There was always something magical about the early 2000s on Disney Channel whether you’re talking about shows like Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens¸ The Proud Family or their fantastic original movies. Nothing really stood out though like the teenage superspy cartoon, Kim Possible. The series introduced audiences to a character who is the product of Spider-Man meeting James Bond. Fully equipped with a cast of colorful and unique villains, a lovable best friend and his naked mole rat, Possible was a show that stood out and still stands the test of time to this day. Now that Disney is in full swing of their live action remakes of their animated properties, why not introduce a new generation to Kim Possible?
This version of the titular character is played by Sadie Stanley, making her acting debut. The film tells the story of Kim’s transition from middle to high school. Not to mention that she is also having to stop Dr. Drakken, played by Todd Stashwick, and Shego, played by Taylor Ortega. Though, it should be worth noting it feels like Shego is actually the main antagonist of the film. The film resounds with messages of female empowerment. Kim learns karate from her grandmother and she, along with Alyson Hannigan’s Ann Possible, join in the climatic fight. For an actress with few credits to her name, Ortega’s Shego is the star that steals the spotlight. She’s incredible during her fight sequences and her sarcastic demeanor remind us why we grew to love this character from the source material.
She’s not alone though. Stanley takes over the reins from voice actress Christy Carlson Romano, who cameos in the film, as the teenage superspy. For the most part, Stanley really pulls it off well. There are a couple of times within the film where it aims to hit for the heartstrings but the acting nor the writing can truly establish that emotional gut punch it’s aiming for. Unfortunately, Stanley just happens to be in a majority of said scenes. Stanley has such an infectious energy and joy about her that you can’t help but love her. This film manages to do what the cartoon series failed to and that’s to make it personal. Fans can argue that’s why Peter Parker identified with fans so much was because he was relatable. A good portion of Kim’s arc throughout the film is her dealing with envy and loneliness – a feeling which the majority of us know all too well.
I think my biggest issue of this film is male portions of this film. Both Stashwick and Ron Stoppable, played by Sean Giambrone, feel two dimensional and overacted. Giambrone is striving to be a caricature of his cartoon counterpart to the point it’s painful. He feels a bit too forceful in his delivery. Though, he does become a bit more tolerable after the discovery of one naked mole rat. That’s not until nearly the third act though. Then, there is Stashwick. Drakken does get to use his intelligence within the actual plot of the film, but we rarely see him throughout the course of the film. When we do see him, he’s turned up to eleven for bad acting. The majority of the film plays so strongly on female empowerment, the film perhaps could have benefited from a stronger antagonist without Drakken.
Overall, Kim Possible (2019), proves Drakkon may have found something Kim can’t successfully do: a live-action movie. Though stars Sadie Stanley, as the titular hero, and Taylor Ortega, as back-up baddie, Shego turn in scene stealing performances; it’s not enough to save this one from self-destruction. The female empowerment aspect is strong and respectable, but it also makes it feel lop-sided. The male presence within the film from Sean Giambrone’ sidekick, Ron Stoppable, and Todd Stashwick’s main antagonist, Dr. Drakkon feel weak and overacted. Despite its flaws, it’s still an entertaining movie from start to finish and a must for those who loved the series. Perhaps, in the end, Drakkon does win and stopping Kim Possible in being the best she can be.
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