Star Rating:

Metal Lords 15

Streaming On: Watch Metal Lords on Netflix

Release Date: Friday 8th April 2022

Running time: 95 minutes

There is something about heavy metal that lends it to cinema.

The genre wanes in and out of mainstream popularity, making it easy for writers to conjure up underdog stories where the hero proves that metal is indeed, cool, and people need to open their minds to good old rock and roll.

'Metal Lords' takes shots at the watered-down pop-rock music of Ed Sheeran and Imagine Dragons but can't quite make the argument as to why metal is superior.

All the pieces are there for an old-fashioned "rock and roll triumphs over adversity" movie, but doesn't quite gel together as much as you'd like.

Netflix has given the genre their usual gloss of sheen and an expensive soundtrack to boot.

‘Game Of Thrones’ creator and writer D.B Benioff pens this charming comedy about two school friends who look to prove their worth as rock heroes.

The film follows Jaden Martell from the 'IT' series as the sensible friend to Adrian Greensmith's rock and roll frontman type.

Greensmith's character is a sholar of rock history, and gives Martell a crash course on the various heroes of the genre.

One sequence shows Jaden Martell’s character learning Black Sabbath’s famous ‘War Pigs’ on drums, and in that moment the film realises its true potential as a ‘Bill and Ted’ style history of metal for a new generation of fans.

The young cast are game for the material, and the script gives them plenty of famous bands to namedrop which they deliver with aplomb.

The chemistry between Martell and Adrian Greensmith drives the film, with Greensmith able to pull off the moody teenager who’s a walking metal encyclopedia with a potty mouth role perfectly.

Greensmith has one great sequence where he gives a retelling of various historical figures while playing various classic metal riffs, and he plays the gradual hysteria and progression of the scene well.

Adrian Greensmith is the resident metal expert

Martell largely carries the film on his shoulders as the more grounded friend, and his character progression from playing metal novice to a regular Lars Ulrich is fun to watch.

The cliché of the school getting ready for the battle of the bands is nearly as old as metal itself, yet the film updates it for a new generation.

With Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello serving as a music producer on the film, the film certainly has the chops (and expensive music) to bring viewers along for the ride.

Metal is a genre almost scientifically designed to seem cool to teenage boys, and the film captures that spirit of discovery well.

Posters of Pantera, Tool, Megadeth and the gang adorn the walls of the rehearsal spaces and having a list of essential metal songs recommended to you by your cooler friend rings true to life.

Much like a later-period Metallica album, however, it could have stood to cut a few tracks.

A romance plot drags the film down, as does a late second act character development that seems like a plot development for the sake of having a plot development.

For a 90-minute film, the pacing never really keeps a solid tempo.

The adult characters in particular feel like the disapproving authority figures in a Beastie Boys or Blink 182 video.

Brett Gelman (of 'Stranger Things' and 'Fleabag' fame) and Sufe Bradshaw ('Veep') are two great comedic actors with gravitas but are given very little to work with.

Gelman's character in particular is given nothing to do, and a running joke about his romantic conquests is as one-note as a joke gets.

‘Metal Lords’ also pulls the oldest cliché in the book when it comes to music films: there’s a rift in the band and they part ways halfway through the film.

The best friends splitting up and realising they're stronger together is a staple of every teen comedy, from the 'Jump Street' films to 'Superbad' and the trope is just as annoying here.

Eventually, the band realise that nothing is more important than rock and roll, and it’s all resolved in the third act.

'Metal Lords' is perhaps the perfect Netflix film; it has the same production values as a television show from 2009 with an expensive soundtrack, and you'll only remember one or two moments from its 90-minute runtime.

'Metal Lords' had a golden opportunity to sell a new generation on the power of metal, and while it succeeds in its smaller moments, it can't quite land the final punch.

Overall, 'Metal Lords' is more disposable 80's hair metal than the Tool album it strives to be.