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Sky High was a film that I’d never seen before; it seemed too much like a Disney Channel film to me. But, everyone else in the world seemed to have seen the Mike Mitchell-directed film and loved it! Did I end up loving it as well? Read on to find out!
And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!
The film’s opening credits begin as we get an animated comic book narration by our main character, Will Stronghold, played by Michael Angarano. Will explains that he is the son of two famous superheroes, The Commander and Jetstream, played by Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston, respectively. The two achieved fame in the past for battling supervillains using their super strength (The Commander) and flying powers (Jetstream). When they’re not fighting crime, they live as real estate agents, Steve and Josie Stronghold.
Mr. and Mrs. Stronghold have high hopes in their son joining them to fight crime in the future. But, there is a problem: Will doesn’t seem to have any superpowers! In this world, people gain superpowers either via an accident (like falling into a vat of toxic waste) or by inheriting the powers from their parent(s). Will hasn’t had any of these events happen to him and he keeps his lack of powers a secret from his parents. He’s busy worrying about something else at the moment: high school!
Will is set to start his first day at Sky High, the superhero academy where both his parents went to when they were younger. Mr. Stronghold gives Will the usual fatherly advice before Will leaves for school.
The Strongholds want to see Will off, but are called on a superhero mission by the mayor. So Will heads to the bus stop with his childhood best friend and fellow high schooler/offspring-of-a-superhero, Layla, played by Danielle Panabaker. Layla is incredibly nice and seems to have a thing for both plants and Will.
The bus is driven by Ron Wilson, a jolly and eager bus driver, played by Kevin Heffernan. After he picks up all the other superhero high schoolers on that block, he drives off a deserted road and extends wings on the bus allowing them to fly to Sky High.
You see, Sky High is a floating high school kept afloat by antigravitational technology. Its principal is Principal Powers, played by Lynda Carter.
She greets the freshman and informs them that they must be evaluated by the Power Placement process to determine which track they will follow.
The Power Placement process is headed by Coach Boomer, played by Bruce Campbell. He has the freshmen showcase their particular powers to him and based on what it is, he’ll determine if they will follow the “hero” track or the “sidekick” aka “Hero Support” track. It’s during this demonstration that Will’s lack of powers becomes known and he’s assigned to the sidekick track. Layla is also assigned to the sidekick track after refusing to partake in the process due to her personal beliefs regarding it.
Will is sent to Nurse Spex, played by Cloris Leachman, to see why he has no powers. She scans him with her X-ray vision and tells him that everything seems normal.
The only thing is that most of the sidekicks here are the offspring of one superhero and one regular parent. Maybe Will hasn’t gotten powers because he’s the offspring of two superheroes. She also mentions that the bus driver, Ron Wilson, is the son of two superheroes and also didn’t inherit any powers from them.
When Will goes home that day, he doesn’t tell his parents that he was made a sidekick, so they assume that he’s on his way to becoming a hero! Mr. Stronghold takes Will into the sacred sanctum, a private place in the house that nobody else is allowed to enter and where Mr. Stronghold keeps mementos of all the villains he’s fought. He then tells Will how one day he will join the two of them in fighting crime.
The next day, the sidekicks attend their first Hero Support class taught by Jonathan Boy aka All-American Boy, played by Dave Foley.
Mr. Boy (that just sounds weird) was a sidekick back in the day. Actually, he was Mr. Stronghold’s sidekick of all people! The days go by and Will along with Layla and other sidekicks they befriend learn what it takes to be good hero support.
One day, when he and his friends are studying at home, Will’s dad enters and Will finally reveals to him that he’s a sidekick. At first, Mr. Stronghold thinks that Coach Boomer did this as a sort of power move, but then he realizes that Will doesn’t have any powers. Mrs. Stronghold convinces Mr. Stronghold that the trio can still be a great family together even if Will never ever gets powers.
The next day, Will accidentally gets into a cafeteria fight with Warren Peace, played by Steven Strait.
Warren is the school’s stereotypical stays-by-himself “tough guy” who hates Will because Will’s father put his father, a villain, in jail. Warren uses this cafeteria fight to destroy Will as much as he is able to, but to no avail as Will miraculously gains his power of super strength during the fight.
The fight soon breaks up and Principal Powers send the two to detention (an area in the high school where all powers get nullified). And the news of the fight soon reaches Will’s parents. Mr. Stronghold is secretly happy to see that Will got powers, but he and Mrs. Stronghold make sure that Will knows he can’t use his powers unwisely.
Because of his newfound strength, Will is promoted to the hero track and soon makes friends with the popular senior Technopath, Gwen Grayson, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. A Technopath is someone whose power involves being handy with technology and Gwen most definitely showcases this! She seems to like Will and offers to be his private science tutor much to Will’s delight as he has had a crush on her since the first day of high school.
