Nick's Movie Review: BOY WONDER
Published: March 5, 2011 - 9:21am
In this riveting and gritty psychological-thriller, a young Brooklyn boy witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and grows up obsessed with finding her killer. Thus begins his life as a quiet, straight-A student by day and a self-appointed hero at night. But what is a real hero? And who decides what is right or wrong? As the boundaries blur, Sean’s dual life wears on his psyche and his two worlds careen dangerously close to colliding. Like a graphic novel you can’t put down, Boy Wonder challenges morality, distorting perceptions of what is right and what is justified, as it races to its shocking conclusion.
Boy Wonder was “written & directed by Michael Morrissey – an avid comic book fan who ‘wanted to create a movie that spoke to those of us who love the dark, complicated side of comics’ – this live-action superhero drama has been winning awards and accolades at film festivals around the country.”
The problem I have is that this is not a superhero movie, dark or otherwise. Kick Ass is a dark superhero movie. Punisher is a dark superhero movie. Boy Wonder is the psychological-thriller that it seeks to be, but that’s it. And that’s O.K. because it doesn’t NEED to be anything more than that.
Caleb Steinmeyer’s (True Blood, LOST, Zoey 101) performance starts off slow as a shy introvert that seems to be lacking in social skills. His role as Sean Donovan feels forced initially. We open with flashbacks of the night his mother was murdered and then quickly jump to high school. Sean apparently only has one friend in school but the brooding behavior and tense interaction with his father don’t seem to fit. As the movie progresses, however, and the layers of the character become clearer, Caleb settles in.
Likewise, Zulay Henao (Takers) also seems uncomfortable in her role until the halfway point in the movie. Henao plays newly promoted Detective Teresa Ames who has a nose for the cases she works. Her determination to get her guy has cost her her marriage, her son, and oddly, some of her counterparts’ respect. Henao and Steinmeyer don’t often mix well together on screen. The two have more than one awkward exchange when it seems the dialog should flow better.
The star of the movie for me was Daniel Sherman (The Taking of Pelham 123, The Sopranos, Rescue Me, much more), as Detective Gary Stensen. Daniel plays Zulay's partner and really does steal the show. Daniel owns this role from his first scene and is the comic relief for the film. He does a great job and if Sam & Twitch ever gets a green light from NBC, would be perfect for Sam.
Along with my confusion over the insistence this is a superhero movie, I am also not sure why they titled it Boy Wonder. Comic book fans, (whom, again, this was written for) will automatically think of Batman's sidekick Robin. It’s like seeing a Home Depot sign and driving up to find a restaurant. I cannot stress enough how this is a vengeance/revenge movie far more so than it is a superhero one.
All in all, Boy Wonder is a good movie with enough action and plot twists to keep you interested. I thought that I had the ending figured out but I was wrong. While not flawless, the two leads grow into their own by film's end and the supporting cast is great. This is Morrissey's debut feature film as director and he easily has a bright future ahead of him. Just stop telling me that my ham sandwich is a piece of steak and we’ll be fine. for more information about the film, visit the official Boy Wonder movie site http://www.boywonderthemovie.com/