The New Mutants - one of the more interesting superhero movies

An artsy poster for the movie.I hate superhero movies - let's get that out of the way first. They're a bag of clichés, where flashing lights are considered an adequate replacement for new ideas. 2017's "Logan" is the only one I've found interesting. What happens to a Superhero after they're too old for this shit? What does it mean to keep a promise to someone who doesn't remember that you made it? How do we stop our children making the same mistakes we did?

The New Mutants is different to most Marvel movies. That has made some people upset - because they want to see the same stories played out again and again, with marginally better special effects, and slightly prettier actors. Originality is anathema to Superhero franchise fans. They like the consistency of a franchise. Whenever they visit a new country, they eat at McDonald's lest they be exposed to something which tastes new.

Is The New Mutants a good film? Not especially. It has gone through so much development hell that I doubt there's much left of the original intention. The actors' accents are... intense. And the violence is distressing.

But the idea behind it is what makes it worth watching. How does the religious establishment deal with difference? How do you cope with the knowledge that you've killed someone innocent? Are some people so broken they can't be fixed?

Superhero movies rarely deal with anything that complex. Modern MCU films have tried to examine the limits of state power, or whether the ends justify the means, but they often throw it over for a bigger explosion.

The New Mutants looks at damaged people. It's all wrapped up in some mad-scientist-haunted-house-voyeristic tropes, and has enough ultraviolence and sex to appease the fans. But it is an interesting idea for a movie. It makes me want to watch a two-hander movie where some random superhero has to sit with a therapist for 90 minutes to explain the psychological toll of being super-powered killer.

The New Mutants is weird and I think that's a brilliant direction for the tired genre.


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3 thoughts on “The New Mutants - one of the more interesting superhero movies”

  1. It must be said, there are quite a few mainstream comic books that cover that kind of ground.

    You’ve probably seen me talk about this summer’s Marvel crossover event “Lords of Empyre” — and pticly the queer-authored one-shot “Emperor Hulkling” about the eponymous and often sidelined queer character at the centre of that story. After reading that (repeatedly), I bought a temporary subscription to Marvel Unlimited, so that I could read every book Hulkling had ever featured in. Across just those and the TV series Agents of SHIELD, those moral questions are covered so often that they’re clichés.

    I love superhero movies — in the same way that I love heist movies, disaster movies and pretty much the whole genre I call “macho bullshit”. I know I’m probably not gonna have my brain expanded and that’s totally ok. But the superhero genre really does deal in those bigger questions. Just not on the Hollywood big screen.

    (And, if I can get 1 more comic book recommendation in after Emperor Hulkling above, it would be Superman: Red Son. If you've not read it, you totally should.)

  2. Alex Gibson says:

    Have you checked out The Umbrella Academy on Netflix? Very stylish, post-superhero, with some great characters and no macho BS. And an awesome soundtrack.


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