Netflix's new film about a boy with extraordinary powers takes place a long way from the Marvel Universe.
Based on Kevin Brooks' Young Adult novel of the same name, "iBoy" follows Tom (Bill Milner,) who is -- according to Netflix's description of the movie -- "an average teenager whose world is turned on its head when a violent encounter with local thugs leaves fragments of his shattered smartphone embedded in his brain. He wakes from a coma to discover that returning to normal teenage life is impossible because he has developed a strange set of superpowers. With these new powers he sets out to seek revenge on the gang, who also assaulted his best friend Lucy [Maisie Williams]."
While the premise might seem bizarre at first, especially with its inner city London setting, the narrative strongly echoes the origin stories of both Batman and Spider-Man, both of whom became vigilantes after suffering the consequences of unpunished violence. And is getting powers from bits of smartphone lodged in your brain really any more absurd than getting them from a radioactive spider bite?
Judging from the trailer, the movie looks as though it will focus on the consequences of Tom's actions after he tracks down the gang. In a world where various smart devices have become such an intimate part of our everyday lives, "iBoy" could very well reinvent the super-powered vigilante trope for the smartphone age.
Starring Bill Milner, Maisie Williams, Miranda Richardson and Rory Kinnear, "iBoy" arrives on Netflix on January 27.