Sometimes you just see something go by and say “what the heck?” Such is the case with iBoy, a Netflix movie about a boy with a smartphone in his brain that develops super powers. It sounded interesting enough so we sat down to check it out without really knowing any more about it.
So, was it an interesting take on the superhero genre, or was it badly misidentified? Find out below the fold.Based on the book of the same name by Kevin Brooks, it tells the story of Tom, an unpopular high school boy who gets assaulted and his cell phone gets embedded in his brain. This gives him access to the Internet and control over technology as he tries to survive in the rough suburbs of London. He tries to use his powers to protect a girl from his class, Lucy, who he’s had a crush on for a long time, only to get into trouble with a violent gang.
This is really nothing new. You could have predicted all of the beats before you ever started watching. Tom’s powers are pretty undefined, he can seemingly do whatever he needs to do, from hacking into computers to, at the end, having full-on telekinetic powers. Why? Why not. And Tom is frankly not a very heroic hero. Granted, he gets shot in the head and suffers a traumatic brain injury, but he spends most of the movie, not trying to get justice, but to get revenge. I guess you could argue that he’s fighting for Lucy’s honor, but he does it in a very childish manner.
Unfortunately, there’s no consistency in how Tom’s powers are portrayed. It really makes no sense that cell phone parts in his brain make him a hacker extraordinaire. There’s no reason why he can do the things he can do, most if it seems entirely unrelated and because Tom isn’t a very moral character to begin with, a lot of that falls to Lucy, played by Maisie Williams, and she isn’t around often enough to be a good moral compass. Because ultimately, this is just a damsel in distress tale, with pretty boring characters. The villain is just a drug dealer with aspirations of wealth. Tom just wants to get in Lucy’s pants. Lucy just wants to be left alone. Tom’s grandmother is frankly boring, she wants to make up for failing Tom’s mother but really doesn’t fill a good mother role. I couldn’t identify with any of them and really didn’t care what happened to them.
So while it didn’t really feel like I wasted my time, I can say I have no interest in sitting through it again. Once is more than enough. Maybe if they had made his powers a bit more believable, maybe if they had gotten rid of some of the ghetto grittiness, maybe if they had made Tom more of a hero or even slightly likeable, I wouldn’t feel that way. But since that didn’t happen, I’m kind of blah on the whole experience. It was a movie. That’s all.