Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am beyond surprised that I didn’t end up ripping this movie to shreds. Is it messy? Absolutely... Are there tonal inconsistencies? No doubt... But it feels as if there is enough here (for me) to say it wasn’t the worst (such high praise). It is a generic film, but the addition of Horror here managed to save it. When it falls into those teen-Romance-centric clichés, that’s when I’m looking for the exit, but New Mutants (somehow) manages to overcome some of them. What worked from that standpoint was the main romance between two of our heroes. It helps that Maisie Williams is crushing her performance, but that genuinely felt earned. The tropes that got me frustrated were the sneaking around while the Doctor was asleep, the partying, and the fact that they thought they weren’t being watched while “hiding.” I also have a few logic-based questions for the writers.
There is a lot to this group; certain characters are cool, while others make an odd impression at first. Anya Taylor-Joy is acting her butt off, and there is a lot to like with her, but the puppet was too much for me. I understand what they were trying to do, but the goal is to make her an intimidating presence. Why are we giving her a puppet to talk to? Our lead actress is solid, but I feel as if (at times) she was a bit outshined by the crazy talent around her. The only character I did not care as much about was Sunspot, who is apparently a new version of Sunspot in the same universe? We could say it’s a different universe, but there is a clear connection to the films that I will not dive into here (separate video). Those connections were cool, but my brain is frying trying to figure out this timeline. The third act is a bit of a jumbled mess, and it felt repetitive, but I did like what they were doing with Danielle’s powers. That aspect felt new.
Many will not like the lack of a clear villain, but that stood out as a huge positive. This film is easy to pick on, so I am trying to give it the benefit of the doubt and approach it like it hasn’t been delayed for years. The characters and their powers were fairly cool, and these Horror elements mixed in had so much potential. We needed so much more of what we got in that second act. I did find the plot reveal to be predictable, but that is only because I am familiar with these characters from the comics (certain members were not accurate to the comics btw). So at the end of the day, it was a clear mixed bag for me, but I actually came out on the more-positive side. I saw potential here. There is a good movie buried within. Whether it is missing that R-rating, better dialogue, or more of a focus on tone, it showed me more than anticipated. Sticking to the haunted house element could have saved it. Either way, it is fine, but it is unfortunate that we can no longer make New Mutants memes. Those memes gave me life.
🔜Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure♻️