Director Peter Sollett (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and screenwriter D.B Weiss (co-creator of Recreation of Thrones) accomplish the practically inconceivable within the new Netflix comedy, Metal Lords – they make heavy steel cute. That’s not essentially a foul factor contemplating the film’s incredible performances and unapologetically affable tone. It’s a light-weight and breezy affair that doesn’t actually break new floor, however who wants melodrama or a lesson in adolescent psychotherapy when Black Sabbath and Judas Priest are on the soundtrack? Paying homage to 2016’s Fringe of Seventeen, whose narrative is free sufficient to incorporate the comedian travails of being an adolescent whereas nonetheless treating its topic with gravitas, Metal Lords is each an gratifying homage to adolescent angst and a worthy nod to one of many nice genres in music historical past.
Kevin (Jaeden Martell of It) is your typical highschool outcast. He’s diminutive, cautious to the purpose of squirrelly, makes excuses for the bullies that push him round and, like most outsiders, is greatest pals with one other social pariah, Hunter (Adrian Greensmith). Together with his lengthy hair, Slayer tees, and steely glare, Hunter would possibly look more durable than his pal however that’s only a smokescreen; they’re each petrified of the world. What’s real nevertheless is Hunter’s love for heavy steel. He not solely rips on guitar however convinces Kevin to observe on his drums; they’re going to begin a band referred to as SkullFucker and grow to be gods. However first, they want a bassist.
Of their hopeless seek for a bass participant, Kevin encounters Scottish pupil, Emily (Isis Hainsworth), as she unexpectedly blows up at their marching band coach (rock journalist Chuck Klosterman in a hilarious cameo), calling him a “fucking cunt.” Kevin discovers that Emily isn’t solely keen about enjoying the cello however takes medicine for a psychological sickness. Though there are some humorous moments when Emily is about to blow up together with her eyes protruding, the film is empathetic to her character and the difficulty of psychological sickness normally. She merely can’t assist her outbursts and sincerely needs to get higher. As they grow to be a pair, Kevin tries to persuade Hunter to let Emily within the band, nevertheless it’s a tough no, as he feels threatened by his good friend’s new love curiosity. Together with his energy waning over their friendship, Hunter descends right into a self-imposed exile and despair. Will Kevin and Hunter restore their lifelong friendship? Can Hunter and his booze-guzzling, douche of a father ever get alongside? Will Kevin understand he’s received a girlfriend and cease being tempted to hang around with the “cool” children?
Though it would sound like an episode of Euphoria, Sollett retains the story flowing with a spirited momentum which by no means stops to brighten the darker moments. The filmmakers even have a knack for injecting some fantasy into the narrative. Like when Hunter actually floats over a crowd whereas shredding on his guitar ala Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. This sequence, which may’ve made the film really feel parodic and maudlin, is definitely type of endearing and humanist in Sollett’s succesful fingers.
Weiss’ script touches on topics comparable to psychological sickness, alcoholism, and unbridled teenage angst, however he’s extra concerned about music and the way it can act as each a shelter from the storm and a conduit to self-knowledge. To assist convey that message, Netflix foot the invoice for one hell of a soundtrack, which incorporates Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Weapons N’ Roses, and Iron Maiden. Rage Towards the Machine’s Tom Morello, who additionally makes a cameo alongside Kirk Hammett and Rob Halford, served as government music producer.
Sadly, the film suffers from some clunky moments and flat jokes that aren’t solely pressured however preserve us at arm’s size from the characters’ internal lives. The second act particularly dips in momentum and opts for cartoonish situations as an alternative of peeling again some layers and taking us to extra profound locations. At instances, you want the filmmakers would break their very own guidelines, as any respectable metalhead would do, and darken shit up a bit of. Because of this, the film feels extra sing-along than Slayer, tone-wise. However even when each joke doesn’t land and the drama is a bit of spongy, the filmmakers’ apparent ardour for the music propels the narrative into some fascinating and surprising locations.
Metal Lords works greatest when it squeezes all of the comedian juice from a style that’s equally cherished and maligned. With its Satanic imagery, homoeroticism and masculine bravado, heavy steel is rife for comedian potentialities, and the filmmakers take full benefit of it. When you haven’t seen, heavy steel can take itself a bit of severely; however then once more so do youngsters, and therein lies the connection this film celebrates.