Friday, September 14th, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Boy Wonder Netflix Streaming DVD
Directed by Michael Morrissey
Starring Caleb Steinmeyer, Zulay Henao, James Russo, Bill Sage, Tracy Middendorf
Inception Media Group
Originally Released: August 12, 2010
As geeks, we’ve often posed the question: “What if someone really tried to do what Batman does?” The Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy affixed a gritty, yet epic realism to the concept of The Batman, and Kick-Ass gives us a look at a teenager having a shot at being a superhero… but neither is rooted in the darker nature of reality. Enter: Boy Wonder – in spite of its name, the indie film is essentially a vigilante revenge movie, but takes on the concept of a teenager taking on board vigilante justice, without costumes and without the resources of one Mr. Bruce Wayne of the 1%.
Penned and directed by Michael Morrissey, Boy Wonder tells the story of Sean Donovan, a brooding teenager portrayed by Caleb Steinmeyer, who from all appearances is a quiet, isolate teenager striving to do well at school. Yet behind the daytime mask, Donovan carries the weight of being witness to the murder of his mother when he was a younger boy.
Plagued by the memory, Donovan sets about using his advanced academic mind, and a newfound skillset of physical defense, to work towards seeking out his mother’s true killers, in a quest for vengeance. Along the way, he eliminates (literally) several thugs in the neighborhood area, leading local detective Teresa Ames (Zulay Henao) onto his trail.
Encrusted technically as a psychological thriller, the writing of Boy Wonder is reasonable, with some solid connections made throughout the story, and an excellent pace reserved for many of the revelations that surface right through up until the end of the movie. The film is especially gritty, which works in its favor tremendously.
Plot wise, however, where Boy Wonder is let down are in a couple of sequences where the logic gaps appear. There are a couple of scenes that viewers will step back and ponder the unreality of the concept exhibited to them, which will take them out of the moment. Some of these moments do work in favor of the movie later on as it progresses to its conclusion, but others are left untouched.
The performances in the movie are fairly good, with Steinmeyer leading the charge with a convincing portrayal of a teenager not only brooding, and tormented, but suffering from major depression and hallucinations that make the viewer end up querying what exactly is real. Expect more from this young man in the future.
Bill Sage does an exceptional job as his father, Terry Donovan, also dealing with a tortured and tormented soul seeking forgiveness in the world for his many unforgivable offences to those close to him.
The film integrates various camera work techniques as it portrays the different facets of Sean’s life, which is also of note for this indie film. The reality sequences are much different in work and appearance from the dark night vigilante sequences, with different approaches applied to memory flashback sequences, and the above-mentioned scenes that seem to be Sean hallucinating.
The editing of these different approaches is worth mentioning, as they are done so seamlessly that it brings everything together solidly – a clear indication why this film has won awards for editing. Combined with the direction, the resulting effect leaves the audience questioning exactly how much of the film is “real” in Sean’s life, and how much is in his mind; and makes the story a delightful mind-boggling conundrum.
One thought that came to mind while watching this film is how well it would probably fare in graphic novel format. In fact, I think it would serve the story much better in that format. There’s an abundance of newer creator-owned series happening now, and perhaps Morrissey could benefit from looking into this, for I could see some potential in the story in that format.
Overall, Boy Wonder may not be an epic on the scale of The Dark Knight, but it does present the gritty hard-hitting nature you expect from a vigilante / revenge movie. This is a kid who wants to be, for all intents and purposes, a real-life version of something like the Punisher crossed with Batman, but he is grief-stricken by his own human frailty and weaknesses at the same time. It is compelling viewing, and a memorable experience. Add this one to your queue to check out at some stage.