‘Code 8’ is a Canadian science fiction movie that can probably be counted as one of the smarter depictions of a world not accepting superheroes. ‘Code 8’ is essentially a superhero movie but without the usual save-the-world premise. Although that might seem to be uncharacteristic of its genre, that is what makes the film work.
Based on a 2016 short film of the same name, ‘Code 8’ can be streamed on Netflix, and ought to be on everyone’s list. The movie stars the cousins, Robbie and Stephen Amell in leading roles and their “brotherhood” is hard to miss. Apart from presenting a thrilling one and a half hours, the movie also sets up a carefully orchestrated world with enough openness to warrant further exploration.
In the speculative world of ‘Code 8,’ a few people possess superhuman abilities and are soon required to register their powers. They help build Lincoln City but get replaced when automation takes away their jobs. They find themselves becoming second-class citizens because of that, with the government increasingly controlling their powers due to the normal public’s fear of them. Drones and futuristic robots are used to enforce the law against the superhumans.
Connor is an “Electric” or someone with the power to generate and manipulate electric currents. He is an unregistered daily wage worker who finds it tough to make ends meet. His mother (who has cryokinetic superpowers) is terminally ill, and Connor needs to find a way to fund her treatment. He gets recruited by a man with telekinetic powers named Garett. Garett works for a criminal named Suttcliffe, who owes some money to a criminal organization known as the Trust.
After a failed bank heist, Garrett, Connor, and a few others plan on robbing Psyke, a drug derived from the spinal fluid of those with superpowers. Garett makes a deal with Sutcliffe to steal the Psyke from a police convoy truck in exchange for being his partner. Connor wants Nia, a superhuman with healing powers from Suttcliffe, in exchange for taking part in the Psyke heist. Suttcliffe agrees at first, but his men double cross Garrett and Connor.
In order to take revenge, Connor gives Suttcliffe’s hideout location to a police officer named Park. After Suttcliffe escapes, Garrett and Connor kill him. Nia tells Connor that she cannot heal his mother because she ends up taking the injuries/disease of the person that she heals. However, Connor forces her to come to the hospital to heal his mother.
Towards the end of the movie, Connor visits his mother’s grave. Garett takes over the drug trade for the Trust in Lincoln City, replacing Suttcliffe. A new law putting a ban on the “Powers” (what the superhumans are known as) is passed in Lincoln City. Park receives an award for his raid against Suttcliffe but does not seem very happy. Nia visits her father in prison, where she smiles for the first time in the entire movie.
The Ending Explained
Viewers might have multiple questions regarding the ending of ‘Code 8.’ Firstly, why is Connor’s mother dead despite Connor having taken Nia to the hospital to heal her? Well, Connor does take Nia to his mother’s hospital. Nia does use her healing powers on his mother. His mother does regain consciousness. But that is where Connor decides to stop. He has a change of heart and realizes that he cannot take the life of another human being for the sake of his mother’s life. He makes Nia use some of her healing powers so that his mother can regain consciousness, and he can talk to her one last time.
On the other hand, many viewers might also be wondering why Park is unhappy while receiving the award. Well, one ought to remember the scene where Park is shown picking up his daughter. This is when it is revealed that his daughter possesses superpowers. Since the superpowers are hereditary, one can assume that Park probably has superpowers too. He has just been hiding them for the sake of keeping his career afloat. Hence, the new Powers ban is something that he is not supportive of. It is important to note here that it is not clear yet whether the usage of superpowers of the superhumans have been banned or the superhumans themselves. The former seems more likely, but it is not confirmed.
Lastly, why does Nia smile? What is the significance of that scene? Well, Nia’s father owed some money to Suttcliffe, which he could not pay. That was the reason Nia is forced to serve Suttcliffe. However, with Suttcliffe dead, Nia is finally free of Suttcliffe. This scene has more significance, in my opinion, since it is capitalism, which is the real villain in the movie. In the upcoming spin-off series, ‘Code 8’ will tackle the issue of the super-wealthy of Lincoln City being in bed with the Trust. Moreover, it is because of capitalism that the Powers start to be marginalized when automation takes away their jobs. It is because of capitalism that the fees of Connor’s mother’s treatment are so high. It is because of capitalism that people like Suttcliffe need to take seemingly villainous actions just to survive.
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