At some point in time, humans with powers were used to build cities and the world. Then, with the advent of automation, they were replaced with machines that could do better than them. Eventually, they started engaging in violent crimes that forced the authorities to have them register themselves, and with the nature of the crimes, they could be banned altogether.
In the midst of this is Connor Reed, whose sickly mother pushes him to get whatever job he can to save her life, including criminal activities that involve the distribution of a drug known as Psyke, which is harvested from the spinal fluid of these same powered individuals.
This movie is basically a grounded X-Men: people with special abilities being ostracized, forced to identify themselves with the government, etc.. the special police force called the Guardians are basically the Sentinels in human scale.
The one that popped out for me was the phasing out of staff due to automation of industries. A valid one, especially in this day and age where technology is literally telling people: adapt or perish. Due to lack of jobs, many turn to a life of crime just to make ends meet, including going to extremes such as giving their spinal fluid for the creation of a hallucinogenic drug.
This follows the same vein as Project Power. Here, it’s closely tied to unemployment of powered individuals, and the creation of a cartel that the police are desperately trying to shut down.
To me, this alone could make the first half of a series.
Just like the X-Men mutants, the powered people in Code 8 are harassed, looked on with evil intent and always under police scrutiny, being forced to register themselves.
WHAT I LOVED
- The first sequence explaining how the powered people started out. I enjoyed seeing them use those powers to perform ordinary tasks such as construction. It actually makes a lot of sense to have them do the same, since they can withstand whatever comes their way.
- The grounded feel. No fancy costumes, no over the top CGI, just ordinary people with extraordinary abilities trying to make ends meet.
- The Guardians. The way they were deployed was just too cool for me. Their superhero landing in the trailer was one of the things that made me get the movie.
WHAT I DIDN’T
- There were too many subplots in this movie. From the main character and his sick mom, the drug dealer who owes a debt, the healer whose dad is in trouble and owes a debt to the said drug dealer, the police officer whose daughter may or may not be a powered individual; too many to count.
- Few likeable characters. I get that Connor was in dire straits, but I felt more sympathy for the shop manager when Connor allegedly threatened him, yet he had valid concerns about his mom screwing up at work(yes she was ill, but he had a point).
- Nia was probably the one I felt something for: being forced to work for a drug dealer who your father owes a debt to. Her backstory was something I wish should have been expounded on more, but the one and a half-hour run time in this movie kind of prohibits that.
- I feel as though it should have been a series: the first episode showing how the powered guys were conscripted into the workforce, the second showing how they were laid off and started volunteering themselves to be the creators of the drug Psyke, the third zeroing in on the MC and his mom, etc. too much was happening in this movie in too short a time.
AM I COMPLAINING?
Not in the least.
The movie is engaging, the powers, though seen before, are used creatively, and it’s high time we get films like these showing super powers in everyday use. If you’re into comic book movies heavily leaning on a down-to-earth feel, then this is for you.
Let me know your thoughts: How was this movie for you?
All images credited to respectful owners.