My original plan for this review was to watch it with my 10 year old daughter and get her opinion of it. Unfortunately 10 minutes into the film, she bailed on me and left me on my own to watch it. Doesn’t bode well when the target audience loses interest in the first few minutes!
The premise of the film sounds pretty cool on paper. A secret society made up of all second born royals, works together to fight evil with the super powers that manifest at a certain age. The problem comes when the story zips along way too quick for you to care about most of the characters. Peyton Elizabeth Lee plays the main hero Sam, who spends her time playing in a band with her best friend Mike and writing songs about bringing down the monarchy (ungrateful little so and so isn’t she). Her big sister is the one who is soon to be crowned Queen and Sam is constantly being compared to her, which makes her reject the system even more. It also doesn’t help that her mother is the current Queen (Elodie Yung who played the fantastic Elektra in the Daredevil series).
Following a spot of getting arrested, Sam is whisked off to what she thinks is summer school, but actually turns out to be training camp for the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, even one of the characters says it’s a bit of a mouthful. Once there, she meets her fellow teammates and they start figuring out their powers and training. Sam has heightened senses, Tuma can command people to do whatever he asks them, Matteo can control bugs, January can take the power of the last person she touches and Roxanne turns invisible.
Once the training begins under the watchful eye of Professor Morrow (Skylar Astin, who is the best thing in the film), this was where the film starts to uses ideas from other superhero films. The training room looks very similar to the X-Mens Danger Room, the music while they are training is very much Avenger based and you have the “can’t control my powers until a revelation” moment.
This film feels like a typical Disney series that has been shortend down to fit into film format. I think if they had done it as a limited series instead, they could have done so much more with it. The bad guy in the film is being helped to escape by someone and they signpost it so blatantly and early in the film that it takes any element of shock or surprise away once it’s revealed to the rest of the characters.
What gets frustrating is that you get all the usual stereotypes of a teen Disney movie. Best friend who gets left behind and feels left out, snobby diva character who only cares about followers on social media then shows a softer side and sisters who argue constantly and then realise each others position and make up. There is also a montage of them having a day off at the beach that feels like it has just been lifted from any Disney teen movie and changed the soundtrack.
This feels a little bit like The Descendents but without the songs all the way through. If you have kids that liked those films, then I think this will be something they can really enjoy. Like I said before though, it would definitely have been more interesting to have this as a series where you get to spend a lot more time with the characters and become invested in their background. This is recommended for a rainy Sunday afternoon when the kids are a bit bored. You never know, they might love it and it may keep them still for a couple of hours! I have a feeling this will go The Descendents route and have a few follow up films, but don’t quote me on that.