Apple+’s library may not be as fruitful in comparison to its competitors, but a recent weekly gem has appeared that is just what audiences needed in these unnerving and troublesome times. Into its third week, Steven Spielberg’s revived Amazing Stories has landed another episode which might be the best yet, hitting a little harder if only for the talent involved. It marks the last on-screen appearance from Robert Forster who passed away in October last year, taking a lead in another standalone story in the series entitled ‘Dynoman and The Volt’.
Fans of the original series for Amazing Stories that ran back in the mid 80s may already have got their kicks with what this new iteration had to offer. The first episode followed a love story that spanned centuries in ‘The Cellar’, while ‘The Heat’ saw two hearts briefly separated in a matter of life and death. This week ‘Dynoman and The Volt’ sees the late and great Forster as a grouchy old grandpa Joe to Tyler Crumley’s comic-book-loving kid, Dylan, who is still sketching out heroes and costumes, while his friends are growing up.
The tried and tested formula of an old dog learning new tricks being given a superhero spin in Amazing Stories is a great move, but the real power play is putting Forster in the role of Joe.
The two are struggling to get along under the same roof, until a special delivery for Joe arrives in the form of a replica power ring worn by his own favourite superhero from childhood, Dynoman, who possessed super strength, speed and flight whenever it was needed. Naturally this being Amazing Stories the ring grants Joe the same powers to both he and his grandson’s delight, but with great power comes great responsibility to be a good grandfather, which Joe soon realises is the most important duty of all.
The tried and tested formula of an old dog learning new tricks being given a superhero spin is a great move, but the real power play is putting Forster in the role of Joe. The bittersweet enjoyment of seeing the late actor having an absolute ball may cause some to get a tad emotional and it’s completely understandable. Shuffling onto the scene determined not to get help from anyone, Forster has the anti-social OAP down, but it’s seeing the spark ignite opposite his young co-star that the episode really gets going.
When the ring goes on, the fun begins and Forster is at the centre of all of it.Though the effects in showing it might be a little ropey (the super speed blur has a lot to be desired), the hero harbouring it all is the one really selling it, almost earning this particular episode to get a rewatch for his performance alone. The only minor setbacks are the cast around him that are a little jarring.
Crumley does have some chemistry with Forster as the estranged grandson but doesn’t feel as fleshed out as his grandpa. Decisions are made and plot twists unfurl that feel predictable but not earned. These are small gripes in an episode that is without question, the show’s best yet, tapping into what the original Amazing Stories such a treat, thanks to a lead that is still sorely missed. If you’re looking for some escapism right now, Dynoman and The Volt is the answer.