Shawn Mendes Wonder

Emily Woo ‘22

Shawn Mendes’ new album debuted on December 4, 2020, leaving fans in awe. Prior to the release of Wonder, the singer worked with Netflix to release a documentary on November 23, detailing his rise to fame and life on tour.


Shawn’s many fans were enamored by Shawn Mendes: In Wonder, but others may find themselves slightly underwhelmed by the documentary. It has all the key elements of a good movie: the feel-good story of an aspirational kid who made it big; a seemingly undefeatable obstacle, crushed; and the love story of two attractive celebrities; all combined with powerful, perfectly timed music and exciting crescendos. Still, something is missing. Perhaps it is that far too much emphasis is placed on Shawn’s celebrity status. Or, perhaps, it is that it simply lacks story, flavor, “oomph”, if you will. 


Ultimately, the documentary boils down to this: Shawn is a celebrity, and he really loves Camila. Grant Singer, the director of Shawn Mendes: In Wonder, follows Shawn around as he tours, capturing a glimpse of the singer’s daily life and a peek behind the scenes of his songwriting process. At some point along the tour, Mendes revisits his hometown just outside of Toronto. As he drives through the city, he reminisces on his childhood and marvels at how different the city seems now that he is rich and famous. While he is indubitably talented and accomplished, the documentary can’t help but come across as slightly arrogant.


A majority of the movie is spent following Shawn and his girlfriend, fellow pop star Camila Cabello. Anyone who keeps up with pop culture would know that the two are obsessed with each other. Nevertheless, the documentary ensures that viewers do not walk away with any uncertainty regarding the depth of their love. Shawn reveals Camila to be his long-time muse and idol, telling her that his songs have “always been about you”. Unfortunately, these words were unpopular with his infatuated-teenage-girl fanbase. The statement is cheesy but sweet, and Camila reciprocates the sentiment by showering him with PDA.


Mendes’ fourth and newest album takes on similar themes. He sings about the loneliness of stardom and, of course, his love for Camila. The album is not bad, per se, but the subjects are cliche, lacking the quality which makes you want to listen on repeat for hours- a trait that some of his earlier releases did possess.


Suffice to say, Shawn Mendes’ latest and largest step in his career is a bit underwhelming to anyone who isn’t already blinded by love.