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‘Secret Headquarters’ reveals a too-familiar teen twist on the superhero formulation

CNN  — 

The occasional head-scratching over why motion pictures get despatched on to streaming isn’t a difficulty with “Secret Headquarters,” a spin on superheroes that tilts lots nearer to Disney Channel territory than Marvel. The true shock is that the movie was ever earmarked for a theatrical launch earlier than cooler heads prevailed, prompting it to land, unspectacularly, on Paramount+.

The reason for that preliminary distribution trajectory is perhaps so simple as the truth that the movie was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who has a protracted legacy of blockbusters. However every part else concerning the film has a teen vibe and feels scaled towards a extra modest venue and expectations.

The story simply boils all the way down to a fast description that displays the generic nature of the train: Teenage Charlie (Walker Scobell, just lately featured in one other so-so streaming sci-fi/comedy, “The Adam Mission”) is irritated by his absentee dad (Owen Wilson), who has cut up from his mother and by no means appears to be round.

When dad takes off for “work” whereas Charlie’s visiting, the child and a trio of his buddies uncover dad’s secret lair, the haven for a superhero generally known as the Guard, who usually saves the world utilizing an Iron Man-like go well with that consists of alien expertise.

The quartet first revels in enjoying with their new and really high-tech toys, earlier than their snooping alerts a villain (Michael Peña, deserving higher) who’s after the Guard’s gadgetry to their location, setting off an prolonged skirmish over buying it. Nearly all of that unfolds inside the headquarters, giving your complete film a claustrophobic really feel, whereas the assorted teen crushes – together with Charlie’s towards Maya (“The Child-Sitter’s Membership’s” Momona Tamada) – play out alongside the way in which.

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“Mission Energy”), who share script credit score with Christopher Yost and Josh Koenigsberg, “Secret Headquarters” possesses apparent parallels to Marvel’s current teen-superhero sequence “Ms. Marvel.” That stated, the idea borrows liberally from the style, together with components of “Jumanji” (the remake, not the unique) and “Shazam!”

Granted, no one has a monopoly on the sturdy fantasy of youngsters getting to save lots of the world, however that template has been used typically sufficient to warrant making an attempt to at the least bend the mildew, even in a PG-rated live-action bundle, if not essentially reinvent it.

A few of the components in “Secret Headquarters” are mildly nice, however the movie appears too content material to paint fully inside the traces. The ensuing image is perhaps sufficient of a diversion for youthful youngsters, however even they gained’t be lacking a lot if what’s within the film stays secret.

“Secret Headquarters” premieres Aug. 12 on Paramount+. It’s rated PG.

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