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Parents' Guide to

The New Mutants

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Groundbreaking elements, but violent X-Men tale falls short.

Movie PG-13 2020 99 minutes
The New Mutants Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 16+

Very dark horror show - nothing like other X-Men/Marvel movies. Not for young teens.

Spoiler warning; I really dislike spoilers, but I parents should know this before letting any child see this movie. Also worth noting: I'm not a fan of horror movies. If you like horror/terror sci-fi, you may react differently to this movie. Very dark movie; about 80% horror/terror, 20% cool sci-fi action. Nothing like the other x-men or Marvel movies, don't let your teen convince you otherwise. This is for a more mature audience, scary and dark thriller, mix in a teen same-sex love story. My teens won't see this until after they're 16 or so, I'd estimate. There is no real connection to the x-men, except a brief mention or two. This takes place in the same world, only much different portrayal. My list of things you should know before a child watches this one: Strong implications of child abuse, imprisonment, and sexual assault. Nothing shown, but a very young girl in extreme peril is a repeated theme. Disturbing to me as a parent, and definitely not something I need my teenager thinking about. Realistic looking blood, grotesque wounds, disfigurement of people. They keep it moderate, it's not full rated-R horror bloody wounds, but it's MUCH more real and center-stage than you'd see in a "typical" x-men or marvel show. Very scary bad guys - evil humanoids with rather disturbing figures threaten a small child and teenagers. Zombie-style, done in a creative way, but for young teens this is likely very scary. Heck, I may even have nightmares as an adult, sheesh… Those things are freaky. Rather realistic, disfigured, burned person/humanoid on fire threatening a teen. Quite evil looking and scary, on the screen for a few seconds. Again, possibly the stuff of my nightmares for a bit. Implied and questionable evil motive of a powerful "superior" who dictates the activities that take place in the primary setting of the movie. Children being held captive, some brief hospital testing scenes with children upset and in peril, seemingly trapped somewhere they don't want to be. Is it for their own good? Or is it for some other nefarious purpose? Yes, that makes for good scary movie fodder, but not something young teens need to explore, in my opinion. Two young women develop a romantic relationship to each other. It is very mild, and they eventually kiss romantically (like awkward teens do). Before they explore the relationship, they are forced to use a communal shower together, like a 1950's college locker room… but they do not touch, and it's not sexual (no romance yet). Both girls are shown from the back (waist up) and bared shoulders and chest down just low enough to hint that they aren't boys. None of this is too bad on its own, but if you're sensitive to a same-sex attraction becoming romantic, teenagers experimenting with the first steps of physical intimacy, it's core to this story. Serious post-traumatic stress disorder in teens. Spoiler - these teens have accidentally or intentionally killed people in the past. Working through the emotion of that, amidst lies and deception… phew, that's pretty heavy to take on in a short movie (and I'm sad if our society is to the place where those may seem like "just normal" topics, wow). I don't need the darkness of this imaginary world in my teen's mind, yet. Not until 16 or so, depending on maturity level. I don't want to expose my child yet to implied sexual assault, exploitation of people for money, the psychology of solitary confinement, psychological torture techniques. Wow. Fairly mature movie, not even sure I would've watched it if I had known this in advance. And my teen thinks this is just another x-men show to be seen by all teens… OK, a bit of positive - there's some cool special effects, and the portrayal of the scary stuff is intense. Computer graphics have come so far, it's impressive. There's some good themes under all the darkness of learning about ourselves. How do we overcome fear? How do we control our emotions and shape our talents to create a better future? How important is freedom? How do we discover truth? How can we forgive ourselves after making mistakes? How do we work together to achieve more? Some good topics, but they're hidden under a dark, scary layer which most teens will not see past until they're much older. Be aware, and keep up the good parenting, all. Cheers.
2 people found this helpful.
age 16+

Not like the others

My son has seen a lot of the marvel and dc movies. This movie was nothing like it. Lots of scary scenes. Not what I expected from a PG 13 movie.

This title has:

Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (39 ):

If 20th Century Fox's X-Men: Dark Phoenix was a shrug, this abandoned spin-off is a whimper. For moviegoers who don't read the comics, there's little here to do with the Fox X-Men cinematic universe as we've come to know it. Trying to introduce so many new characters in such a bleak environment doesn't give viewers any reason to become invested. Which is not to say that each character's backstory isn't explored -- in fact, they're hammered home. For instance, when we meet Roberto, we're told his family is rich; after that, every time he speaks, he includes a reference to his family's wealth. And Rahne is a devout Catholic, and almost every moment connects to the church. The characters are as flat as the comic book page they were drawn on. They're also killers, and no one other than Roberto really seems to be troubled by that.

A deeper dive into the teens' psychology (beyond exposition) would have transformed this into a more intriguing film. While everything seems to come from the Captain Obvious School of Screenwriting, the mutants' personal emotional struggles are left vague. The most clear-cut case is that of bully Illyana, who sometimes communicates through a dragon puppet and still draws with crayons -- it's pretty obvious (to adults) the horrors that she's been dealing with, but more explanation would be enlightening. And, frankly, it's a missed opportunity to spark empathy and understanding in teen viewers. On the other hand, you absolutely can't miss the movie's message. It's an allegory within an allegory, and the takeaway is stated at the beginning, the end, and a couple of times in the middle: Living in fear leads to tragedy, but you're bigger than your demons and the environment that tries to define you. The New Mutants is a bold idea with groundbreaking elements -- LGBTQ+ superheroes in a movie put out by Disney! -- but its potential greatness is muted by a lack of solid direction, an amateur script, and, if rumors are accurate, quite a bit of behind-the-scenes meddling. Instead of reinventing the superhero movie as a horror film, it fails in both categories.

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