iBoy stars Bill Milner (Son of Rambow, Is Anybody There?), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, The Falling), Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow, The Hours), Rory Kinnear (The Imitation Game, Skyfall) and is directed by Adam Randall (Level Up).
When Tom (Milner) tries to save his friend from a violent attack, he’s shot and when he awakes from a coma, pieces of his mobile phone have exploded into his brain. He soon realises, this has given him supernatural powers and he is capable of taking revenge on the people who hurt him and his friend Lucy (Williams).
So iBoy is a British, Netflix, low budget, superhero film and as silly as it might sound, it turns out to be an OK watch. The way the story plays out is very formulaic for the superhero genre (if you’ve seen one origin story, you’ve seen them all) but I have to admit, the way in which Tom gets his superpowers is… different? I also appreciated that iBoy doesn’t waste anytime with exposition, explaining how the superpower works and all the ins and outs, although maybe this one could have explained a little bit, how pieces of a phone be lodged into someone’s brain can give them powers. But if you can accept that early on, this is an enjoyable little indie, sci-fi, flick.
Our two main cast members, Bill Milner and Maisie Williams, are both really good. Milner had a Peter Parker vibe to him, nerdy teenager but posses a lot of power. He pulled it off well and I had no issue following him for 90 minute runtime. Maisie Williams however, gave a really strong performance and again impressed me with how talented she is. There’s one scene in particular, where she’s trying to overcome a fear and the emotion and anxiety, really came through in the performance, resulting in a powerful scene that was my favorite of the film. Miranda Richardson has a nice role, adding some comedic relief to an otherwise dark film and Charley Palmer Rothwell plays a menacing villain with effective results.
I don’t think iBoy is going to take off as the new film everyone has to see but I do think director Adam Randall has potential to be a filmmaker to look out for. I thought he did an excellent job putting this film together. It’s paced well, told efficiently but most importantly it’s shot beautifully. iBoy looks really nice. The cinematography has a neo-noir style to it, that makes the rough British neighbourhood pop. Randall presents Tom’s powers in a way that’s easy to grasp and progresses the story along, even if the powers do get ridiculous at times.
My biggest issues with the film came mostly in the third act. As Tom gets more powerful, iBoy looses the slight bit of realism it was clinging to. There are moments that will have you rolling your eyes at how implausible the action becomes. Also in the final scenes, the big bad villain shows up and he fell flat for me, he was cliche, not intimidating and all round boring.
I realised about halfway through watching iBoy, that if you take out the superhero/vigilante gimmick, this would be a fantastic drama. I was immediately invested in both Bill Milner and Maisie Williams’ characters, it’s well made, tense and had some powerful scenes. Most of the issues come from the script jumping the shark and if you can’t by into the stupid premise set up in the beginning, then you won’t make it through this film. If you take away the ‘i’, then Boy probably would have been an excellent film, I’d be raving about. And that’s another thing ‘iBoy’ is the lamest name ever! Bit of advice to any aspiring superheroes out there, don’t call yourself iBoy.
Overall I enjoyed iBoy more than I thought I would but I didn’t exactly have high expectations. Maisie Williams is the reason to watch this film and I’d be surprised if we don’t see Bill Milner in big projects soon.