Stars: Bill Milner, Maisie Williams, Miranda Richardson, Rory Kinnear, Jordan Bolger, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Armin Karima, McKell David | Written by Joe Barton | Directed by Adam Randall
Every year now we are inundated with superhero films. Marvel and DC are doing battle tor movie supremacy, and it is arguable that Marvel are well ahead in the battle. Netflix have released a new film that may not really compete with those two huge companies, but iBoy is an interesting take on the superhero genre that is well worth checking out.
Tom (Bill Milner) is just an average boy, until he gets shot in the head, resulting in the phone he was using at the time fragmenting and embedding in his head. When he wakes up, he finds himself able to connect to electronic gadgets, and even the ability to control them. Giving him the perfect set of tools to seek revenge on the attackers of his best friend Lucy (Maisie Williams).
iBoy is the first British movie to be commissioned by Netflix for their service, which makes it somewhat of a special event. The Brits tend to have a certain style in their movies, especially gangster ones, and iBoy does have that feel. To some this may be a warning sign, as we do have an influx of gangster films that are pushed out in quick succession. Thankfully though, there is quality to be found here, and most importantly that can be found in the cast.
Bill Milner and Maisie Williams do take somewhat of a centre stage as the film revolves around them both dealing with attacks. Adding to the quality though we also have Miranda Richardson and Rory Kinnear who are also very good. It should also be said though that the cast of a whole do well, which helps the story to be believable – even if far-fetched!
What iBoy feels like to the viewer is the real world turned into a video game. Imagine Watch Dogs 2 but without having to use the phone. This is the ability that Tom is given, and while there is a risk that this could feel a little cheesy, it is handled well in the film and the audience has the chance to enjoy what Tom can do, without feeling like it goes too far. Rather than being a gimmick it is given an real purpose.
Saying that, there is a certain level similarity to some other superheroes. A comparison in terms of story could be made between iBoy and Daredevil for example. Thankfully though this works, because iBoy needs to be a superhero story, and not one that makes Tom just another hacker in a world where technology is going mad.
What iBoy does is keep the foundation of humanity the most important aspect. This is done by not only focussing on Tom’s journey, but Lucy’s as well. We see her struggle with dealing with life after the attack, see her vulnerability, and even her chance at retribution. Maisie Williams really knocks this performance out of the park, and in some ways threatens to the show. She really is turning into one of Britain’s best. Though I’m sure many would argue she has proven that already in Game of Thrones.
iBoy is a good start for British Netflix movies, and if we are to see more I hope they keep to this quality. In a film world full of American superheroes, it’s about time the Brits put some of their unique style to it, which is exactly what this film delivers.
iBoy is available to stream on Netflix now.