Of the possibility of redemption The invisible boy it doesn’t even have one, let alone its sequel, even more sketchy and shabby. But in the cinema no silver lining. You can learn a lot even from failures, just do a reverse engineering job. Starting from the mistakes, identifying them, and putting them in a sandbox from which they can never be taken out again. Gabriele Salvatores’ project struggled a lot to read itself inside, to understand its mistakes, and therefore to find a real reason for being. An even more wrong sequel wouldn’t have come if it hadn’t been like this.
However, it’s not said that we can’t do it, and it’s not said that Italian directors and producers haven’t done it who, fortunately, haven’t followed the path. It’s amazing, for example, that only a year later it came out They called him Jeeg Robot. The opposite case a The invisible boy. That is exactly what had to be done to make a local cinecomic.
In the same way, it should be noted that Italian cinema has dealt very little with superheroes in the following years. Probably for a lesson learned that saved so many more down the drain and so many other frustrations. Or for the trauma of a failure that scared us so much. It is therefore useful to review, from time to time, all the Dont hey Be Careful that we learned from the movie not to make the same mistakes. However, it must be done by looking at it, with patience, on Amazon Prime videos.
A little humility
The first thing the invisible boy didn’t understand is that cinecomics aren’t easy to make! There was a time when, in a totally unjustified way, a certain superiority was everywhere in the air. As if, without saying it explicitly, the genre well rooted in the production of the United States were looked at as a sloppy thing, without sensitivity, an incomprehensible fashion. And among the authors there was that (right) desire for a challenge. A sort of David against Goliath where it was believed that we would surely triumph thanks to our “European sensibility”. It wasn’t like that. Obviously.
The reason is that the comparison bar, even if it is not easy to admit for the cinema of the authors, is extraordinarily high. The cinecomic had time to be born, grow, mature in the depth of its cinematographic scope. And only there we decided to challenge him. When it was at its peak.
The Story of the Boy invisible communicates two opposite things: the desire to overcome a model of American supermanism, muscular and adolescent, to bring him back to his original destination for children. It apparently wants to distance itself, to be original and very personal, well located in Italy, but then it suffocates itself with quotations, or rather, emulations.
However, the film goes on a desperate search for symbols (a choice that seems typically American to us) finding them in a way that flirts with parody. It recovers exactly the imaginary from which it wants to get away. The diversity of the X-Men told, in the 70s, a whole emotional and cultural change in the population. Minorities became protagonists. Revisiting the language of these stories as applied to a pre-teen who simply gets embarrassed and wants to disappear is jarring to say the least. There is also a conspiracy, secret experiments, a hidden society without charm.
There is a lot of Peter Parker in the protagonist, yet Michele Silenzi looks like a child who cannot exist anywhere in the world. Him densely naive, falsely intelligent, with artificial feelings written by adults who imitate what they think is the emotional world of the little ones. The obsession with costumes is mocked, and even the Batman symbol becomes a squiggle resembling an emoticon. Surely it’s not funny and contrary to his parodic tone he’s even given a moment that should have been emotional. The culmination of a hero’s origin, the call to action!
The importance of having few but valid and clear ideas
Superhero origin stories are usually super simple. If anything, it is their continuation that is filled with twists. Neither The invisible boy instead, endless twists accumulate. The discovery of the adoption could very well have been the plot twist of the sequel. Instead, Salvatores is directing a film essentially for children, but he complicates it more than necessary, hoping to reach the older ones as well.
The other thing you can learn from The invisible boy and that the scenography is part of the fun. They called him Jeeg Robot he used Rome in a fantastic key, while maintaining its concreteness. Here, however, the background of Trieste is always a step back, secondary. You don’t believe for a moment that something magical can happen in those places. At one point a child says: “we too have our superhero!” But before that everyone acted like they’ve never seen one. In fact they are also reproached that they do not exist. Even worse, then, the line becomes one of many programmatic jokes that seem to have come more from the marketing department than the screenwriting department.
The Invisible Boy would like to be a teacher’s film
For the message of an educational film to reach the story must be at least exciting. It’s true that American comics have always talked about many topics close to readers, such as bullying, crime, patriotism, love… But it works because the scale is totally disproportionate. Because there is a nuanced writing and, in the best cases, because they have something new to say (here, however, well-known concepts are reiterated). In Stan Lee’s stories there is the adrenaline of a cosmic danger and the more intimate aspect, for example, of a job that has to be kept to pay the rent after a demigod is defeated. Here the adrenalin is rejected, the excitement of superpowers and their enactment rejected as vulgar.
The invisible boy thus he starts from his metaphor and does not detach himself from it. It therefore always seems very small. Even when it opens up to a global story, it’s little more than an anti-bullying commercial. It could have been at least engaging, if it hadn’t brought every action back to its stereotype. Michele, invisible, looks at girls the way no teenager ever would. Bullies are never fearsome thugs and necessarily have problems in the family (!). What an abyss compared to a Spider-Man in which the stereotypical Flash Thompson becomes an obnoxious classmate with a non-threatening physique, but bad temper.
Filmed for screening in schools, The invisible boy he was more concerned with pleasing those who would adopt him as a tool for debate than with being entertainment for his first audience. It is perfect for being seen on the IWB and for inflicting students with a series of rhetorical questions to talk about the problems of the classroom and adolescence. Yet this is where he makes his biggest mistake.
Because, while not loving the genre from which he draws his imagination at all, he seeks a new authenticity of feelings and staging. However, he forgets to tell the real generation, the real kids who would like to be invisible, and the real difficulties of growing up. He thus makes it a very comforting story for adults, incomprehensible for young people, invisible for cinema.