Teen Kevin doesn’t know anything about ‘post-death metal’, but agrees to be the only other member of his metal-head friend’s band ‘Skullf*ckers’. The duo now need a bassist to make their band banging and Kevin thinks the answer may be in the form of new girl Emily, who is grappling with mental-health problems.
Directed by Peter Sollett and written by D. B. Weiss, the 2022 Netflix film ‘Metal Lords’ might sound like it’s made specifically for metal fans, but it’s really just a fun high-school movie with music as its core theme. Actors Jaedan Martell and Adrian Greensmith play besties Kevin and Hunter who aren’t really popular at school, but hope to become music Gods through their metal band. Isis Hainsworth is the vulnerable yet adorable Emily, who plays clarinet quite crappily for the school’s marching band, but is a great closet cellist.
The casting directors have done a fantastic job with their picks for the leading trio. Jaedan Martell’s Kevin is a bespectacled sweet boy, who looks like a young Harry Potter (more like Daniel Radcliffe) shredding on the drums. Greensmith’s character Hunter on the other hand is asocial, selfish and mean, but thankfully he expresses most of his anger through his guitar and heavy metal music and surprisingly without indulging drugs/alcohol/smoking or well any sort of substance abuse. Of the three leading actors, Adrian is the only professional musician in real life and damn… he can really play the guitar like a star. Jaedan Martell and Isis Hainsworth on the other hand were coached for their roles and they do a pretty convincing job.
For those who aren’t familiar with metal music, it helps that Kevin’s character is pretty clueless about it too, so the story weaves in plot devices to enlighten viewers about famous metal bands and what the genre means to his friend Hunter. The makers obviously sneak is some very popular songs (expect some Ed Sheeran) and whole lot of pop-cultural references which keep the story entertaining. While the film looks it’s headed towards a predictable climax, there’s an unexpected little twist thrown in, so we get a more believable ending.
‘Metal Lords’ is definitely a fun tribute to the metal genre, but also a tale of friendship, first love and forging lasting relationships. For large parts, it’s a very relatable film due to its characters, especially Kevin, who might play the drums like a God, but is an empathetic human boy you’d want for a friend.
It’s a 7/10 from me.
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