In Wonder

Stars: 2.5/5

“I’m just a guy who likes music” is all we learn about Shawn Mendes. Not much else.

Before this documentary, I did not know much about Shawn Mendes other than he was part of Magcon for barely two months, has a few cute songs, and gets roasted by stan Twitter every time he shows up to the Met Gala in a basic suit. Throughout the years, he has given us several hits that the radio will make you tired of, such as “Stitches,” “Treat You Better” and “If I Can’t Have You.”

However, I find most of his lesser-known songs and latest album, "Wonder," more my taste and showcases how talented he is. His songwriting skills are impeccable. As a fellow guitar player, I’ve found myself stumbling upon his old covers to learn specific chords to songs.

 “In Wonder” mentions Mendes’s humble beginnings several times, bringing the viewer back to Shawn’s parents’ house in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. We step into his small bedroom, where he used to make vines and play guitars for hours until his hands bled.

The playing-guitar-until-my-hands-bled was one of the more memorable things in the movie. The documentary is riddled with failed attempts at relatability and comes off too forced.

This whole documentary feels like a hybrid of an SNL skit, dashed with Hallmark movie vibes and a filmmaker’s vlog on YouTube. I can’t put a finger on what is so uninteresting about this documentary, but there was not anything substantial to it. There is not a real conflict. 

Although, Mendes endures one of the worst things a singer can have: to lose his voice in the middle of a world tour. It is major. Tons of people are working to put the show on, tens of thousands of loyal fans paid and the backlash will be hard to overcome. Yet, several artists go through this.

It is not like BLACKPINK’s “Light Up The Sky,” where they were the first Korean act to perform at Coachella. Or Taylor Swift’s personal comeback in which she learned how to cope with perfectionism and discussed her eating disorder, her political views, and other major issues that impacted her life and career, in “Miss Americana” earlier this year.

Netflix missed the mark on this music documentary. They could have discussed more of Shawn’s life, his vulnerability, his rise to fame and how it affected him as an adolescent and his accomplishments. Many of the issues are discussed and dropped after a few minutes, such as Shawn’s Vine journey or how his friends keep him grounded.

One thing that “In Wonder” does is give behind the scenes of the songwriting process and Shawn’s workflow. That was the only real interesting part of the documentary for me.

“In Wonder” does its job by painting Shawn as the most modest, humble young man you'll ever meet. You will want him to succeed. He is relatable and down to earth. Shawn is humble, hardworking and polite. 

This documentary gets a solid two stars. "In Wonder" is nice background noise. Every now and then, Shawn says something that piqued my interest or was funny. This documentary did not do him justice. Instead of diving into the life of Shawn Mendes, it floats and doggy paddles into an array of typical topics. The half star is because I enjoyed Shawn’s personality, his hair and the guitars, to be honest.

Unless you are interested in random guitar playing, music-making, Shawn Mendes or visually stunning scenes, then you will most likely be scrolling on your phone and bored for the majority of “In Wonder.”

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