We really really wanna Zaga-zaga
Recently we wrote about the state of the global movie business during the pandemic and things are slowly getting back to normal. One such casualty was X-Men ‘spin off’ New Mutants which had already had a rockier road to the theatres than the rocky road at the Baskin Robbins concessions stand.
Back to the movies
How to place where the film sits in the Marvel canon is quite tricky as it was made way back 2017 when 20th Century Fox owned and produced all the X-Men films. Disney then bought the whole studios so suddenly the X-Men franchise went back to Marvel, who Disney also own. Confused yet? That was the problem. Creative differences, abandoned reshoots, missed release dates, it seemed like the film was already cursed.
There were rumours abound that Disney wanted to tone down the horror as well but we’re happy to say some of that remains intact. Then Covid hit and it lost its early summer release date again. Now the cinemas are open and along with Christopher Nolan’s latest epic Tenet, New Mutants finally has its day on the big screen. Was it worth the wait then? It’s a resounding ‘yes’ from this reviewer.
It certainly helps that the young cast is easy on the eye, especially a certain Henry Zaga who plays the literally very hot Sunspot. He’s the sexy bad boy with bulging biceps and scorching powers to match.
If only all mutants looked this good
You might recognise him from the short-lived Teen Wolf series where he provided much eye candy and unfortunately in one scene in New Mutants his clothes literally get burnt off… we weren’t complaining. Zaga in an actor clearly on the up and we can next see him on our screens this winter in the new 10 part adaptation of Steven King’s The Stand (which also stars James Marsden and Whoopi Goldberg).
Schools out for summer
The premise here is that these kids are all quarantined in a mansion as they learn to cope with their sometimes destructive powers. They all have a somewhat dark past and are monitored 24/7 so it’s about coming of age, in-fighting and ultimately trying to figure out why they are there.
The X-Men has always been an allegory for being gay which is what drew LGBT people to the comics in the first place, then the cartoons and eventually the movies. New Mutants goes even further than that, it has at its heart an LGBTQ+ love story between Game Of Throne’s Maisie Williams’ character Rahne and the movie’s main protagonist Blu Hunt’s Dani.
Strange thing is that Charlie Heaton scrubs up damn well!
Whilst Rahne can turn into a wolf (no jokes about her growler thank you, this is a family site), Dani’s powers remain a mystery until late in the film so we aren’t going to give that away here. This is the first mainstream Hollywood superhero movie with a gay relationship as the most important one of the film, driving the story onward.
Filling out the small cast is Split’s Ana Taylor-Joy and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton so they are a talented bunch and there’s not a bad banana in the bunch. New Mutants zips along at a satisfying pace and keeps you guessing with its intriguing yarn. You also don’t need to know any X-Men lore to enjoy the film, in fact there are only passing references.
As the first visit to the cinema in six months, it’s easy to effuse about a film’s stellar qualities just because you’re back at the big screen, but this is genuinely a great surprise. There are some wonderfully touching moments and some truly terrifying monster segments. While it’s not necessarily a must-see, with excellent action sequences and top notch special effects, the eye candy is just the icing on a very palatable cake.