Entertainment'Secret Headquarters' reveals a too-familiar teen twist on the superhero formula

‘Secret Headquarters’ reveals a too-familiar teen twist on the superhero formula


The occasional head-scratching over why films get despatched on to streaming isn’t a problem with “Secret Headquarters,” a spin on superheroes that tilts so much nearer to Disney Channel territory than Marvel. The actual shock is that the movie was ever earmarked for a theatrical launch earlier than cooler heads prevailed, prompting it to land, unspectacularly, on Paramount+.

The reason for that preliminary distribution trajectory may be so simple as the truth that the movie was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who has an extended legacy of blockbusters. However all the things else in regards to the film has a teen vibe and feels scaled towards a extra modest venue and expectations.

The story simply boils all the way down to a fast description that displays the generic nature of the train: Teenage Charlie (Walker Scobell, lately featured in one other so-so streaming sci-fi/comedy, “The Adam Project”) is irritated by his absentee dad (Owen Wilson), who has cut up from his mother and by no means appears to be round.

When dad takes off for “work” whereas Charlie’s visiting, the child and a trio of his mates uncover dad’s secret lair, the haven for a superhero referred to as the Guard, who usually saves the world utilizing an Iron Man-like go well with that consists of alien expertise.

The quartet first revels in enjoying with their new and really high-tech toys, earlier than their snooping alerts a villain (Michael Peña, deserving higher) who’s after the Guard’s gadgetry to their location, setting off an prolonged skirmish over buying it. Nearly all of that unfolds inside the headquarters, giving the whole film a claustrophobic really feel, whereas the varied teen crushes – together with Charlie’s towards Maya (“The Child-Sitter’s Membership’s” Momona Tamada) – play out alongside the way in which.

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“Project Power”), who share script credit score with Christopher Yost and Josh Koenigsberg, “Secret Headquarters” possesses apparent parallels to Marvel’s latest teen-superhero collection “Ms. Marvel.” That mentioned, the idea borrows liberally from the style, together with components of “Jumanji” (the remake, not the unique) and “Shazam!”

Granted, no one has a monopoly on the sturdy fantasy of youngsters getting to avoid wasting the world, however that template has been used usually sufficient to warrant attempting to at the very least bend the mould, even in a PG-rated live-action package deal, if not essentially reinvent it.

A number of the components in “Secret Headquarters” are mildly nice, however the movie appears too content material to paint fully inside the traces. The ensuing image may be sufficient of a diversion for youthful youngsters, however even they gained’t be lacking a lot if what’s within the film stays secret.

“Secret Headquarters” premieres Aug. 12 on Paramount+. It’s rated PG.

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