3-Stars - Wholesome
We usually don't explore the pressure that is put on children from good families. Focusing instead on children who grow up in dysfunctional families, it is easy to forget that all childhoods have their struggles. So how do you follow in the footsteps of super-parents - parents who have accomplished the seemingly impossible and expect the same from you? If you find that you don't have their abilities, do you fake it and try anyway? Do you reject them and take an opposite path? Or are you honest with them and find your own strength? These questions are explored in the visual comic book by Mike Mitchell called "Sky High."
The central figure of this coming-of-age film is Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), the only son of the two most powerful superheroes in the world: The Commander, Steve Stronghold (Kurt Russell) and his wife Josie, also known as Jetstream (Kelly Preston). As he begins high school with other superheroes' kids at Sky High, Will must face for the first time the fact that he has no super-powers. Having faked this fact for some time with his overly-busy parents, the humiliating ceremony of deciding who is a Hero and who is a Side-kick defines him.
The obvious analogy is what makes the film work as a comic tale. It is assumed that, because Will has parents with super abilities, he will as well. Parents who are successful in life often assume, as do The Commander and Jetstream, that their children will not only join them in their success but may in fact be even more powerful than they are, since both their strengths are combined. In this case, they expect Will to have the strength of his father and the ability to fly like his mother.
But Will has neither. The only other super child this has ever happened to has been relegated to being the bus driver for this school in the clouds.
But Will's relegation to being one of the sidekicks reveals a wonderful life lesson. When needed, it is the sidekick's less-than-hero abilities that save the day. It is also in the hour of need that it is discovered that Will does in fact have the abilities to be a hero, they just had not come to maturity until they were needed.
Both of these lessons are helpful for children of successful parents. Success comes in a variety of forms and all are needed as we live and work together with one another in this world. It is also true that we never know our capabilities until we find ourselves being called upon to do something we didn't think we could do. It is then that we may find we are far more capable than we realized.
Sky High is a comic tale in the old tradition with a moral that not only children can appreciate but adults can as well.
- Have you ever experienced the pressure of trying to live up to your parent's success? What did this do to you? How did you respond?
- Coming from such superheroes, it is interesting that Will seems to be so well-grounded and respectful toward all people. Where do you think he got this maturity?
- The love of his best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) is innocent and unconditional. Have you ever had the love of such a person? If so, how did this strengthen you? Do you think her power over natural-life was symbolic of the power to help him grow?
- The granting of honor to the "side-kicks" by the Commander and Jetstream was a fitting end to this comic tale. Do you believe that such successful people would be that aware in real life of those in supporting roles?