Years after it finished filming and two years after it was supposed to be released, X-Men spin-off The New Mutants is finally limping into cinemas this April, and a newly-released trailer has given us more of a sense of how the horror-themed superhero movie will work.
However, as I watched I couldn’t help but wonder one thing – isn’t the big mystery at the centre of the story kind of obvious? Even without being a huge fan of The New Mutants comics (I read one once) I immediately picked up on one detail that would seem to give an important plot point away, and I can’t help but wonder if Fox have inadvertently spoiled their story before they’ve even begun…
Now, of course I could be wrong, but in case I’m right anyone who really doesn’t want to know or speculate about the plot of The New Mutants should look away now. This probably doesn’t count as a spoiler – like you, I haven’t seen the film – but there is a chance I’m right, in which case you might have less fun than if you watched it fresh…
Still here? Well, let me explain what I’m talking about. The new trailer basically follows two key threads – the introduction of a young girl named Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) to a mysterious institution full of mutants (aka the super-powered next step in humanity usually seen in the X-Men movies) and some spooky goings-on affecting the “patients” therein.
“It’s important we find out your power – so we can help you get better,” Alice Braga’s Dr Cecilia Reyes tells Dani at one stage, before Dani and the rest of the young mutants begin to relive their greatest fears and traumatic moments, including Sam’s (Charlie Heaton) experience of a cave-in and Roberto’s (Henry Zaga) unintentional burning of his girlfriend thanks to his solar powers.
“This place takes your greatest fear – and makes you live through it. Until it kills you!” Reyes cries in voiceover as the trials, jump-scares and screams continue, and it seems clear that finding out exactly who or what is causing these horrors will be a big part of the film.
Blu Hunt as Dani Moonstar in The New Mutants (Fox)
But all I could think about was my memory of Dani Moonstar’s mutant power in the comics. Which is… drum roll… the ability to create illusions based on the greatest fears of those around her. In other words, more or less exactly what’s happening in this film.
Of course, it’s likely that there’s a bit more to the film’s plot than this – supposedly it will include the comic-book character Demon Bear, a powerful being who feeds on negative emotions and has a close connection to Dani, as its main villain – but based on the trailer, it does also seem to be setting up a mystery that’s solved by the quickest glance at a New Mutants Wikipedia page. What’s causing these bizarre illusions? Oh, the character who has always created these exact illusions.
Look, obviously the New Mutants aren’t exactly as mainstream as the X-Men, and it’s more than likely that most people who watch the film won’t be aware of this context. But it’s also not exactly a secret – it’s public information almost 40 years old – so if it does turn out to be a big part of the film’s plot I can’t help but see it as a bit of a damp squib.
And really, after such a drawn-out production, from these particular merry mutants I’d hoped for something a bit more, well… new.
The New Mutants is released in UK cinemas on the 10th April