Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Metal Lords (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Metal Lords (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: R 
Production/Distribution: Bighead Littlehead, Netflix
Director: Peter Sollett
Writer:  D.B. Weiss
Actors: Jaeden Martell, Adrian Greensmith, Isis Hainsworth, Noah Urrea, Brett Gelman, Analesa Fisher, Michelle Mao, Phelan Davis, Austin Huynh, Joe Manganiello, Teddy Van Ee, Aroon Nagappan, Kieran Thomas, Christopher M. Lopes, Rachel Pate
Blurb from IMDb: Two friends try to form a heavy metal band with a cellist for a Battle of the Bands.

Selina’s Point of View:
It’s hard for me to ignore some of the parallels between Metal Lords and my favorite film of all time.
SLC Punk (1998) was a love letter to the punk lifestyle and the music that birthed it. As a budding punk in high school, it spoke to me on a whole other level than most films. (I didn’t see it when it came out, it was a few years later.) It covered how the main characters got into the music, where that chaos took them, and where they ended up. On a more general level, it went into the very heart and soul of what punk was.
Metal Lords does the same thing for its music genre. There are some definite differences though.
For one, the characters are younger in Metal Lords. That means the R-rating represents the language a little more than anything else. There’s a touch of nudity, but anything sex-related is, thankfully, insinuated. 

Because the characters are younger, there’s also a lot more cringe involved. The teens are fighting their own emotions and causing a different kind of unintentional chaos. As a result, it feels like it’s for a younger demographic – although it’s really not.

That was the big thing that kept me from enjoying Metal Lords on the same level as SLC Punk. I hate cringe. I cannot stress that enough. Those parts of this movie really were not for me.
That said, the movie wasn’t made for me. I could never be classified as a metalhead. I do like my music loud and fast, but with a bit less structure and some base-level politics thrown in. I like to sing-yell at specific things, not just into the void. Though, I have nothing against metal either. There’s a little Pantera on my list, and I had a Sepultura phase.
Still, even without tapping into the nostalgia some of my friends might get out of this flick, it was decent. Just because it’s not unseating SLC Punk as my all-time fav, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.
A lot of moments really subverted expectations. Even in the end, when it looked like Metal Lords might take the road most traveled, it had a last ‘fuck you’ ready. I can appreciate that.
It was a love letter to all things metal. As a result, metal fans might enjoy it best – but there’s enough in there for people just looking for a coming-of-age story.

Cat’s Point of View:
Let me tell you – Metal Lords made my inner metalhead very happy.
I adored this story from beginning to end and found myself relating with the characters on multiple levels. Honestly, I don’t think you have to be a die-hard fan of the heavy metal genre to connect with this movie. Though, if you are – it’s that much more fun of a ride. The heavy metal music homework list that is featured in Metal Lords is a well-deserved shout-out to some classic hard-hitting tracks.
Metal Lords was one of those movies that made me wish I knew how to play real drums rather than the imaginary air variety. I just wanted to jam out.
There were elements of a coming-of-age tale, dealing with dysfunctional family dynamics, and the struggle of high school and finding your voice all woven into a slamming tapestry of sound and laced with humor.
The cast didn’t disappoint, either.

I was absolutely astonished that Metal Lords was the breakout role for Adrian Greensmith, who plays the role of Hunter. This was one hell of a debut and I hope he keeps up this impressive level of work. Isis Hainsworth (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Emma., Misbehaviour) really captured my attention with her performance as well. Jaeden Martell (The Book of Henry, Knives Out, Defending Jacob) was a solid choice and captured the heart of Metal Lords’ essence with his journey.
Oh, and then there’s Joe Manganiello (Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Archenemy, Koati). His scenes were more than just a cameo from a trendy actor that could fit the intimidating character. Metal Lords capitalized on his wry humor to drive home its message. Metal-loving kids aren’t fucked up just because they like noisy music. There’s more to that but I don’t want to give away spoilers.
Hats off to the production team as a whole, seriously. I loved the care that was put into everything. Even the posters on the wall were epic. Costuming was on point. There were so many nuances that helped this flick hit all the right notes.
Just keep in mind that while this story does focus on the teenage experience, there are bits that might make it problematic for younger audiences - primarily the language content. That’s really the only overtly explicit element.
I can’t wait to watch Metal Lords again with my family. (My husband is a bigger metalhead than I am.) I am certainly not regretting listing this on my personal Top 20 Movies Coming Out in April - I just wish I'd listed it higher than #12.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 83%
Metascore – 57%
Metacritic User Score – 7.1
IMDB Score – 6.8/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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