think they tripped up, was trying to do a horror movie for kids.  Josh Boone was not ideal or he didn't push the boat out far enough.  Drag Me to Hell by Sam Rami is a PG-13 and successfully bridges that gap between horror and child-friendly (PG-13), where this movie, although has some scary-ish imagery, I didn't find it creepy, atmospheric, spooky or frightening at all.  That could well be due to my fresh-hold and Drag Me to Hell is a completely different movie, but this movie tries, but not successfully.  You are not allowed enough time with the characters or to get inside their heads to understand their personal problems, journey or their powers.  When I think of this movie, I think of Leonardo DiCaprio's Shutter Island, mixed with some kind of home invasion movie like Home Alone, but with a bunch of kids, The Goonies, but this movie only scratches the surface.  The story was decent but could have been more compelling and gripping.  The film was fairly choppy at the beginning and felt slightly rushed.  The connection between the Demon Bear and Danielle, although obvious, could have played out better.  It would have been nice if the movie was slower paced and more character driven with insane things happening in spats only to become a big deal later.  The film does that, but it just wasn't long enough, you are simply not engaged with the characters or feel for them other than the fact that they are a bunch of kids.  Even the final fight could have been longer and mo cohesive.

Not to bash the film, but I loved the acting between the characters although the LGBTQ+ moment felt forced.  The special effects were great especially something as ridiculous as a Demon Bear, looked amazing with smokey red eyes.  Magik and Sunspot looked great.  I loved the effects on the eyes.  The Magik scenes were also great.  The Wolfsbane design was ok and I loved the Cannonball look as well as Sunspot, but I wish I got more from the.  Even those things which were meant to be scary looked ok, but could have been a touch scarier but I liked the design of them.  

Since the acquisition, I know a lot of people were wondering if there was any reshoots or anything that could tie into the MCU.  Could this be a standalone movie they can incorporate into the MCU?  The answer is no.  This is likely a one and done and although established connections to the X-Men universe of years that have passed, this movie doesn't carry near enough the same weight as those films.  Possibly without the merger or at least with the reshoots, we may have had something better, but this film is more or less on the same scale as Apocalypse and the Phoenix one... Average at best, but had a lot of potential.


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