BlokeBusting The Essentials #48: Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

When will the bad guy just catch a break?

#48: Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog


We’re Waiting For The Hammer To Fall!

Yes folks, you read that right. We’re covering a “film”in the loosest sense of the term. But hey, I’m always up for a re-watch of this one! So, why not push all arguments about whether this should be here until the end and simply enjoy the content for a while.

First Impressions

This was something that I heard about randomly. I honestly can’t recall where I read about it, but it launched just as I was finishing my time at University in the UK, so let’s assume that I ended up finding out about it through my friends there. As can be easily figured out, I am a big fan of meta-humour done right. And this does it really well. The tired tropes, the larger-than-life characters and the decision to follow the “villain” on his path to ultimate victory were all very much appreciated and enjoyed. I’m also a big fan of all three of the main cast members in this, so that really helps. (Interesting side-note; It’s really fun to re-watch this after having finished A Series Of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. Man NPH is just awesome at this stuff!) But how does it hold up? Is it just as good as I remembered? Let’s dive in and find out.

The Cast

So, we have three leading members of the cast. Each is known in nerd circles for different things. Were they able to deliver on their nerd cred? Let’s look at each one in turn.

Dr Horrible – Neil Patrick Harris

This guy simply kills it. He just does. The man knows how to pull off the suffering genius who just… can’t… win. The deflated sense of worth, the awesome singing ability and the fact that he somehow pulls off a look that includes a lab coat, boots and over-sized googles just shows how good the man is. Without spoiling it here, his arc and ultimate fate is actually fascinating to watch play out and really can make you see other film/comic/tv villains in another light.

Penny – Felicia Day

I remember not really appreciating this character on the first viewing. She felt so much like a background character and seemed to have no real depth. On a second viewing, I had a bit of an epiphany (albeit a rather overdue one). That’s the idea. She’s seen through the eyes of the main character, who only really sees her from afar. There’s bugger all character depth because he barely talks to her. We get to peek inside the shell a little as the whole thing starts wrapping up, but only because he’s now actually talking to her. So yeah. Also Felicia Day is always one of those people who are just fun to watch

Captain Hammer – Nathan Fillion

He’s Mal. From Firefly. And I’m a Browncoat. So there’s not much else I need to put here. Though I will say that I REALLY enjoyed the idea that the “superhero” was only doing everything for insanely selfish reasons and had an ego bigger than the city he protected. Also he’s Mal.

The Songs

This is interesting for me to talk about. I’m generally not a fan of musicals, unless they’re self-referential or very funny, which I’m sure is partially down to my hearing loss (partial in both ears). And I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw this at how much I actually enjoyed the music. On second viewing, I think I still enjoyed it, but there were diminishing returns. That’s not a knock on the songs themselves, which are quite good, but they’re not the super catchy tunes that you might expect from a musical like Rocky Horror or *shudders* Grease *shudders again*. However, there are a few gems, such as the Bad Horse choruses and the big finale song. And, as I said, the songs are good and rather well written!

So, we’re almost at the end of the review. And there’s still an important question that needs to be answered. But I’ll get to that in my final wrap up. So now it’s time for my own personal Captain Hammer to have his say!

Bubbawheat here and I’m glad I finally found an excuse to re-watch this film slash webseries slash miniseries slash passion project, whatever you might want to call it. Considering this is just a short 42 minutes when combining all three acts, it’s an easy one to watch and re-watch. And once again, it was something that I immediately wanted to re-watch as soon as I had finished it. The cast is great, the humor is spot on, especially the timing of some of the jokes and songs. “The hammer is my penis” has one of the great delayed punchline in recent memory. The cast is phenomenal, and while I don’t love all of the songs, I like them all and love every one sung by Neil Patrick Harris. It’s a different take on the typical superhero situation where you care about the villain and the hero is actually less heroic than the villain. Dr. Horrible isn’t willing to have a showdown in a park because there’s kids there, but Captain Hammer is willing to sleep with Penny just because Dr. Horrible has a crush on her. It conveys a lot in the short format and has a bizarrely touching ending where Dr. Horrible gets what he wants, by accidentally sacrificing what he really wants. There are even touches of how Penny isn’t exactly the type of woman that Dr. Horrible would be interested in, but he continues because he’s built her up to be this fantasy image in his head.

One of the things that’s the most interesting about its place as a superhero film is its release. I remember actually being one of the first who watched it when it was released in three parts on the internet. This was created during the writer’s strike and Joss Whedon wanted to try something different and funded this with his own money and released it for free on the internet over the course of six days, each act releasing on a different day. It wasn’t until later that it was released on DVD as a mini-movie more or less. One of my criteria is similar to the Academy Awards as anything longer than 40 minutes qualifies as “feature length” and anything less is a short film. This just barely makes it over the mark at 42 minutes. While it may be surprising to know that it’s not actually the only superhero musical out there (there’s also an obscure Australian film called Return of Captain Invincible starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee), it’s the better of the two. It’s also one of the few instances of a superhero property that focuses on the villain rather than the hero and for both of those reasons, I felt it was important to include it on the list.

Ok. The final 3 questions. And one of those is rather important. They are:

1) Would I recommend this film to others?
2) Does it deserve to be on this list?
3) How do I rank the films thus far?

And, like a villain with a grand scheme, we shall attack this head on:

1) Yes. It’s well written, it’s got a magnificent cast and it’s a great send-up of the tropes that you find in superhero stories. And another fun thing to bear in mind is that this was made by Joss Whedon spending $200,000 of his own money and all the cast and crew took part in this by agreeing to only get paid once the film turned a profit. Given the people involved, that’s quite a cool thing to see.

2) Right, we’re here. the big question. Is this something that deserves to be on the list. I think it comes down to a question of what you would consider this content to be. Is it a film or is it a show? Depending on what criteria you use, it can be considered a short film or a web-series. I was toying with the idea of actually saying no for this one, because I never personally considered this to be a film. However, after really thinking about it, I have decided that I do think it deserves to be on the list. For all the reasons I listed above and for giving us a fun look into a side of the equation that we rarely see in this media.

3) The current rankings were:

1) Batman & Robin
2) The Amazing Spider-Man
3) Supergirl
4) The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
5) BvS: Dawn Of Justice

However, after some more thought, I’ve decided to change them a bit. So here they are now:

1) Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
2) The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
3) Supergirl
4) Batman & Robin
5) The Amazing Spider-Man
6) BvS: Dawn Of Justice

I have been thinking about this order since the last article. The list that we’re going through is about the top 100 Superhero Films. In my opinion, the best way to clarify that is by importance first and then personal opinion. So moving forward I’ll be trying to stick to that as my standard. I can’t say that there won’t be a few that move around due to my own bias, but I’ll try!

And so, until the next time Wally Watchers, always keep your friends close and your enemies as FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE!!


About Hurricane Hawk

I'm a Brit in the US. Yes, my accent is real. No, I'm not from Australia. Oh yeah, I have 2 film podcasts!

Posted on March 15, 2019, in Blokebusting the Essentials and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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