Like the protagonists in Defendor and Kick-Ass, in Boy Wonder, an ordinary person with no powers or extraordinary abilities decides to take criminal confrontation and apprehension matters into his own hands in and under the surly streets of New York City.
In all three films, the protagonist feels an overwhelming need to act in the name of justice – in Boy Wonder’s case – his own version of justice. All three wear various costumes and outfits yet the only one actually acclimated for crime fighting is Boy Wonder. Unlike Defendor’s zeal without mental or physical competency and Kick-Ass’s superhero aspirations generated from a comic book artist’s pen, Sean Donovan (Caleb Steinmeyer) has been training in boxing and hand-to-hand combat for sometime.
The gloss of Kick-Ass is completely wiped away in Boy Wonder as is the glamor and rewards of vigilantism. Boy Wonder is dark but it does not have the grime, murkiness of humanity to the extent that Defendor surprisingly does, though it is present to a certain extent.
In Boy Wonder, Sean wants to bring a level of justice to the streets that he deems is missing. In this respect, Boy Wonder’s actions mimic those of Judge Dredd and The Punisher, a variation on the mind/internal workings of these two stewards of justice. Both Dredd and Punisher summary execute criminals on the spot if they deem it necessary or the situation calls for such extreme action. Boy Wonder – if that is his official underworld moniker – does so as well.
Though there are multiple fight scenes in Boy Wonder, the fight scene on the train is the most memorable in the film. This notability does not stem from the bludgeoning brutality of the altercation alone. It is also derived from watching Sean “jock up” for the confrontation like Batman’s Robin, augmenting his punching power with brass knuckles (a nice touch).
The ending to this scene was idiotic: Teresa Ames (Zulay Henao), a female detective, gives chase to Boy Wonder. He’s running flat out yet Ames is lightly jogging in pursuit. How was she expecting to catch him when their paces are so drastically different? An avid Law & Order/modern war film viewer will instantly see that something was off with the chase. It was a cinematic blunder but one of the few in the film. The intuitive viewer will ask: Why is she running so cautiously for? It wasn’t a gun assault or even a knifing. She’s the one with the firearm yet is running with her firearm down and not up at eye level? Ames used to be a soldier before she started acting. Who runs into a combat situation with their weapon down? It was painfully obvious that Ames was not meant to catch Sean at that point in the film but it was made so obvious that fireworks could have been set off to signify the fact.
Sean Donovan’s mental status is brought up as questionable as he seems to see things that are not really there. That is why the viewer will be uncertain if Sean is really taking a certain illegal drug or not. Whether he is mental cohesive or not, taking drugs or not, these questions add new dimensions to Sean’s character, as did his ability to speak Chinese.
The flashbacks of family were good as was the present day scene where Terry Donovan (Bill Sage) makes himself not buy beer in a supermarket and how that is connected to his and his family’s dark past.
The perpetration of the final death in the film was ingenious and the scene was orchestrated and performed as though its producers were upperclass men in the film world. Good writing by writer/director Michael Morrissey and acting by James Russo.
Michael Morrissey’s Boy Wonder is an underground, vigilante crime fighter movie of a few surprises in its narrative, characters, and especially its ending.