Happy Friday the 13th — have you seen the new trailer for The New Mutants? If not, you should. There’s a cool vibe to it in the way they’ve approached the film, as if it’s a pure psychological horror film. We’re going to take the trailer scene-by-scene and break it down because that’s what we do here, get in all of the nooks and crannies of what will hopefully be our next favorite X-Men flick.
A quick reminder and warning: There will be some spoilers as plot points of the source comic books are discussed. This is a trailer from an X-Men movie that didn’t spin out of the original X-Men film series. The story is based on the popular New Mutants comic arc “Demon Bear” (New Mutants #18-21) by Chris Clairemont and Bill Sienkiewicz. Considering it's early and the digital effects likely aren't placed in the film yet, it makes sense not to put anything regarding Demon Bear itself in this first look.
For those who don’t know, in the comics Demon Bear is a creature who comes to haunt the Cheyenne mutant telepath Danielle Moonstar, aka Mirage, played by Blu Hunt (The Originals), and apparently caused the death of her parents. Demon Bear draws power from negative human emotion and can teleport, transform in shape, and corrupt human souls. So he'll certainly make for a compelling antagonist for these overmatched mutant teens.
The opening shot is of a facility that holds and tests mutants. We begin to hear someone asking another a series of questions. We can assume that this is Dr. Cecilia Reyes, played by Alice Braga (Elysium), who is in charge of the facility and watches over all of the mutants held there.
There’s a grim shot of gravestones with no names, just numbers, which give off the impression that there have been more than 130 mutants subjected to this poking and prodding over the years.
We get our first glimpse of Hunt playing our lead character, Danielle Moonstar, hooked up and presumably in the scene where Reyes is asking her the following:
Reyes: Have you ever hurt someone?
Reyes: Have you ever experienced anything that you would consider abnormal?
Reyes: Last question. Do you know what a mutant is?
The horror element is alive and well as a chilling rendition of children singing Pink Floyd’s "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" plays in the background, which is about a song where kids in high school protest against their abusive teachers.
There was a wall between the students and the rest of the world, and the teachers were the bricks in that wall. We can obviously use this as a metaphor for the film, where Reyes is in control of the mutants and is abusing them through these tests.
The roll call. Here's our first image of Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) as the Brazilian character Roberto Da Costa, aka Sunspot, who is fueled by sunlight, which he stores in his body for super strength.
We see our first image of Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) as Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik (Colossus’ sister), a mystic sorceress who can travel and teleport.
Reyes continues ...
"Did you know baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than adult ones? They haven’t learned yet how much venom they can secrete. All of you are dangerous. That’s why you’re here." In one of the scenes we see Cannonball, with his arm in a sling, moving closer to an empty dryer as a hand reaches out through flames. Best guess is this is Sunspot?
Cannonball's line, "This isn’t a hospital, this is a haunted house," really puts an emphasis on the tone and approach to this story being a stand-alone horror flick, as we've seen no early references to other stories, other X-Men, or other situations outside of what happens at this facility. It's one of the few times we've ever seen a comic book retrofitted into a specific genre that's not a straight "superhero" film.
There's a flurry of quick-cut images at the end of the trailer that show an angry mob of miners (a reference to Cannonball's past), lots of running away from something, explosions, and scary children. Just remember, like FX's Legion adaptation, that when dealing mutants and villains who can attack telepathically, all is not what it seems, so we could be easily thrown off by what we're being shown.
Still, there are hints of the original story here. These two images are placed in relative proximity in the trailer, which may hint that again, if following the comics, Mirage and Wolfsbane are psychically linked.
Notice that there are no superhero costumes or signs of heavy effects (yet) and more emphasis on what these teens are traumatized with and carrying on their shoulders as it pertains to being trapped in this facility.
It's a very tight, small cast with what appears to be only a few locations (so far), and that gives this some promise to be an intimate, intense, deeply psychological take on The New Mutants, which would reflect the source material well while bringing it to a larger audience that doesn't need the weight of years and years of comics knowledge headed in.
The New Mutants opens April 13, 2018. That's our first impression of The New Mutants first trailer. Did we miss anything? Share your comments below.