This movie feels like it’s a little too late to the party. It’s trying to capitalize on the superhero fad but also setting it in a dystopian future where teens must rise up. Both of those genres have been quite over-saturated, so this movie has an uphill battle to climb.
We’re looking at a future where all children get this sickness and if they don’t die from it, they gain some sort of mutant ability. The amount of abilities is finite, so they either gain telekinesis, electricity, extreme intelligence, or one of the more rarer and dangerous abilities. We follow Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) who is classified as an orange threat after she accidentally erases herself from the memory of her parents. She eventually finds a group of other teens (conveniently one of each power) and goes on a journey to hopefully return home and fix what she’s done. Her teenage teammates include Harris Dickinson, Miya Cech, and Skylan Brooks. We also have Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, and Patrick Gibson as significant characters.
Let me start this way. I was expecting to trash on this movie. The trailers looked low budget, the acting looked cheesy, and I was ready to go in and tear this movie apart. But that’s not going to happen.
Surprisingly, we get a fun adventure here. The only problem is that it’s not at all unique. This feels all done before, but it’s done well enough.
As a movie about people with powers, it mostly succeeds. The effects are good and the action can be thrilling. As a movie about a young girl who turns out to be some kind of chosen one who ends up leading the rebellion against a corrupt government, this feels a little too similar to other movies. It steals quite a bit from films like The Hunger Games (which our lead Stenberg was in) and Maze Runner. It hits the same beats, so it’s hard to really be surprised here. Technically, the movie was pretty great but this feels like a copycat and that definitely docks some points.
If you’re taking someone younger, like a teenager, this movie might resonate more with them and inflate the score, so consider that in your final choice. A pair of teenage girls behind me exclaimed “I really liked it!” as the credits rolled, so there’s that.
Like I mentioned, this feels too familiar. There are beats that could’ve come straight from movies like Divergent. If you don’t mind, great, but this movie does very little unique.
It unfortunately also steals the action scenes from movies like those, where very little action is memorable. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games but I can’t remember a single fight sequence. Here, when they’re able to tap into some incredible powers, I had high hopes for how these powers were used. It’s cool at times but still underutilized.
Also know going in that this movie is incredibly cheesy, like YA dystopian films tend to be. Lots of brooding looks and meaningful stares and even the required “I love you” after knowing someone for seemingly a few days. It’s a little over the top.
Considering how bad I thought this would be, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s got some interesting action but ultimately flounders by recycling moments from every other movie in the young adult dystopian genre. It all just feels familiar, though won’t disappoint if you’re a fan of other films like this.