The Darkest Minds is a young adult film, taking place in a world where a disease has killed most of the child population; those who have survived have it the worst of all they gain superhuman powers- at the cost of their freedom. So far so standard YA dystopia.
I want to say that the YA genre is dead, to me Maze Runner Death Cure was the genre’s last gasp, The Darkest Minds proves me right at every turn. What this film amounts to is a collection of YA tropes, all the worst ones at that, seemingly lacking anything original. What this film strikes me as is a cynical attempt to resurrect a dead genre, probably because: some executive still thought there was money to be made.
Everything about this film feels forced, from its needless romance subplot to the even more unnecessary love triangle. The most egregious example of this: being how this film is trying to set up a franchise, that no one wanted.
The similarities between this film and 21st Century Fox’s other property X-Men are more than a little obvious. However, where X-men mostly get social commentary and feelings of isolation correct, Darkest Minds does it in the most hollow, cheap way possible. In many ways, this film is a second-rate X-men.
The acting and the script are also both incredibly weak. Having not read the source material, I don’t know to what extent the poor writing is the fault of the film, I also can’t say, if this is a faithful adaptation. The dialogue feels overly teenage angsty, with it often resulting in cringey, or offensively terrible scenes. The “acting” doesn’t ever amount to more than brooding.
Perhaps worst of all is Amandla Stenberg’s Ruby. Stenberg’s character doesn’t have a lot to work with script wise, but what she does get often feels annoying- to be blunt she may be the worst character in the film.
I’m not even going to go into how a lot of the decisions the characters make are bafflingly stupid, or how they waste a great supporting cast.
Overall, don’t go and see this film, don’t waste your time, money or effort- let the YA genre die in peace.
Reviewed by Luke