Over the last few years, superheroes have exploded onto the screen. Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse are just some of the many titles that hit theaters in 2016 alone, while series like The CW’s four-show Arrowverse have flourished on television. Netflix, in particular, has won audiences with their Marvel-centric TV franchise, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the forthcoming Defenders.
As we head into 2017, the streaming giant is poised to drop yet another superhero-inspired project, this time with the Adam Randall-directed iBoy. Adapted from Kevin Brooks’ 2010 thriller novel, the film follows a teen-turned-vigilante named Tom (Bill Milner). After a brutal attack, a gunshot wound to the head leaves shards of a smartphone lodged in Tom’s brain, granting him an array of superhuman abilities. He decides to use his newfound powers to avenge his love interest, Lucy (Maisie Williams), and take down the gang members that rule his local streets.
Now, Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for iBoy, which is set for release on the platform on Jan. 27. In it, Tom quickly morphs from average schoolboy to vengeful anti-hero, wreaking havoc on the thugs that shot him with fiery explosions and violent, action-packed encounters. Similar to Luke Cage, he’s an unconventional defender roaming the seedy underbelly of his city. There are also subtle callbacks to sci-fi linchpin The Matrix, complete with glitchy, tech-saturated visuals.
Overall, iBoy looks promising. It hasn’t had much in the way of a buzzy lead-up, but Netflix has found success with non-traditional promotion in the past. Just last month, it announced the enigmatic TV series The OA only days before its premiere, and the subsequent show fueled online chatter for weeks.
But while The OA had a relatively unknown team — creators Britt Marling and Zal Batmanglij had earned acclaim primarily on the indie circuit — iBoy has the added benefit of having a few familiar faces in its corner. Fans will recognize Williams from her turn as Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark, while supporting actors Miranda Richardson (Damage, Harry Potter) and Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful) have lengthy career histories. For his part, Milner isn’t a stranger to the screen — or superheroes, for that matter. He played the younger version of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto in the opening scenes of X Men: First Class (2011).
Of course, rolling out original programming is always a risk, but Netflix has proved itself as a leader in fresh content. From the looks of the trailer, iBoy will be no different when it debuts on January 27th.
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