Secret Headquarters

Where I Watched It: Paramount Plus

English Audio Description?: Yes

So, what’s up with this new family film with this dull title? Well, it’s just something to put there. I don’t think they really had any idea as to what to call this film. Back in the 90’s, when live action kids films were hitting theatres almost every week, I’m sure this would have gone theatrical. But nowadays, most films like this don’t. Kids have no reason to come out for this if they can see Spider-man, and despite having Owen Wilson play a generic superhero, this film wouldn’t get kids to theatres. I would guess an opening weekend of perhaps 6M?

But on Paramount Plus, there isn’t a box office. Just clicks. So, this Spy Kids wannabe starring The Adam Project standout Walker Scobell might just catch a fire on streaming. Or not.

Basically, Scobell plays Charlie, a kid whose dad is a superhero, he just doesn’t know it. He just feels constantly neglected because his dad is always flying off to save someone somewhere, and always missing his games, and spending time with him. Finally, because of his birthday, his mom finally puts her foot down and makes Owen Wilson actually follow through on a promise to his son, so they start to spend time together, until he feels the need to run off real quick and save the world. While he’s gone, Charlie’s assorted group of friends come over, and they accidentally stumble upon the Secret Headquarters and hijinks ensues. There’s also your run of the mill billionaire villain for the kids to fight.

I don’t grade films like this based on whether or not they are a cinematic masterpiece like The Godfather. I realize this isn’t trying to do that, it just wants to entertain kids, and I think for the most part it will do that. The kids play with some cool superhero tech, which makes for some interesting action sequences, and kids always like films where they can outsmart adults. Plus, by roping in Wilson, thre’s a recognizable star for the adults, and a way to work in a father/son storyline.

It’s not my favorite thing this year, and it’s possibly very much a been there done that film. but, I don’t think it’s ever trying to hide that. It’s following a formula, and its goal is to cast kids who can act and are entertaining, put them in the drivers seat, and make the young ones at home dream of one day finding out their dad is actually a superhero with a basement full of gadgets.

If you’re an adult, with no kids, this film isn’t aimed at you. There aren’t any wink-wink jokes for the adults. It just wants to make kids happy. It’s Spy Kids, but not.

And for those blind and visually impaired viewers, whether childlike or not, this had some solid audio description that makes a valiant effort to capture all the elements of what these kids look like (because, if we’re being honest, it’s an intentionally diverse group so all feel like they can relate to at least one of the friends), as well as the superhero technology, and the action sequences. The Guard might be a boring name for a hero, but he does have some cool gadgets.

Let your kids watch this, it’s harmless. Or, watch it with them.

Final Grade: B

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