Electric Man 2012
This movie marks the first time that a filmmaker has come to me and offered a screener for a movie that actually fits the context of my site. Even though it’s not really about the exploits of a superhero, instead it’s about the exploits of a comic book shop and a group of people who are focused on getting this important and rare comic book, issue #1 of Electric Man. The comic is a fictional precursor to Superman, and in mint condition goes for around $100,000. It takes place in Edinburg, Scotland and has a very English mentality to it. One of the ways that it was described to me was “Clerks meets the Maltese Falcon”, and while that’s not too far off the mark, it doesn’t meet either the comedy of the first, nor the mystery of the second. It has plenty of fun moments, and some interesting characters, but it doesn’t knock it out of the park.
The movie mainly follows the two owners of Deadhead Comics, Jazz and Wolf. Jazz is the more nerdy, levelheaded of the two while Wolf is the slacker/ladies man. They owe 5,000 pounds in repairs to the building or else the landlord is going to kick them out and sell it to a Kebab restaurant. Meanwhile, there’s a murder mystery surrounding an old comic book collector who was killed by his broke brother so he can sell this rare comic book to an American collector for a nice chunk of change. And on top of that, the comic collector’s daughter also wants to get her hands on the comic because she’s certain that her Uncle was behind the death and doesn’t want him to get it. Overall, the plot is fairly convoluted and yet it’s not really that hard to follow. There are some twists and turns, as you’re never quite sure who is really the good guy and who is really the bad guy, as the daughter doesn’t tell the whole story from the beginning.
As far as the humor goes, I thought it was generally fairly dry and slow paced. There were a handful of moments that I thought were truly funny, but they were few and far between. And it definitely doesn’t have the faster pace and rapid fire dialogue of a Kevin Smith movie. Instead, it’s much more laid back with a few fantasy cutaways. Even during what should be some of the action sequences, it felt very laid back and slow paced even when showcasing Wolf’s impressive bike riding stunt skills. I think there was also not really any true sense of danger. While the Uncle was shown killing his brother, he just tossed a toaster into a bathtub, and all of his interactions with Wolf and Jazz consisted of what felt like empty threats. The only weapon that shows up is the stun gun wielded by Edison Bolt, the American collector.
I think one of the strongest points in this movie is the relationship between Wolf and Jazz. They are at the heart of the movie, and are really the only two who feel like real people, aside from Wolf’s over the top movie character cliched libido, and the random women who will indulge it for him in a very 80’s sitcom fully-clothed-pull-the-blanket-over-our-heads representation of sex. There’s also the relationship between Jazz and Lauren, the comic collector’s daughter. There just wasn’t much chemistry between these two. Whenever Lauren kisses Jazz, it doesn’t feel like it was earned, it just felt like it came out of nowhere, and by the end, there’s a big question as to which way the relationship is going to go, and that’s mainly because it never really feels like the start of a relationship at all. It always just felt like Lauren was going along with all this as a means to an end, even though Jazz for his part was falling for it hook, line, and sinker.
The mystery behind the comic book itself was an interesting one with some nice twists and turns along the way. While most of the twists were either able to be seen a mile away, or explained via one of the characters after the fact, I thought it worked within the context of this movie. It’s not trying to be a full blown mystery, but as a comedy with mystery elements, it goes far enough to keep your interest up. I think one of the biggest downsides of this movie is that while it’s set in a comic book shop, and even has a scene in a small comic book convention, it never really feels like it’s paying homage to comic book culture. The only character that feels like a real comic book enthusiast is Edison Bolt, and all of that enthusiasm is generally used to poke fun at the character. There’s also a great motion comic style opening credits showing the inside of Electric Man #1, but aside from that, there’s really nothing. But I did get into the movie, and generally enjoyed myself, I just thought it could have been a lot better. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.