I was pleasantly surprised by Secret Headquarters. I was expecting a completely generic superhero kids action movie, but I got a decent action comedy. It may not be perfect, but it has an undeniable charm to it. It is a solid kids’ movie, but one that you should only watch with your kids. It isn’t good enough to recommend to anyone outside of the target demographic.
The movie focuses on Charlie and his friend’s attempt to survive a villain’s assault on the world’s only superhero. Charlie is a normal kid trying to survive middle school while dealing with his parent’s separation and his absent father. Charlie’s life changes when he and his friends discover that his dad is the superhero The Guardian. Unfortunately, this discovery throws the kids into an ongoing conflict between The Guardian and an organization that is after The Guardian’s power. With the help of his friends and the Guardian, Charlie must now stop the villains from taking over the world.
This movie is okay. It isn’t going to win awards or redefine the genre or the medium, but it isn’t the worst way to spend two hours. The plot is simple, the humor is easy, but the special effects are pretty good. You will lose interest because the pacing is a little slow. A lot of the humor in this movie is designed for kids. Not all of the jokes land, but there are some solid references and double entendres that will offer you a good chuckle. The best part of the movie is its editing. The editing is hilarious. I love how it would cut away perfectly to sensor the cuss words. Your kids (if applicable) will have more fun with this movie than you will.
What helps make this movie palatable is the acting. The kids are fun and share some great chemistry, and Owen Wilson and Micheal Pena are a delight. The characters are given enough development to be distinguishable but don’t expect anything complex. Most characters fill an archetype; but they do well enough within those restrictions. The villains in this movie are exactly what you can expect from a kids’ movie. They are dumbed down and generic; Micheal Pena does his best.
This movie isn’t perfect. If you don’t have kids, I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek it out. If you have kids, it is a decent action comedy. Check it out on Paramount+.