‘The Young Messiah’ devoid of dramatic tension

By: Aiyana Moore ~Staff Writer~ 

Photo courtesy of time.com | ‘The Young Messiah’ covers the New Testament basics as it depicts the flight of Joseph, Mary and their son from Alexandria in Egypt to Nazareth and Jerusalem, but critics claim it’s dull and minimally imaginative.

When someone mentions an origin story, it’s likely that most people think of characters from Marvel or DC. This time, however, Hollywood moves beyond Wolverine and Superman to a new kind of origin story.

“The Young Messiah” does everything expected of an origin story, aside from telling the tale of a comic book super hero. The movie explores the life of a seven-year-old Jesus of Nazareth (Adam Greaves-Neal) as he learns the truth about who he is and why he’s able to perform miracles that most people wouldn’t dream to be possible.

Although there is plenty of speculation about Jesus’s childhood, “The Young Messiah,” which is based loosely on “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” by Anne Rice, dares to take these questions and theories and create a film from them. Even though viewers know Jesus as the son of God, “The Young Messiah” provides a look into the life of a young, carefree boy who loves to run around, play with his cousins and snuggle with his mother. As it becomes clear that his powers are growing and the people of Alexandria start to fear him, Mary (Sara Lazzaro) and Joseph (Vincent Walsh) must find a way to explain God to His own son. While the movie is unique and gives viewers an uncommon look at Jesus’s upbringing, it does have several unfortunate flaws.

“The Young Messiah” struggles from the very beginning to build tension. Although Herod’s son (Jonathan Bailey) hopes to capture and kill the young Jesus, anyone with a basic knowledge of scripture knows that it just doesn’t happen.

Not only does Herod’s son not pose a threat in the movie, but he seems nearly irrelevant. He serves only to fill the spot set for him by the Bible as a commander to the more relevant Severus (Sean Bean), a Roman centurion who continuously spares Jesus’ life.

The only real threat posed during the entire movie is the presence of a demon who whispers nasty suggestions into the ears of Jesus’ friends and family. The movie never officially names the demon, leaving viewers slightly hung up on whether he was Satan coming to test Jesus early, or just Satan’s follower.

“The Young Messiah” may have failed to build tension, but it did succeed in offering Christians something new. At the very least, it was interesting to see how Jesus and his family might have lived during their long trek from Egypt back to Nazareth.