A Movie Review/Childhood Nostalgia Trip Installment 3 :)

Hello, Blog world! The journey of delving into my childhood nostalgia continues, and so do my bubbly childhood memories. In all honesty, this series was perfectly timed in my life. As many of you here in blog world have showcased, I can relate in saying it’s been a little rough lately. However, this series, and the little boost of nostalgic childhood serotonin it provides for me, is the perfect perfectly timed pick me up. So, we continue with this week’s installment of Sky High. 

Now, the backstory: Will Stronghold, son of The Commander and Jetstream, the world’s most renowned superheroes, begins his freshman year of high school at the Superhero Academy of Sky High. Of course, in typical Disney movie fashion, all the tropes are there. There’s his best friend Layla, who is able to manipulate nature, and is also in love with him. There are the bullies such as Speed and Lash, superspeed and elastic stretching powers, respectively, and Penny, the duplicating cheerleader/entire squad. There’s his nemesis Warren Peace (fantastic naming choice) who can throw fire, and his friends in Zack, human glowstick, Magenta, shapeshifter/guinea pig extraordinaire, Ethan, who melts on command. However, there is also the nice presenting mean girl Gwen Greyson, a technopath. 

In addition to the traditional tropes such as Layla being in love with Will, Will ignoring her for the popular girl, Warren and Will eventually becoming friends, etc. etc., there’s also the situation of Will actually discovering his powers, which doesn’t happen until about midway through the movie. I actually think it was an interesting choice to cast him as a misfit first, it gives him an avenue for his redemption ark later. 

Now, there are definitely some problematic areas in this movie. For example, There’s Jetstream, who is literally nothing more than a supporting role to her hero husband. But most importantly, there’s the entire Hero/Sidekick dynamic. In this world, students are sorted into hero or sidekick classes, one of which being much more coveted, respected, and rewarded than the other; and I bet you can guess which one.  

This is obviously a blatant metaphor for discrimination/classism, and even racism/homophobia if you look at it in the right light. Now, at the end of the movie, the above named group of “sidekicks” save the day and start achieving equality, blah blah blah, but the fact that this was even a thing just doesn’t sit right with me. Though, I suppose it’s good that the writer’s gave it that ending, since that’s more than other films from this and earlier eras. 

However, there is also something good worth mentioning about this dynamic. It’s misfit representation. That, I know, is definitely one of the things that drew me to this film when I was younger. I was never one for the romance aspect, quite frankly it made eight year old me fake vomit. The power system, I of course, lived for, as I do for anything superpower related. But it was this idea, this picture, of people who didn’t fit in, people who were looked down upon, who were actual heroes that stuck with me. It was very reassuring for an eight year old outcast. 

All in all, some slight problematic writing aside, this movie is still a good one. It’s got that nostalgia/comfort factor, and re-watching it, I see why. It’s even got that uplifting message if you look close enough. I would still recommend it, though I’ll definitely criticize it, too. Regardless, glad I watched. Until next time, everyone! 

Sincerely, someone who still thinks Layla and Warren should have ended up together <3

Author: Hunter Nix

Life is full of unknowns and unpredictability, which is why we have Art. To cope.

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