Metal Lords Review: Jaeden Martell's heavy metal comedy is magnetic and makes for an endearing watch

Scroll down to see how we liked Jaeden Martell's heavy metal comedy movie, Metal Lords.

Updated on Apr 10, 2022 02:25 AM IST  |  363.3K
Metal Lords Review
Jaeden Martell's heavy metal comedy is magnetic and makes for an endearing watch
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Metal Lords 

Metal Lords Cast: Jaeden Martell, Isis Hainsworth, Brett Gelman

Metal Lords Director: Peter Sollett

Metal Lords Platform: Netflix

Metal Lords Stars: 3/5

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What distinguishes something as "metal"? At the start of Metal Lords, Kevin Schlieb (Jaeden Martell), the drummer in a duo metal band, asks himself this question. Is it a matter of dedication and sacrifice? Or is it about the devil? Taking it up with the man? Perhaps denim? Kevin may not understand what metal is all about, but their main vocalist and guitarist Hunter Sylvester (Adrian Greensmith) does. Hunter's ambition is to become one of metal's greats, but Kevin began playing the drums in a marching band just to avoid P.E.

Metal Lords' almost unexpectedly low-key plot revolves around the BFF-ness of semi-outcast youths Kevin, portrayed by IT's Jaeden Martell, and Hunter, which marks newbie actor Adrian Greensmith's first on-screen role (though you'd never think it). Given the lack of possibilities to hang out with popular groups, the boys plan to form a heavy metal band, with Hunter as the resident shredder and Kevin providing double-bass density on the skins. It's hardly surprising that they can't find another good bandmate at a school where distortion pedals are as prevalent as dodo birds, and their moniker – Skullf***er – isn't exactly a welcome beacon. This is also to be anticipated since this is a film that has more stakes than "Will they get a bassist?" Kevin and Hunter are tasked by Metal Lords with winning the school's Battle of the Bands. Emily, played by Isis Hainsworth, joins the scene at this point. Emily, a cellist whose abilities are only equalled by her social anxieties, unintentionally creates a split between the boys, and the plot becomes less about whether they'll win and more about whether Hunter and Kevin will even be friends.

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However, Metal Lords is a salute to the namesake rock and roll genre, but it also incorporates themes from the teen movie canon, such as bullies, drunken parties, precocious younger siblings, naive parents, drug usage, and sex. Metal Lords is also appreciative of the music it presents, including songs by Metallica, Black Sabbath, Tool, and many more bands that even the most inexperienced viewer would recognise, as well as more obscure death metal artists that only the most ardent fans would be familiar with. Even if you don't like metal, you'll find this movie relevant because of the young performers' strong performances. Almost all of the adults play minor roles, leaving the narrative entirely dependent on the ability of the younger characters. However, Metal Lords ultimately concentrates on all three primary characters rather than their restricted roles in propelling the story to its predictable ending. The picture may be cinematic comfort food, but its producers gain our confidence and hit all of the necessary beats along the way.

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The film also includes musical training montages as Kevin and Hunter prepare for the Battle of the Bands. These moments, which are reminiscent of sports movies, are entertaining to watch, but they also seem as though they are going to a different conclusion than the one shown in the film. Despite an amazing performance by Joe Manganiello as Dr. Tony Nix, a former metal musician and Hunter's hero, the last act of Metal Lords is the film's weakest link. I wish the film had spent more time with Manganiello's character or maybe turned this into a limited series to go further into some of these stories. Metal Lords goes quickly and doesn't spend as much time on certain glossed-over narrative strands as it could, clocking in at just under 100 minutes.

Interestingly, Morello also appears later in the film as one of the celebrity angels and devils sitting on Kevin's frail shoulders. It's a terrific part, not because of anyone cameo appearance, but because of how long the scenario lasts and how amusing it is to watch a lot of rock legends remade as role models. That's not a unique idea, but it's conveyed well enough here, so why not?

 

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To sum up, Metal Lords is a passionate, charming, hilarious, and true film that offers one of the finest stories about young misfits and their love of music. It may not strike all the right notes, but it nevertheless manages to entertain along the way. Metal enthusiasts may think that this film takes a shallow look at the musical genre in order to distinguish itself from comparable films, but this should enable it to be enjoyed by a far larger audience. Metal Lords seems real and will have you smiling the whole time, despite being relatively forgettable.

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