Homemade Vigilante 2009
I’m way late to the party on this but a lot of things have been going on, both in my personal life as well as the whole virus scare in the US. But I’m still trying to keep things running here on this site and I made it around to watching the movie that won February’s Patreon poll. It’s a 2009 extremely indie film and if you’re curious about it, you can also watch for yourself as it’s currently streaming on Vimeo. This movie actually predates the trend that happened around this time with lower budget (but much higher budget than this one) films focused on self-made superheroes that don’t exactly know what they’re doing. This falls much more in line with the comedic side of things like the first half of Super without ever really going into true superhero territory while also falling back on rather dry British style humor that doesn’t always mesh with wider audiences.
Homemade Vigilante follows the story of Darren, a middle class office drone worker with a pretty boring life and unsupportive roommate. For whatever reasons, he decides to turn himself into a superhero, likely due to his infatuation with comic books, specifically a made-for-this-movie comic hero called Midnight Man plus his 2 person comic appreciation club. Of course, he has to be a comic book nerd because the movie shows him in the comic book shop like 3 times and the other two members of the Wolverhampton Comic Society are an overweight guy with long curly hair, and the other guy shows up for his introduction with tissue stuffed up his nose from a nosebleed.
Darren himself isn’t really a very well defined character. We see him struggle with many aspects of his life. His roommate is constantly in his way and is not supportive with anything he does, yet still noses into his club meetings just because there’s not enough room in the apartment for him to go anywhere else. Plus, his roommate doesn’t care to. There isn’t any tragic back story involving any sorts of crimes, he just seems like he’s bored with his life. There are some classic low budget superhero tropes thrown around like the bad costume creation montage until he ends up with the very uninspired molded plastic muscle suit, oversized domino mask, a cape, and underwater goggles.
The humor tends to be hit and miss throughout the movie. There are a few well done bits that highlight the boredom and obstacles towards the actualities of being a self-made superhero. At one point, he stumbles upon someone having public sex. Another time, he hacks into the town’s security camera system and sees a crime, but by the time he takes the bus to where the crime was happening, the criminals are long gone. There’s also a pretty poor joke where his roommate mentions that all the energy drinks will give him diarrhea. Darren calls his roommate up begging him to come pick him up from the bathroom, laments what he had to do with his cape, and we later see him hosing off the outside of his car. All while accompanied by the requisite constant fart noises.
The look of the film pretty much follows the budget, it has a very grainy, poorly lit feel to it but the sound is generally clear. There are just a couple action scenes, and they are played more for comedy than for actual action. One where he finds two robbers and accidentally burns down a warehouse while trying to draw his logo with lighter fluid. The other where he and his friend sees someone stealing a car radio and his friend keeps instigating a fight then runs away. For the most part, the budget does get in the way as everything is very simple and direct without much in the way of actual story. Meanwhile the comedy is also few and far between, there were a couple moments that made me laugh intentionally, but it was pretty slow going. There was also a tacked on romance angle involving what seemed like the only woman in the comic book shop who also happened to be a comic book author. There really just wasn’t enough to sympathize with any of the characters aside from minor character elements. Honestly, the most well developed character seemed to be the roommate and he was mostly just used for comic relief. It was interesting to see some of the concepts in this movie that would be done much better in later films like Super, Kick-Ass, and Defendor. But there just wasn’t enough to really get me involved in the story, the humor, or the characters of this film. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.