Or, Children of (X-)Men. A dozen different familiar young-adult and post-apocalypse tropes get thrown into a blender to adapt Alexandra Bracken’s novel, mostly set six years after a virus wipes out 90 percent of the world’s children and leaves the survivors with heightened abilities, deemed dangerous enough by the government that they’re sent to internment camps. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg), a powerful telepath, escapes from her camp, eventually hooking up with other young people trying to survive. The logistics of this brave new world are left woefully underdeveloped in a narrative focusing so much on the kids that the specifics of society’s breakdown make no sense. Stenberg continues to impress as a central presence, and the of-course romance between her and telekinetic Liam (Beach Rats’ Harris Dickinson) offers a few satisfying moments. But director Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s inability to make this scenario feel fully fleshed-out results in something that’s little more than a jumble of touchstones from other, more successful genre fare—everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Hunger Games—trying unsuccessfully to convince you it could stand on its own.
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Producer: Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen and John Starke
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, Harris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Skylan Brooks, Miya Cech, Lidya Jewett, Gwendoline Christie, Sammi Rotibi, Golden Brooks, Wallace Langham, Mark O'Brien, McCarrie McCausland and Faye Foley