(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The New Mutants)
Doug (vo): Well...that was unfortunate. New Mutants is the attempt to be, I guess, a new kind of X-Men spin-off, except it's not really an action series anymore, it's a...horror series, and they just kind of stay in this hospital, and the biggest-name mutant is Illyana...like, Colossus's sister, Illyana? Oh, man, I did not have high hopes for this, and after seeing all the critical reviews that came out and it being a box office failure...I mean, yeah, it was during COVID and everything...but, the development purgatory/development hell it's been in, being pushed back and rewritten and changed and then just kind of shoved out and saying, "Please enjoy, please" question mark. With all of that, the biggest tragedy is, it almost works. I mean, hear me out. It doesn't, it does not come through at the end, and even in the first half, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't make sense, but I will admit, I was buying this idea more than I thought I would at the beginning.
Story[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): A young mutant named Dani loses her father and everyone she knows in a supposed tornado...a tornado that growls, but we'll get to that in a bit. Suspected she might have something to do with this occurrence, she's put in this mental ward...with only one doctor and a few other patients. Yeah, nobody questions something else might be going on here. These other mutants, naturally, have very tragic backstories and very unique powers, and they learn from each other what they are, and...wow. Is that it? Did I actually sum it up that fast? Huh. I guess I did.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): And to the casual listener, you might think, "God, that sounds unbelievably boring. I mean, that's it? It's just a bunch of young mutants in a mental ward talking to each other?" Well, if you're looking for an X-Men movie, sure. And, yeah, they do have little name drops here and there, and some footage from Logan, which is like, what? I'm still not sure how that connected. There are some kind of supernatural things going on in the hospital that they think might be demons, which...you live in a world with mutant powers. Hello, you know they're not gonna be demons.
(Footage focusing on the main characters' interactions with each other and with their doctor is shown)
Doug (vo): What I'm getting at is, when it is just the mutants and this one doctor, it's kind of like a twisted Breakfast Club, and I mean that in the best way. All the characters in this are surprisingly memorable, and maybe that's because there's not a ton of other mutants or a ton of other missions they gotta go on or anything. It's just them talking about their past and how they feel about stuff and, yeah, what could be going on in this metal ward, which, okay, is a little obvious, but I kind of like these stories where there's a looming threat over you, and you're not entirely sure what it is, and it slowly reveals itself in bits and pieces. In movies that star angsty teenagers, I usually have to struggle to remember them or which one had what personality, sometimes, they even look alike. I really don't have the best memory with them. But I think because the casting, the performances, and the direction was so good, I had no trouble remembering who does what, what their backstories are, how they feel about the other characters, and surprisingly have good chemistry. I guess that makes sense. A lot of these actors have been in material that demands really good performances, like Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Queen's Gambit. And I kind of respected they didn't have to go from place to place to fight evil. I mean, yeah, I know that's what I'm looking for in an X-Men movie, but this is something a little different, and if you're gonna win me over with something that's really different, win me over with it, go all the way in, and for the most part, it does for a while. Sure, sometimes, it's a little choppy and there are plot holes that don't add up, but if you stopped the movie halfway through and asked me if I wanted to finish it, I would say, "Yes." I wanted to know what was gonna happen to these characters.
(Footage focusing on the film's horror and action sequences are shown)
Doug (vo; sighing): But sadly, the movie does continue, and there has to be some payoff to what the supernatural stuff happening around them is. I...don't think I'm spoiling anything when I mention mutant powers have something to do with it, I think that's one of the reasons this can't really work as a horror series, you just know what the threat is. But the other thing is, when it actually tries to be a horror movie, it's hilarious. And, no, it's not intending to be. Look at this scene where they're building up that something is outside Illyana's door.
(That scene is shown. While in her cabin, Illyana hears something outside and opens the door to check it out. Outside, a drawing of a smiling person is on the wall)
Doug (vo; laughing): What? And then, to make it goofier, she makes her little puppet talk.
(Illyana brings out her bird puppet, and makes it speak as she says her line)
Illyana: It's her.
Doug (vo): That was meant to be scary, guys.
(Another scene is shown, involving Roberto being confronted by a mutant who's on fire, which is actually the burning manifestation of his girlfriend)
Doug (vo): Look at this scene where this guy sees this girl on fire. It looks kind of cool, but it's not really scary. This eventually causes him to use his mutant power, lighting himself on fire, and look how they respond to it.
(Just as Roberto sets himself on fire, the doctor, Alice, comes in and uses a broom to push Roberto into a swimming pool)
Doug (vo; laughing): Oh, my God! It's so funny! Oh, but that's nothing. You know what the big threat is they have to fight at the end? A giant, supernatural, red-eye-glowing...bear.
(The film's secondary antagonist, the Demon Bear, is shown in several clips)
Doug (vo): I am dead serious. This is supposed to be the threat that everybody is afraid of. I just...did they see Annihilation and were like, "Well, that bear was scary. Maybe we can do something like that."? And then it doesn't help that they have to use their mutant powers to defeat it, and it kind of goes back to being a generic comic book movie. But most of the film was not a generic comic book movie, it was like this psychological thriller, and you found out about these people, and there's almost no action in it at all. It...suddenly, there's flips and kicks and beams...I mean, come on, man! Clearly, these don't go! Had the film possessed a sense of humor like the It movies did, you know, like, yeah, sometimes they're scary, sometimes they're not, but even if they're not, it's kind of funny, maybe this could've worked. But you can tell that's not what they're going for. Though, to be honest, it is hard to know what they're going for. Is this supposed to be a horror film or a character study or an action flick or a tie-in to X-Men or just it's own thing? It just doesn't feel like it exists in the same universe. But I can't ignore that first half, where I really like listening to these people. It reminds me a lot of the second Avengers movie. Remember that one scene where they're at the party and they're just kind of talking, and then the action happens, and they have to stop Ultron, and that stuff was, eh, okay? But I kind of just wanted to watch them at the party the whole time, like that would be entertaining enough. The first half of this movie is kind of like that. I like listening to these people, I like hearing what their issues are, and I like seeing how they interact off of one another. Unlike Avengers 2, it isn't just one short scene, it's half the movie. But also, unlike Avengers 2, instead of the action being at least fun, it's...giant bear. Just...giant bear. (Laughs) Come on, say that without laughing.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So, okay, do I recommend this movie? I guess it depends on what you're going to tolerate. I'll admit, I don't regret seeing it. I do really like these actors, and I like seeing them talk. I know that sounds strange, but just seeing them talk is actually very entertaining for me. I mean, they're just really good at it. I also kind of like the buildup of what's going on, I think the scariest scene is just looking at this computer screen saying what's happening, and what's to be done about it and who's to be terminated. There's something really eerie about that. But when it has to be a comic book movie or a horror film or whatever, it's not very good. If you're one of those glass-half-full people that says, "Yeah, I would like to see half a movie that's pretty decent and interesting", I would say check this out. But if you're one of those people that says they want a good product from beginning to end, these mutants aren't gonna be that new for very long.
(The film's final scene, showing the main characters walking out of the facility and into a brand new day, is shown)