As the two start hanging out more, it affects Will’s friendship with Layla and the other sidekicks. The crowd Gwen hangs out with tends to look down on sidekicks and Will doesn’t seem to fully realize what’s going on.
One night, Gwen comes over to meet Will’s parents and help with science homework. Mr. and Mrs. Stronghold like Gwen and invite her to stay for dinner, much to Will’s delight. However Will had already made dinner plans with Layla at a Chinese restaurant, but he completely forgets about it!
After dinner, Gwen (being head of the homecoming committee) invites Will’s parents to the homecoming dance to receive a “Heroes of the Year” award to which they agree. As Will walks Gwen home, she tells him how she wants to go to the homecoming dance with him and the two make the date.
The next day at school, Will realizes that he missed his date with Layla and is apologetic. He then tells her how he’s going to the homecoming dance with Gwen. Layla feigns happiness since she was secretly hoping that Will would have asked her. She then tells Will that she’s going to the dance with Warren in an effort to make Will jealous.
Not long after, Gwen tricks Will into having the homecoming committee meet at his house one day when his parents are out, but it turns out to be a party where pretty much every superhero teen shows up. She even tricks Will into taking her to the secret sanctum. While there, we notice that a ray gun known as the Pacifier seems to have been swiped.
Gwen didn’t invite any of the sidekicks to this party, so when Layla is passing by the house later that night, she’s surprised to see a party going on. Gwen tells her how Will doesn’t want anything to do with her anymore and leaves upset at Will. When Will later finds out what happened from Gwen, he gets upset and dumps Gwen right there and then saying how he’s not going to the homecoming dance with her. Also, his parents have just arrived back home and order everyone to leave the house.
Will tries to patch things up with Layla, but she doesn’t answer his calls nor meets him at the Chinese restaurant. It’s there that he sees that Warren works there as a waiter. Warren explains to Will how Layla was just using him as a way to get Will to ask her out instead. Will and Warren seem to have patched up matters between them.
On the night of the homecoming dance, Will decides not to attend even though his parents have gone. As he sits at home perusing his parents’ high school yearbook, he comes across a picture of someone named Sue Tenny, who looks a lot like Gwen. In the picture, she’s holding a ray similar to the Pacifier and it’s only then that Will realizes that the Pacifier is gone! He concludes that somehow Gwen is Sue Tenny and that she stole the Pacifier when she tricked him to come down to the secret sanctum that night.
He then calls Ron Wilson to give him a ride to Sky High as soon as he can!
At the homecoming dance, Gwen reveals to Will’s parents, the faculty, and all the students that she is Sue Tenny aka the villainess, Royal Pain. She invented the Pacifier years ago to transform people into babies, but after battling Mr. and Mrs. Stronghold years ago, the ray hit her causing her to revert to being a baby. Gwen then had to grow up a second time and hatched a plan to get revenge on the Strongholds by stealing the ray gun to use again.
She then zaps Will’s parents, the faculty, and all the students (except for the sidekicks who have escaped) back into babies. Her plan is to start her own supervillain academy with these babies as her first students.
She then plans to destroy Sky High by malfunctioning the antigravitational device causing it to fall to the ground below. Will arrives in time to help stop Gwen along with the other sidekicks including Layla (with whom he’s made up). They manage to stop Gwen and fix the antigravitational device before it falls to the ground below nearly crushing Tom Kenny and Jill Talley’s house!
Sky High’s science teacher genius (although a baby) is able to rewire the ray gun to transform everyone back into adults. When everyone is back to normal, Will apologizes to his parents for letting Gwen into the secret sanctum. They, in turn, praise Will and the other sidekicks as the true heroes of the day.
Gwen and her minions are sent to prison. Ron Wilson falls into a vat of toxic waste giving him superpowers. And the film ends with a comic book style closing wherein Will explains how his girlfriend (Gwen) became his archenemy, his archenemy (Warren) became his best friend, and his best friend (Layla) became his girl friend.
And that was Sky High! Did I love it? Honestly, yes, I did! It was a LOT better than I was expecting it to be! I loved the uniqueness it had as a superhero film as well as the creativity shown in how a superhero high school would run. There were a lot of good effects and camera angles. And Kurt Russell, Michael Angarano, Bruce Campbell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lynda Carter, and Cloris Leachman all gave great performances!
Don’t get me wrong though; it wasn’t a perfect film! There were SO many plot holes and unanswered questions!
And Danielle Panabaker, Kelly Preston, and Steven Strait gave disappointing performances. But all in all, I enjoyed what I saw and can’t wait for the sequel!
So, the final score for this film is 32/35 = 91.43% (A-) !
The next review will be posted on August 28, 2018.