The Amazing Cynicalman
The Amazing Cynicalman 2012
One of the joys I’ve come to find in running this site over the years is finding these little known indie superhero movies, whether they are fan films, short films, or a feature length film. So a couple weeks ago I stumbled across a listing for a movie called Cynicalman that I had never heard of and had come out a couple years ago. Looking it up, I found that it was a self-funded movie based around a web comic called Cynicalman, so I took a shot and sent an e-mail requesting a screener for review. Based on the trailer, I thought it looked like an ultra-low budget, cheesy, fun movie with bad acting, but obviously made with a lot of heart, and that’s exactly what I got. There won’t be any awards for acting, directing, cinematography, or sound editing here, but it was definitely made with a lot of heart and has some genuinely funny moments in it, which is helpful because it’s a comedy. If you would like to know more about the movie and pick yourself up a copy, be sure to check out his site for yourself.
The Amazing Cynicalman follows the adventures of John Q. Cynical as he gets a job through a temp agency to work at the Board of Superheroes alongside such heroes as Lone Shark, Captain Videotape, Lizard Girl, and Psycho Woman and the entire place is run by Board Man who is, in fact, an actual board. Most of the people working for the board don’t have any apparent superpowers with the one exception of Lizard Girl who can camouflage herself by changing the color of her skin to become basically invisible, where Lone Shark is obsessed with weaponry including what looks like a taped together bazooka. Captain Videotape is one of the odder superheroes as he carries around a giant VHS era video camera, which I’m sure is a coincidental connection to another low profile movie Defendor.
It starts out as a fairly low key comedy with a lot of workplace moments with a bit of a superhero twist to them, but ends up with the Board of Superheroes facing a genuine threat to the city. I actually appreciated the way that the conflicts in this movie evolve. Initially the villain is Dr. Pweent and his reluctant assistant Andy Social, there’s a lab accident which turns Andy Social into Antisocialman who first lashes out at Cynicalman but eventually returns to seek his revenge on Dr. Pweent which sets off yet another lab accident which unleashes a zombie horde on the entire town!
One thing that I think is the most charming thing about this movie is the production values. Cynicalman’s helmet is an old football helmet turned backwards and painted up to what looks like a middle school play costume. This aesthetic follows through to the rest of the heroes and villains, especially Dr. Pweent and his various zombies which are all done through white face paint, a black zigzag line going across their face, and some black lipstick and eyeshadow to top it off. It gives the movie a very homemade feel to it, but it also fits with the comedy of the film as John Q. Cynical is himself a temp coming into this agency where he himself thinks that this is all silly and cheap looking until he gets caught up in it all. Not to mention that some of the gadgets, like his metallic-forcefield helmet do actually work as intended.
One other thing that is fun to see are a couple brief animated segments, since this is was originally a webcomic, even though it’s largely stick figures, and they were a nice bit of fun. One other thing that I do have to mention is that while I started watching this movie by myself, Jena soon became interested and came in to watch most of the movie with me and when it was over she said she really enjoyed it. As far as the acting goes, it’s not as exaggerated as the acting in the original Toxic Avenger. It’s quite obvious that Cynicalman himself is an amateur and there are several moments where it felt more awkward than it should have, though some of it is intended for his character as it seems to be written. My favorite was Psycho Woman for sure, she has a small part but she does ham it up a ton and brings some of the biggest laughs in my book. Lizard Girl felt like she gave the most natural feeling performance, and the rest of the cast all fell somewhere in between. I thought it was a decent attempt at a superhero comedy with such limited resources. It’s not as over the top as the Toxic Avenger, but it’s nowhere near as awful as Captain Battle: Legacy War. I wouldn’t go in expecting gold, but if you’re a fan of b-movie comedies I’d recommend it. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.