When I first heard about iBoy, I was quietly optimistic. I thought a British take on the superhero genre would give it a breath of fresh air it desperately needed. It certainly gave it a valiant effort and the film is OK but its highs are high and its lows are oh so low.
Starting with what worked well, the story doesn’t take its time to get going. The origin story, although vital to any superhero, more often than not drags on and takes away from the actual ‘superhero’ portion. iBoy avoids this by getting all the necessary establishment of characters out of the way within the first 10/15 minutes. Our main character Tom, gets the ability to control all electronic devices because parts of his phone get lodged in his brain. The film doesn’t even attempt to justify how ridiculous this is and probably for the better. It becomes an easy out for the writers when they need him to hack a phone or escape a sticky situation. They just revert to “oh yeah his super power includes blowing up other phones now” but never stop to explain how.
This wouldn’t have been so bad if the film was a comedy, but instead it tries to hard to be both a comedy and a gritty British film rather than committing one way or another. Makes the film very confused in that remark. iBoy also suffers in that iBoy himself is not very likable. I didn’t have many reasons (if any at all) to root for him. Similarly the villains seemed to lack any motivation at all beyond just being bad people for the sake of being bad people. The whole ordeal is very personal, it all takes place within a small subsection of a London apartment block and yet I didn’t feel a personal attachment to anyone bar maybe Maisie Williams character Lucy.
Lucy just so happens to be the best part of iBoy. Either she got the best standard of writing dedicated to her, or Williams does a great job in making her character stand out among an average crowd. She just so happens to be the bravest character and the biggest hero in the entire story, which is laughable considering Tom or iBoy is the title character.
I can’t help but feel iBoy had a lot of wasted potential. It’s okay but very flawed. It takes a lot to suspend disbelief and go with the flow. Even then when you see a progress bar for hacking a phone you feel like face palming really, really hard.
[I don’t have any 4.8’s to compare, but I gave Spider-man 2 (2004) and The Incredible Hulk (2008) both 5.0/10]