Boy Wonder: Seeker of Justice, or Mental Patient?

When you apply for a press badge with NYCC, that apparently puts you on a mailing list. I’m not upset about it at all because I learned about a couple of real gems that I might not have otherwise. One of them is the independent film Boy Wonder (SPOILER ALERT it’s not Robin)

I received a movie announcement in the mail a few days before NYCC, telling me of a special preview screening of the new movie Boy Wonder. Now the image on the card was nothing like the image that I have in my head when I think of the words “Boy Wonder”. There are no bright colors, capes, underwear on outside… you know… the original Boy Wonder. As much as I liked the movie I can’t help but think that this is a strange choice for a title. If you think about it, there has never been a “good” Robin. I’m not saying that this character is anything like Robin, I’m just saying that using a name that immediately makes people think of Robin is probably a bad decision. Then again, these people are making movies and I’m just bitching about them, so maybe I should just stop trying to criticize their work from my basement. Whatever. You shut up, you’re not the boss of me!

I won’t tell you of the tale of the line, where I waited for about 1.5 hours only to be pulled out of the line and moved to the front because I was there with my press badge. I did meet some interesting people and saw a lot of great costumes as they walked past. I even got a “War Eagle!” from a cute girl as she walked past (I was wearing my Auburn University hat), and that was probably one of the best parts of NYCC.

Oh right, movie review.

The movie starts off with a quick glimpse of the night that started our hero down the road to becoming the black-hoodie-wearing vigilante with the unfortunate moniker Boy Wonder. As a child, he witnesses his mother’s brutal murder right in front of him. From that moment on he became obsessed with finding her killer and bringing him to justice. And not in an O.J. way, but for realsies.

The performances were great from almost everyone. James Russo was perfectly creepy, Daniel Stewart Sherman was hilarious as the crude Detective Stenson, and Caleb Steinmeyer did a wonderful job as Sean. Caleb’s performance in particular was spot on. He came across as being detached and socially awkward, which is exactly what you would expect from a kid that watched his mom’s head pop like a watermelon. The only one that seemed forced and a little hard to believe was Zulay Henao as Detective Ames. It seemed like she was trying too hard to make us believe the character instead of just relaxing and believing the character herself.

Something about the movie really bothered me, though. I love the idea of a flawed hero because it makes that hero easy to identify with as a human. Even Batman, the most human of all heroes, is nearly infallible. But this film made it very clear that Sean is what the kids call fucking crazy. He sees shit that isn’t there, he has arguments with people that aren’t anywhere around, he misinterprets a stern warning for a verbal beating… this made it a lot more difficult to identify with him in any way. When you carefully make the argument for your character’s insanity, you pretty much forfeit all viewer empathy. Unless those people are mental as well, and then I suppose you’re good to go. It also made me wonder if Sean was seeing everything differently.

For the most part, the bad guys are getting what they deserve. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the homeless guy on the subway, who nearly gets the life beaten out of him for what basically amounts to freaking people out. That’s another one that makes it difficult to connect with Sean’s character. You’re not a vigilante that’s righting the wrongs of a flawed justice system anymore. Now you’re just an asshole.

Overall it was a really enjoyable film. I’d gladly see it again and I’ll recommend it to anyone that asks what I think of it.

4 thoughts on “Boy Wonder: Seeker of Justice, or Mental Patient?”

  1. The notion that a film forfeits all empathy for its hero because he is traumatized to the point of insanity is one of the saddest I have read in a long, long time.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top