"With Black Lightning, Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) aimed to provide Russian teenagers with an American style superhero movie, and it’s fair to say he achieved just that. Stop me if you’ve heard this one; a students life turns upside down when he discovers the battered old car his father gave him can fly. So the set up is pretty unoriginal, ever since Marty McFly took to the skies in his Delorean, there’s not a single one of us that hasn’t wished their car could fly. After his world falls apart he makes a choice and shoots from zero to hero as the hooded crime fighter, Black Lightning. Evil forces are watching of course, and they will stop at nothing to get what they want, even if it means destroying the entire city in the process.
Directors Alexander Voitinsky and Dmitry Kiselev lift the entire plot from the original Spiderman movie and replace the web slinging antics with a supercharged black Volga. There’s a mugging, wounded scientists, love triangles, and even the pizza delivery segments are rehashed, re-enacting the madcap city dash with a corrupt Russian florist instead. It all comes together pretty well but there’s barely a fresh idea to speak of. Thankfully we’re talking about an action adventure from the effects team behind Wanted, and the visual wizardry is at times incredible, with the final showdown set high above the city streets worth the price of admission alone. The love triangle plays out pretty well too, even if any right-minded superhero would have left shallow blond Nastya (Ekaterina Vilkova) to hail a taxi long before cupid got the chance to take flight.
Unoriginal, slightly batty but undeniably fun, Black Lightning is a lightweight superhero origin story that entertains more than it perhaps deserves to. It’s popcorn escapism of the purest form, with not one but two flying cars. I mean really, what’s not to love about that?" AW