Boy Wonder Movie Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
DVD released by Boy Wonder Productions
Written and Directed by Michael Morrissey
2010, 95 minutes, Not Rated
Caleb Steinmeyer as Sean Donovan
Zulay Henao as Teresa Ames
Bill Sage as Terry Donovan
James Russo as Larry Childs
Tracy Middendorf as Mary Donovan
Daniel Stewart Sherman as Gary Stenson
Chuck Cooper as Bill Baldwin
Look! Across the street! It's a trash can! It's a hobo! It's a kid with a gun and I think he's going to kill that drug dealer! Such is the case in Boy Wonder, the first feature film from the aptly titled Boy Wonder Productions. It takes a look at Sean Donovan (Caleb Steinmeyer), a boy that saw his mother (Tracy Middendorf) shot and killed right in front of him ten years ago. Since then he's distanced himself from human contact and trained his body in various fighting techniques. Now that he's come of age, he's cleaning up the streets of New York with the blood of criminals in search for his mother's killer.
If this sounds like an origin for a comic book character, you're on the right track. On the surface, Boy Wonder takes elements from Batman, The Punisher, and Kick-Ass, but gives it more heart and intrigue than any of those stories have seen in years. Sean's vigilantism is only partially fueled by revenge. As we get deeper into his character, we learn that Sean might not be all there. He sees things sometimes. For example, he walks by a mother talking to her son on the sidewalk. He sees her screaming at him, but then we also see her calmly explaining to the boy what he did wrong. This casts doubts as to what is reality and what Sean considers reality and provides an added element to the film.
While Sean is making his way through the lowlifes of New York, Detective Teresa Ames (Zulay Henao) is trying to make the city safe on the side of the law. The two of them bond, but they don't immediately form a Batman / Commissioner Gordon relationship. Ames has her doubts after she finds out what Sean has been up to.
For a production company's first feature, the quality is surprisingly high. The film was shot on location in Brooklyn and New York so they were able to take advantage of some great buildings, subways, and streets. The locations give Boy Wonder a great environment to play in and provide a fitting atmosphere.
The actors are pretty good in their roles. Steinmeyer is great as the broody, hipster-hair-flinging Sean. He gives off this awkward, tortured vibe and at the same time you can see that there's so much more going on in his head at any given moment. He's only showing you a piece of what he's thinking. Bill Sage is very convincing as Sean's father, Terry. He plays a recovering alcoholic who's coping with his wife's death in his own way. He gave up the bottle and has tried to raise Sean to the best of his ability. He has more of a tortured past than he lets on, too.
The big letdown in the acting department, though, is Zulay Henao as Detective Teresa Ames. She is entirely uninspired throughout the whole movie. Every scene feels like she's just reading the lines and there's never any emotion behind them. This stands out even more when she's paired up with Daniel Stewart Sherman, who plays her new partner, Gary Stenson. Sherman easily steals each scene he's in and provides some much needed comic relief while also trying to straighten out Ames. Unfortunately, Henao just doesn't rise to the challenge.
Boy Wonder is a thriller about a young vigilante. It's a film that deals with revenge and how to get over the loss of a loved one. It also questions morality and how far one should go for justice. I'm not going to spoil anything here, but the final scene of the film is epic and worth the price of admission alone. If this movie is the type of product we can expect from Boy Wonder Productions, I'm looking forward to their future releases.
Video and Audio:
Even though this is a screener, the audio throughout Boy Wonder is crisp and clear. The crew definitely dropped the cash on some good mics because there's rarely any ambient noise. In a city like New York, that's a never-ending soundtrack but it's only heard when it's meant to be. This was filmed using a 35mm RED camera so the video quality is pretty solid too. If this is any indication of the final product, this is going to be a great looking and sounding disc.
Special features will not be graded as this is a screener.