Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Here's another movie about a young vigilante hero, like "Super" or "Kick-Ass," but darker, more brooding and without the easy payoffs. "Boy Wonder" takes itself more seriously and plays more like a psychological thriller about a young man driven to extremes. Any connection between the title and Batman's sidekick is purely ironic.
The most essential element is the performance by Caleb Steinmeyer, as Sean, a quiet high school student who was traumatized as a child by witnessing his mother being murdered by a car jacker. He lives in a truce with his father (Bill Sage), a recovering alcoholic, who sometimes beat Sean's mother while the boy was watching. His dad has changed and apologized, but the damage has been done.
Sean gets straight As in school and is capable, in some scenes, of startling us by the depth of his unexpected knowledge. He is introverted, withdrawn, bottled up. After school, he sneaks away to a shabby boxing gym and works out.
He doesn't become a vigilante because he reads comic books, or for any other facile reason. Although the movie premiered at Chicago's Comic Con, it has no connection with comic books, except probably for writer-director Michael Morrissey's noir lighting and framing, dramatized in the style of dark graphic novels. Because of its marketing, the movie has drawn reviews mostly from the comics-oriented websites, which find it lacking in a comic fan-orientation but don't seem to pick up on the deeper currents. I started watching it with moderate expectations and was surprised by how quickly I was drawn in; the movie works insistently on an emotional level. I don't care how plausible Sean or his actions are; for the length of the film, I was involved in how things would play out.