Netflix’s iBoy presents a new breed of superhero film for the iPhone generation

While the title borders on the silly – it is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by British author Kevin Brooks.

Bill Milner and Maisie Williams in iBoy. Courtesy Netflix
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Is anyone going to buy "Arya Stark" as a damsel in distress? It might be a stretch. After all, we've watched Maisie Williams – who made her professional acting debut in Game of Thrones in 2011 at the age of 14 – grow from daddy Eddard's spirited tomboy daughter into a cunning and skilled murderess who could single-handedly whack most of Westeros.

In fact, even just seeing her in a new movie wearing contemporary clothing and speaking with a modern accent is jarring.

We will find out how well she can play a more vulnerable character when iBoy – an original superhero film in which she plays Lucy, a teenage girl attacked by a sadistic street gang – is released on Netflix this Friday (January 27).

It is the first British film to be fully financed by the streaming service.

While the title borders on the silly – it is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by British author Kevin Brooks – it refers to Tom (Bill Milner), an average, nerdy teenager, who finds himself dodging bullets to protect Lucy, his best friend and crush.

“It’s an urban-y sci-fi sort of superhero thing,” says Milner. “It’s about a kid who gets a power where he can control computers after an accident.

“Even though it’s a ridiculous, superhero storyline, there’s an element of realness, which was so great. It makes you really believe in this ridiculous storyline.”

In his attempt to be a hero, Tom discovers there is nothing like a bullet to the cranium to get a reality upgrade, thanks to fragments of a shattered smartphone that are embedded his brain.

When he awakens from a coma, he realises he has developed a strange set of superpowers: the ability to “see” the internet and hear phone calls, for starters.

He is also able to control car locks, detonate electronic devices, send money to bank accounts – and even “mind-hack” the computer controls of a police helicopter.

He sets out to exact revenge on the gang as a vengeful hooded vigilante, described by Entertainment Weekly as "one part Mr Robot, one part Green Arrow".

In the trailer, we see Williams, as Lucy, in tears as she talks about her attackers.

“Never been the victim,” she says, then tries to comfort Tom by telling him that “no one’s mad at you for not being a hero”.

Williams turns 20 on April 15, and the English actress has already won a slew of awards and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series this year for her Game of Thrones role.

Fans also enjoyed her recurring role as Ashildr in Doctor Who in 2015, as a Viking girl who gains immortality through alien technology. She made her movie debut a year earlier in The Falling, for which she won the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Young Performer of the Year.

Milner, 21, is also from England. He is best known for his roles in Son of Rambow (2007), and as Edward, alongside Michael Caine, in the 2008 comedy Is Anybody There?

iBoy also stars double Golden Globe-winner and Oscar- nominee Miranda Richardson (Blackadder, Enchanted April, Fatherland) and Rory Kinnear, the Olivier Award-winning actor best known as M's Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner, in Bond movies Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre, and his role as one of Frankenstein's creatures in TV horror-drama Penny Dreadful.

Side projects such iBoy are presumably Williams's way of preparing for life after Game of Thrones.

The seventh season will be broadcast this summer, with the final season to follow next year. She is already looking forward to her post-Thrones career.

"It needs to happen organically," she told Deadline Hollywood recently.

“Everything that’s happened in my career so far has happened really organically, and that’s the thing I’m going to take with me.

“But when the time is right, I know I’ll be able, as an actor, to create a new character and have the confidence to do that.”

iBoy will be available on Netflix from Friday (January 27)

artslife@thenational.ae