Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl 2016
It’s time for me to take a look at yet another movie that came out earlier this year. This film was very loosely based on the 70’s kid show of the same name produced by Sid and Marty Krofft. In fact, they are also producers on this movie, which is a little surprising considering some of the much more adult directions they go to in this. There’s some crass humor and occasional moments of gore even though they’re played up as a joke. It follows a bit of a cliched formula, but at the same time it comments on those same cliches in a similar way that Deadpool did, but not nearly as successfully. There were some fun moments here and there, but the tone felt off and the jokes about the cliched story weren’t quite enough to distract from the actual cliches.
The overall arc of the movie is the typical rise to fame with a superhero twist. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl are two non-powered superheroes struggling to make ends meet in a world with actual superheroes but no super villains. Their defining moment comes from a viral video where they defeat a couple armed robbers by literally disarming one of them. They soon become the new It girls and Electra Woman gets pushed into the limelight while Dyna Girl gets pushed to the sidekick. And it’s not until it’s almost too late before Electra Woman realizes that she had let fame go to her head. It’s all coupled with a slimy executive who’s pushing them towards the marketable side rather than the actual crime fighting side. The path they go on is pretty much the one you would expect.
But what does work well are the moments of the two heroes commenting on this cliche. Early on, shortly after they get an offer from the big superhero company and it becomes obvious how the film is going to play out, Electra Woman comes right out and asks if Dyna Girl thinks that they are going to go on two separate paths of character growth. Another moment after they have a fight, Dyna Girl gets in a cab and asks to be taken home, but doesn’t even know where home is anymore. But when pressed, she admits that of course she knows where she lives, she was just trying to be dramatic. It’s moments like these that are the best moments of humor, but for the most part they are too little too late as the entire scene is played as if it was entirely serious, but then they make fun of it a moment later. It would have likely worked better if that humor was more integrated into the actual story rather than just having it be the tag at the end. As it stands, it creates a more disjointed tone where it switches from being serious to being silly without a smooth transition.
The characters themselves work well enough. Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart have good chemistry with each other that help make it feel like they are longtime friends and partners. The sleazy executive Frank does exactly what he needs to do to exude the slick confidence and yet obvious ulterior motive that only wants to make money and success for himself without any regard to his supposed clients. There’s also a few minor characters like Major Vaunt who was the company’s previous It hero and is essentially jealous of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl’s newfound success until he meets a fate reminiscent of Captain Amazing from Mystery Men. Meanwhile his sidekick the Wingman is a typical schlub that is trying to leech fame off of Vaunt while also trying to hit on fellow sidekick Dyna Girl. One of the best characters is Frank, the tech guy who is almost completely emotionless to the point of absurdity and oblivious to any sort of social cues that come up later on in the film.
The villain is another cliche with the name Empress of Evil even though it’s another name pulled from the original show. She turns out to be Bernice, the young orphan neighbor who was their friendly antagonist back in Ohio. She’s the type of character who spends her entire screen time with the two heroes trading barbs with them, but at the same time there’s a hint that she needs them for something, specifically for a school report. The tone during that scene is rather offputting with how mean spirited both Bernice as well as Electra Woman get with their insults, even though it does help explain why she becomes the villain at the end. She even has some pretty formidable powers with telekinesis and impervious skin but is ruthless to everyone except for the two heroes who are essentially her arch nemeses. And to top it off, we find out with little surprise that she is also working with Frank, the same PR guy as all the heroes.
In the end, it does feel like this film is attempting the same style of humor that Deadpool successfully used early on in the year, even though this was likely in production around the same time that Deadpool was released. But where that film handled the superhero story well and continuously commented on itself and undercut itself, this film was a mediocre superhero story with a couple good fight scenes and special effects moments and the comedic commentary almost always came at the very end of a scene. It’s not an awful film by any means, when the humor finally does come, it does land, and there are occasional moments of decent action and special effects moments. The introduction to the Empress of Evil is quite surprising and impressive. There are also a few great looking hero pose shots too. It’s not quite worth searching for, but if you happen to catch it somewhere streaming, there are plenty of worse movies you could get stuck with. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.