An X-Men spin off with seemingly no X-Men. We follow Dani Moonstar, a girl who’s very afraid of something. She’s the only survivor from her Native American reservation group and has been put into some sort of medical facility that has group therapy and solitary confinement with other young mutants. The whole film is based around teen mutants so it’s not got the epic sense of scale that the other films have but it is doing something new.
It has a fairly strong start, giving us enough to wonder what’s really going on, making us ask questions: what was chasing? What is the facility really? Who’s the smiling man?
The movie then gets weirder, turning into a bit of a horror. All the mutants have their own unique fears which start to manifest in the real world, coming to get them. Then, once we learn about what Dani’s power is, the movie does a bit of a genre jump into fantasy with magic swords, a dragon thing and a giant demon. Obviously mutants with superpowers can’t really be helpless horror characters so a change was due at some point but it’s interesting what they chose to do.
Our new mutants powers are: a werewolf, an energy flying man, a human torch like in Fantastic Four, a magic warrior girl and Dani’s power (I’m not spoiling it). The characters are also reasonable for the first time we meet them, there’s some romance but the characters do need a bit more time to make us really understand and care about them.
We don’t get a villain in the traditional sense, no-one up in your face as the big bad like Magneto. Instead we get the woman that runs the facility taking orders from a higher authority. These people all belong to the Essex Corporation that appears in a few other X-Men Films.
It’s a hard movie to describe without giving too many spoilers. This is a different style from what I’ve seen of X-Men before and I appreciate how they’re trying something new. It didn’t blow me away but I also wasn’t disappointed. Hopefully there’s something big planned for the Essex corporation going forward. I do think I enjoyed it and would like to see them go harder on the horror with some less combat capable mutants in future. Like a lot of X-Men films it’s decent enough.