April 14, 2008

Superheroes Suck

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Superhero Movie, written and directed by Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3 and 4), is not in any way, shape or form a good movie. For what it is though (a repugnant spoof flick), it’s an okay time-killer, but nothing more.
The film is another in the long line of parodies that have hit theaters recently (Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Balls of Fury, etc.). It’s also consistent with the aforementioned films in that it shares the same style of cinematic suck. A smart parody is one that, while intentionally absurd, also boasts an abundance of wit. In the recent films parodies, though, the writers have tried to extract humor merely by referencing films, and also pop-culture icons, rather than sending them up in a witty manner. Consequently, many of the recent parodies are simply not that funny. Superhero Movie is much better than its poorly conceived cinematic brethren in that it is not boring and provides some laughs, but in the greater scope of things it is simply not very good.
As a disclaimer, just so that I do not seem like a cinematic elitist who drinks tea with his pinky out at Stella’s, let me just say that I enjoy spoofs when they are done right. However I do recognize when a film sucks.
Superhero Movie endeavors to make fun of several recent films in the genre from which it takes its name. The main storyline echoes that of Peter Parker in the first Spider-Man film. Here, the main character is a nerd named Rick Riker (Drake Bell); he secretly pines for the Mary Jane Watson of the film, his next door neighbor, Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton). Though Kristen Dunst is a way better actress than Sara Paxton, I cannot really blame Rick Riker for harboring such affections for Jill Johnson, given that Sara Paxton is way hotter. While on a class trip, Rick is bitten by a genetically enhanced dragonfly — he then discovers his powers and becomes … the Dragon Fly. The film develops the story through references to Batman Begins, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and, of course, Spider-Man. However, the movie basically just references these movies; there is no witty deconstruction of their themes, characters or scenes. That is, besides aside from being stupid just for the sake of being stupid, there is nothing funny about this film. All the humor is physical shock humor. Don’t get me wrong, I think this school of comedy can be funny (see every scene in Team America: World Police), but here it is not.
In conclusion, skip this film if you have to pay for it; if you have absolutely nothing to do, then watch this film — but only if it’s free.