Linda Cook review: Not much new about ‘New Mutants’

Movies

★★☆☆

A delayed entry into the Marvel universe, “The New Mutants” is a serviceable big-screen movie that will entertain audiences who must see everything Marvel.

Don’t go in expecting the caliber of previous franchise entries, though. It’s more like a weak young-adult film than it is a Marvel movie.

The movie was supposed to come in April 2018, and then it got pushed to February 2019 so it wouldn’t be a “Dark Phoenix” rival.

After Disney bought Fox, the movie was set to open in April 2020, but by then theaters had closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Josh Boone, who directed the far superior “The Fault in Our Stars” and co-wrote the screenplay with Knate Lee, keeps the action going and the film itself at a tidy running time, especially compared to some of the other Marvel pictures.

The central character is Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt from television’s “The Originals”), whom we see fleeing a catastrophe before she ends up in what appears to be a hospital. She’s among several teenage mutants who live there while they learn about how to handle their powers.

Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga, “The Shack”) seems to be the only person running things at the facility, although occasionally she mentions a facility run by her superiors – a place the young mutants will go after they “graduate.”

One by one, we learn about the mutants’ powers, their fears and their jealousies. They are recognizable as various mutants known to Marvel fans by their other names, but those names are not used here.

The teens are angsty about their powers, about each other, and the havoc and death some have delivered. Except for the havoc and death, this is not unlike “The Breakfast Club.”

The most earnest moments are between Dani and Rahne (Maisie Williams from television’s “Game of Thrones”), whose friendship blossoms into romance.

The rest of this origins film won’t surprise anybody who has seen a young-adult movie or a Marvel movie.

It may introduce teen mutants, but it’s really nothing new.

2 out of 4 stars

Rated: PG-13 for foul language, violence and sexual situations.

Running time: One hour and 38 minutes.

Noteworthy: There is no extra scene at the end of the credits.

Linda Cook is a film critic and reporter, first at the Quad-City Times from 1985-2020 and now Local 4 News WHBF and OurQuadCities.com. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists and St. Mark Lutheran Church.

You can find a summary of and links to her past movie reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.

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