out of Five
Running time: 102
Sharply written, enjoyable comedy that deftly mixes the superhero and teen movie genres, Sky High is brimming with wit, invention and geek-pleasing cameos and references.
The premise of Sky High can essentially be boiled down to Harry Potter meets The Incredibles
with a healthy dose of X-Men
thrown in. However, Sky High is far from derivative, skilfully blending different genres and ideas to create a thoroughly entertaining family comedy that still manages to pull off a surprise or two.
Michael Angarano (from Lords of Dogtown) plays 14 year old Will Stronghold, the son of legendary superheroes, The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). Will’s about to start at Sky High School, where superpowered kids learn how to save the world. However, there’s a small problem. Will doesn’t seem to have any powers, something he’s too ashamed to admit to his parents.
Assigned to Sidekick class, Will bonds with his fellow geeks and outsiders, whilst still finding time to do standard teen movie things such as woo the school hottie (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and clash with the school bully (Steven Strait as Warren Peace). Meanwhile, an unseen supervillain is hatching a sinister plot.
Sky High is an extremely well written film. The script crackles with funny, quotable dialogue and the plot has a lot of fun with the usual teen movie staples. Hopefully, J.K. Rowling has a sense of humour, because there are also two key scenes that successfully spoof elements of Harry Potter.
The film is packed with likeable characters and the performances are perfectly judged. The kids play it straight for the most part, while Russell, Preston and the teachers (including Chloris Leachman and Dave
Foley) make the most of their comedy roles.
The plot is surprisingly good, managing to work in several heart warming messages as well as delivering a climax that is both original and genuinely thrilling. As a result, there are several crowd-pleasing moments and the film makes a virtue of its cheesy effects sequences.
In short, Sky High is a hugely enjoyable film that both kids and adults will enjoy. It’s funny, clever and inventive and it delivers pretty much everything you could expect from a film like this. It’s also a lot better than certain other recent superhero movies. Highly recommended.