I Am Number Four is supposed to be the new future of angsty teens with powers. The story revolves around a teenager with a special gift hiding out at a high shcool. There are other superpowered teens and people just like him, and they’re being killed off by a deadly enemy. But guess what? The hero just wants to be normal teen, but must rise to his potential and defeat evil.
After walking out of the theater, I was unconvinced of the quality of this movie, or it’s ability to be a new trend. I’ve has some time to think about the film since then, and here’s the breakdown as I see it.
–The first half was boring. I honestly don’t know how many more depictions of “normal” teenage high school life I can take from Hollywood, honestly. The characters were flat, and didn’t really inspire much empathy.
-The second half was pretty good, actually. Once the direction of the film went from “high school” to “fight each other super people!” it became watchable. If the movie had managed to maintain the energy from the second half, perhaps by cutting the entire first half, then they could have had something really cool.
But a movie that has two wildly imbalanced halves is not a good movie. The best comparison I can think of is Hancock. Hancock had a very enjoyable first half. There was a sense of fun and coolness that was associated with it. A screwup alcoholic superhero with amnesia that isn’t loved by the public, and the beginning of his rehabilitation and empowerment? Cool!
…Then Hancock did an abrupt reversal, and suddenly it was about ageless alien gods and angst and revenge and being shot and everything else that was dumb they could cram in. That’s why even though the first half of Hancock is great, the movie isn’t.
The same principle applies with I Am Number Four. An intriguing premise and a good second half does not excuse the boring, cliche, predictable aspects of the first half. It makes the movie “Meh.”
Have I mentioned that the director of the movie was the same person that afflicted us with Eagle Eye? And that the writer of the books is the guy who was nationally discredited on Oprah for writing a bogus autobiography? Not too stoked about it all, I Am Number Four. I am disappointed.