The Last Champion
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The Last Champion

The Last Champion there’s a bit of magic sprinkled into director Jay Karas’ “The Main Event.” Trouble is, adults in the The Last Champion audience will have to go looking for it. This kid-centric wish-fulfillment fantasy from WWE Studios centers around a bullied runt who enters a professional wrestling contest after finding a super-powered and super-stinky mask. The film represents all the tenets of the corporation’s brand and suitably cloaks them in a celebratory, family-friendly guise. Only the execution of the catchy high concept, along the lines of “Like Mike” and “Rookie of the Year,” is a mixed bag. It’s nowhere near the quality of last year’s word-of-mouth sensation from the same studio, “Fighting With My Family,” but dispenses heartening commentary to its target market about the power of dreaming big and harnessing your own authentic strengths.

Eleven-year-old Leo Thompson (Seth Carr) dreams of becoming a WWE superstar with massive crowds cheering as he perfectly performs signature moves on his opponents in the ring. His walls are plastered with posters of inspirational wrestling powerhouses, and his shelves are cluttered with WWE paraphernalia (as if their consumer products department was the film’s uncredited art director). His wrestling renown only comes alive in his imagination, funneling out onto the pages of his sketchbook. In reality, his small stature, predilection for pratfalls and severe lack of confidence have hindered his career goals. He’s also routinely the target of bullying at school by a trio of mean classmates. While he lives in a supportive, loving home with his burgeoning social media influencer grandma Denise (Tichina Arnold), he and his car mechanic father Steve (Adam Pally) are like housemates, struggling to connect since Leo’s mom abandoned them.

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