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Saturday, February 04, 2017

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iBoy Review: Netflix's Latest Film

Oyetoke Tobi - Saturday, February 04, 2017

In 2017, there have been lots of films premises that have been released throughout time. List of released interesting and promising Netflix films have been increasing. One of the list is the Netflix's latest original film "iBoy", which is the first superhero film to engage with the young and online generation. 

iBoy, has taken the title for the dumbest premise of Netflix originals in 2017 thus far. The protagonist Tom Harvey (Bill Milner) as a young lad who attempts to run away from a group of gang while making a call to the authorities and eventually got shot in the head which ends up embedding pieces of his phone into his brain. The incident eventually causes him to gain telepathic superpowers of controlling and manipulating electronic devices (technology) with his mind which leads him to a life as the vigilante known as iBoy.

After coining himself as iBoy, he attempts to use his powers for good to bring down a gang that is terrorizing his inner city neighborhood and violently assaulting his friend and love interest Lucy (Maisie Williams).

The synopsis of iBoy go as below
After being shot while trying to stop a violent attack on his high school crush, a 16 year old boy awakens from a coma to discover that fragments of his smart phone have embedded in his brain, giving him superhero powers. He uses this knowledge and technology to exact revenge on the gang responsible for the attack.
iBoy is based on the YA novel of the same name by Kevin Brooks and it is acknowledged for having some offensive dirty details within its pages. According to the story, Bill Milner’s Tom, lives with his grandmother in a gang-controlled area in East London after his drug addicted mothers passes away. Tom has a secret crush on Maisie Williams’ Lucy who spends the majority of the film suicidal after she is raped by a group of gang members. To make things worse, Tom walks into Lucy’s apartment as this crime is occurring and as he makes an attempt to flee he is shot in head.

Looking at it form a narrative standpoint apart from the Maisie Williams part, iBoy sounds similar to popular superhero films made in the past such as Spiderman. And, it systematically fall into tropes and clichés (common scenes), which screw the genre of film.

There is of course a foreseeable romance, betrayal by a close friend and a debonair, yet ruthless, villain who remains inauspicious and unseen up until the climax of the film.

iBoy concept is not something the audiences haven’t seen onscreen before, but there are certain directorial reasons that helps provide excitement and keep the movie from getting too stale.

The story is pretty much more organic than most superhero films. The story doesn't get to the artificial, grandiose plotlines that many superhero films aim, like rewriting history or threatening to end the world. Rather, iBoy goes for a less complicated approach, limiting the storyline to danger in a small inner city community.

iBoy characters are easy to recognize, not like those freaky comic book cut-outs. Tom is a sociable outcast who really wants Lucy to show interest in him and wants to see positive change come to his community.


The film also makes interesting stylistic decisions with its cinematography and music concept. The film uses sleek black visuals emphasized with neon colors and ambient electronic music to give the appearance of a digital world.

To illustrate the complex concept of having a computer inside of your head, the film projects whatever Tom can see inside his brain onto the screen. Often times, the camera takes on a first person point of view, which allows the audience to see through Tom’s eyes as he can analyze, decode and hack into any form of technology just by looking at it.

Regardless of these interesting and creative decisions, the decision to play within the traditional narrative rules of superhero films determines how creative iBoy can be.


In conclusion, iBoy is a solid, entertaining film that engages with our technology-based world, but does not do enough to break the narrative mold of superhero films to be considered a unique movie.



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