The Darkest Minds review “An exercise in poor world building”


The Darkest Minds posterWas I the only one who thought we were done with YA movies? Especially with Maze Runner: The Death Cure being released earlier this year, along with the final Divergent movie being cancelled, I thought the whole “movies based on books with an evil adult government stopping the young people in a futuristic setting” genre was over with.

However, I was wrong with The Darkest Minds hitting theatres in the U.S a few weeks ago. I was one of the few people to see it opening day and after seeing it, I can see why this has one of the worst openings at over 3,000 theatres of all time. I can’t sum up how bad this movie is in just a sentence, so I suppose I should jump into why this is one of the worst movies of the year so far.

So, while this is a pretty terrible movie, it does have some things that prevent it from being awful on every front. Amandla Stenberg does a good job as Ruby in the sole above average performance in the movie. Also, I did think the general premise of something of a teenage X-Men is a good idea. The X-Men have always been a metaphor for minorities and people who have trouble finding acceptance in society, so it does make sense for a movie like that to be aimed at teenage audiences. However, those are really the only good things I can say about this movie. Now, time to discuss the bad.

So, let’s talk about the negative aspects. While I did enjoy Amandla Stenberg’s performance, she was the only one who acted in a manner which could be described as good. Everyone else can be distributed into two camps. Camp One, showing as little emotion as possible, where we have Harris Dickinson, Miya Cech, and Gwendoline Christie, who is in another sci-fi action movie where she is just wasted. In Camp Two, we have the overactors, featuring Patrick Gibson, Wade Williams, and Skylan Brooks in performances I just found extremely annoying. Overall, The Darkest Minds is a very poorly acted film.

Still from The Darkest Minds

© 20th Century Fox

Another thing the film does poorly is the storytelling. Now, I can’t choose what I like less, the pacing or the world building. Now with the pacing, there’s the fact it alternates between lethargic to a hyperactive level of fast. However, the world building is some of the worst I’ve ever seen, where they never really say how any of the kids’ abilities happened or how the organization trying to help the kids is going. Both the pacing and worldbuilding just results in a dull movie which you feel absolutely no attachment or investment to.

Next up, the villains of the film are terrible. There is one villain who is supposed to be a surprise (even though it’s one of the most obvious villains ever) so I won’t talk about him. I will talk about the big villain though, Bradley Whitford’s President Gray. Last year, Whitford played one of the best villains of the year as Dean Armitage in Get Out. This year, he is on the exact opposite of the spectrum. They never explain his motivation and he isn’t menacing at all. On top of that, he’s in it for at most ten minutes, pulling what I like to call the “Gwendoline Christie” as he made lots of money for being on set one day.

Finally, we need to talk about the ending. Now, I won’t get into any spoilers but I do just need to talk about it since it’s the absolute worst part of the movie. First, it goes on for much too long as it happens after the climax of the film, exceeding what feels like ten to fifteen minutes. Second, it tries to deliver a huge emotional punch but fails to even deliver an emotional lovetap. Finally, the fact that it has the audacity to set up a sequel is mind-bogglingly insulting, and it isn’t even a good set-up with a few people running through trees and Infinity War special effect copies!

So, that wraps up the review of the Darkest Minds, a very bad movie. I actually did hear a lot of people want a sequel to this movie as they loved this one. Now, while I did hate this movie, I actually tend to agree with those people, a sequel would be great. Not because I liked this movie, or because I think that a sequel would improve on the setup of this film, or even because I think that I would like it. I would really like to see a sequel simply because, who doesn’t love watching a bad movie and thinking “I finally found the worst.”

⭐ 1/2

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