Secret Society of Second-Born Royals Is Fun

Isabella Blake-Thomas, Faly Rakotohavana, Niles Fitch, Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Olivia Deeble, and Skylar Astin in Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. Courtesy of Disney+

Disney looks to launch a new X-Men-esque franchise set in the world of royalty by way of Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.

What does it mean to be a second-born royal?  For one, it means never acquiring the throne barring a death of an older sibling.  Will this mean acting out in life?  Sam (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a princess of Illyria, isn’t exactly the perfect princess.  She’s a rebel and against the monarchy so to speak.  To put it simply, she walks the beat of her own drum– or rather, guitar–with best friend Mike (Noah Lomax).  She’s certainly not her mom, Queen Catherine (Elodie Yung).  Nor does she behave like her perfect older sister Eleanor (Ashley Liao), the next-in-line to the thrown.

One of the things I love about the film is that there’s such a diverse cast.  What is supposed to be summer school for a few weeks turns into something else altogether for five second-born royals: Sam Tuma (Niles Fitch), Roxana (Olivia Deeble), January (Isabella Blake Thomas), and Matteo (Faly Rakotohavana).  It turns out that these five sons and daughters of royalty are actually training for membership into the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.  Leading the classes is James Morrow (Skylar Astin).  There’s a quip made by Sam during the film that refers to them as the Avengers of royalty.  However, I believe an X-Men comparison is more fitting given that they are born with these superpowers.  Sure, you can call them an Avengers-esque team but there’s certainly a S.H.I.E.L.D. comparison to be made as well.

But before they can have full membership, the five must learn to work together as a team.  The school wouldn’t be complete without it’s own Danger Room so to speak.  Nor would this film be complete without a training montage where we see the five learning to harness their own powers.  Before they can graduate, they must work together to stop Inmate 34 (Greg Bryk) from ruining Princess Eleanor’s Coronation.

The idea of teaming up people in random is not anything new.  What this film does is really change things up.  What if you took members of royal families and give them super powers?  Maybe it’s because the 15th anniversary still feels fresh but there’s somewhat of a Sky High feeling in watching the film, too.  Regardless, the end result is a whole lot of fun!  Even though this is a film made for Disney+, it could very well be the type of movie you would watch on Freeform.  It just has a certain kind of feel to it.

Outside of maybe Noelle and the dead-on-arrival Artemis Fowl, Disney+ hasn’t launched a franchise-starting film.  Until now, that is.  The whole idea of royalty becoming superheroes is also completely on brand for Disney.  How have we not seen the studio tackle something like this.  With Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, Disney takes the best of both worlds (princesses and Marvel) to create a new franchise.  If the end is any indication, it won’t be too long.  The pandemic will certainly factor with regards to how long before we see a sequel.  Time will only tell to see what happens next.  In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the show.

DIRECTOR:  Anna Mastro
SCREENWRITERS:  Alex Litvak & Andrew Green
CAST:  Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Niles Fitch, Isabella Blake Thomas, Olivia Deeble, Noah Lomax, Faly Rakotohavana, Ashley Liao, with Greg Bryk, Elodie Yung, and Skylar Astin

Disney+ launches Secret Society of Second-Born Royals on September 25, 2020. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.