The New Mutants is — and I am not entirely believing the words even as I type them — in theaters now. After years of delays, production woes, and a gigantic corporate merger that reportedly took so long that by the time it was completed the cast of teen actors had aged so much that reshoots became impossible, you can now see the film in theaters. After all that, The New Mutants is now one of the very first pictures back in multiplexes that are reopening around the country after a long coronavirus-related closure.

Note I said you can see it and not should see it in theaters. Personally, I’m not going until there’s a way to see it safely, probably at the drive-in. (The one by me sold out opening night in a matter of minutes, which might bode well for New Mutants’ box office chances.) Disney, which acquired the film when they merged with 20th Century Fox, didn’t make The New Mutants available to critics in any form prior to its release, which is never a good sign. And so far, the critics who were able to see it don’t have much good to say.

A couple of early reviews are mixed to positive, citing the film’s strong cast and its adaptation of some very good Marvel comics. The rest, though, say this is among the worst X-Men movies ever — and its current Rotten Tomatoes score of 25 percent ranks close to the bottom of the franchise. Dark Phoenix is still technically the worst reviewed X-Men, with a 22 percent, but that could change very quickly as more New Mutants reviews come in.

Here’s a sampling of the reviews so far:

Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter:

Since it was made three years ago, The New Mutants already feels like it belongs in another, perhaps more innocent, epoch.

Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

New Mutants couldn’t have gone to streaming. The brutal fact is no one would have wanted to sit through it.

Brian Orndorf,

[Boone’s] painfully ill-equipped to handle the genre demands of “The New Mutants,” which ends up becoming 75% exposition and 25% underwhelming action.

Rachel Wagner, Rachel’s Reviews:

 It starts very small and can’t quite bear the weight of its ending. In addition, some of the cinematography and visual effects felt more of the CW variety than a major superhero property. Nevertheless, I still had a good time watching this film!

Hope Madden, Maddwolf:

 It doesn’t really work as an angsty romance, misses the mark as a horror movie and never for a minute feels like a superhero flick.

The New Mutants
20th Century

Seth Eelen, into:screens:

An exciting new vision that’s often eerie, sometimes endearing, but most of all faithful to the comics.

Dan Murrell, Dan Murrell Reviews:

A movie from a bygone era when Fox was its own company that didn't quite know what to do with X-Men movies.

Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics:

Boone gets the balance all wrong; the scares aren’t nearly impactful enough and the teen bonding waylaid by embarrassingly clunky dialogue.

Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail:

Will make you hate the X-Men more than Magneto.

Keith Noakes, Keith Loves Movies:

An incoherent mashup of half-baked and convoluted elements that distract from a property full of a potential.

If the reviews aren’t enticing you, the studio also released a new clip from the film today:

Well, there you have it: The New Mutants. If there’s ever a way to see this movie safely in the near future, I’ll have more to say about it.

Gallery — Every X-Men Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best:

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