No… these characters are NOT the X-Men. Nope. Not at all.
A mysterious “illness” swept across the country doing one of two things to all the children. It either killed them or it gave them some sort of super power through genetically altering them (see…not X-Men. No mutants!). The government responded to this, of course, by rounding the remaining children up and putting them into camps.
Each child was tested and they were given a level of danger, ranked by color. Red was the highest and followed by orange. These two sets of children were automatically put to death. The remaining levels of yellow, blue and green were kept in the camps and forced into manual labor.
Even the President’s son (Patrick Gibson) was one of the altered kids, but the president (the terribly underused Bradley Whitford) apparently cured him.
Meanwhile, young Ruby (Lidya Jewett) survived the disease but had not shown her ability until one night she accidentally wiped herself out of the memory of her parents. Taken to the camp, she spent six years there as the time jumps forward ( I guess nothing of importance happened in that time frame). Teen Riby was then played by Amanda Stenberg.
At this point, she escaped and joined up with a ragtag bunch of mutan…errrr … um… survivors to try and find the mysterious Slipkid, a rebel helping powered people learn their powers (so NOT Charles Xavier).
Okay, I am going to go really geeky on you for a minute because this really distracted me throughout the entire film. These power levels were so messed up. First of all, those characters with mind control powers were listed in the orange section as the second most dangerous. Ruby was one of those, and, at first, she could only do her mind voodoo if she made skin-to-skin contact (no NOT at all like Rogue), but she later developed it into being able to use it at a distant. If anyone thinks that mind control isn’t at the highest level of danger, they are just foolish. Then, when we see Red level characters, they are simply fire breathing characters. Scary visual but nothing to it.
Then, in the blue level, they included telekinetic powers. No way. These powers are way more dangerous than the fire breathers and should be in the orange section while the mind control should be red. One of the ragtag bunch Ruby meets is Liam (Harris Dickinson) and he is a TK. At one point in the film, he (SPOILER, if you care) kills a group of five reds by himself easily. That should prove how dangerous he was.(END OF SPOILER). He even speaks of how the League (which is a group that are militarizing the survivors to do battle with the government) was trying to teach him to break arms with his TK. Um… how much longer before you are breaking necks, baby?
Sorry, but that whole color thing distracted me the entire film.
The characters are basic and not that exciting. They are clearly tied closely to the X-Men and are lesser versions. Amanda Stenberg is good, but she does so many dumb things that I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to yell at her to wake up.
This film is based on a YA novel of the same name by Alexandra Bracken and that was something I did not know at first, but it makes sense. The whole thing feels thrown together with too much included but not enough world building for the movie to be effective. I assume there are more details in the novel that might help put this into context. Like, for example, have people stopped having children now? The film never covers that but it certainly implied that there were no children left. If this was a disease, shouldn’t it be okay for people to have more children? Is that disease still in the air?
The other problem was that the ending of the movie is completely unsatisfying and exists to simply encourage a sequel (HINT, HINT… this one ain’t getting one of those).
This was a very poorly executed movie with characters that will be so much more entertaining and fleshed out when Marvel Studios finally puts out their X-Men movies.