Pizza Man 2011
This is another one of those lesser known, indie superhero movies that flew under the radar for me. And to be honest, I don’t often go digging for these gems, but I always keep an eye out for them to cross my path and this one did through one of my favorite movie sites to read Today I Watched a Movie who picked this up at Wal-Mart and gave it such high praise that I had to check it out, and so I picked it up for myself a few days later and it sat on my DVD shelf for a couple months before my wife finally put it in our DVD player for us to watch. I’m not as fully sold as TIWAM was, but it’s still a solid superhero send-up with a fun plot and quite a few recognizable characters.
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Welcome to another edition of Superhero Shorts where I take a look at a superhero themed short film and ask a few questions of the creator. This time around I have Patrick Willems who has been making YouTube shorts for quite a while now, including many superhero themed videos like the one that recently spread across the internet and caught my attention. While many sites don’t mention it, this is actually part of an ongoing series taking a look at what a superhero film might look like if it was directed by a well known director who is unlikely to ever attempt a superhero film for various reasons. This time around he wondered What if Ingmar Bergman Directed the Flash? As usual, you can watch below or you can visit Patrick’s YouTube channel where you can see all of his videos, including the series that this video is a part of, Comic Book Movies That Will Never Happen.
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With a name like Condorman, you’d think it would be a no brainer for a superhero movie, and yet this movie actually turned out much more like a spy movie slash comedy. You may ask why I’m keeping this on my main list and not tagging it with my “almost super” category, at least if you’re someone who follows this site on a regular basis. I decided to let it stay for a few reasons. One is that it has a strong foundation in comic books, the “spy” in question is actually a comic book writer and artist, and second is that his spy persona feels much closer to a comic book superhero than a James Bond or Inspector Clouseau spy. But that’s all really beside the point, it’s another movie that I had never heard of, an 80’s movie that’s been all but forgotten even though it was technically a Disney movie, or at least a Disney production with a little animation thrown in for the opening credits. It’s a fun little attempt at being a Pink Panther movie with a lot more gadgets and costumes thrown in. I had a lot of fun while watching it, even though at times it went a little too far on the goofy side of comedy. And on top of the goofball comedy, there was actually quite a bit of excitement with some fun car chases, boat chases, and explosions.
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The Mask 1994
For a while, I was trying to figure out what I should watch next. I was thinking about watching some superhero movies with some relation to the holidays, but the only ones I could think of were Batman Returns which I already watched, and Elf Man which looks horrible. So, I just picked a random movie from my collection I hadn’t gotten around to yet: The Mask. I was never a huge fan of Jim Carrey’s old comedies even though I did watch them, and the catch phrases made their rounds at my school. This movie also has the distinction of being the debut of Cameron Diaz. It’s based on a Dark Horse comic, and it’s typically thought of as more of a zany comedy rather than a superhero movie, but it works for me.
Return of Captain Invincible 1983
This isn’t quite the start of my new schedule just yet. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I know I’ll be watching another movie this weekend and I’ve got a promising new Superhero Shorts interview lined up, I think it’s a pretty good one. But for now I’ll just talk about this awesome 80’s movie that Morgan over at Morgan on Media pointed out to me. It’s called Return of Captain Invincible and it’s an 80’s, musical, superhero comedy. You heard that right. Not only that, but it stars Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee. It has a very Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe to it and it is extremely ludicrous. The songs range across a wide variety of styles and quality, and there is a surprising amount of Benny Hill-ish shirt-bursting moments, and even some brief nudity, which actually surprised me a bit, I always forget that ratings back then were actually more lenient on PG ratings. The movie overall was quite enjoyable for me, and for a couple days at least you can see my live tweets while I was watching the movie, covering some of the better moments.
Superhero Movie 2008
I was hoping that this would be the last bad movie I watched for a little while, but then Morgan from Morgan on Media pointed out this bizarre 80’s Australian superhero parody musical called the Return of Captain Invincible starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee, and after I looked up the trailer, it’s making me want to get back to some more classic cheesy superhero movies. At least after I watch Dick Tracy for our upcoming podcast, As You Watch. Which I should also mention that if you want to join in, I will gladly link any reviews to Dick Tracy so you can watch along with us, your deadline to get links in to me is Monday, August 27th. But back to today’s movie. I remember it being promoted as essentially a parody of all the superhero movies that were out at the time, though it primarily focused on the original Spider-Man movie, which was pretty dated even at the time considering that Spider-Man 3 came out before Superhero Movie. All of the other Superhero movie references are all just brief one-scene cameos, though the movie does stick with only parodying Marvel properties. I wasn’t much of a fan of the style of humor either, which basically consisted of playing a scene as close to Spider-Man as possible, then throwing in a sex/fart joke at the end.
Son of the Mask 2005
After sitting through My Super Ex-Girlfriend, I thought I’d turn this into a mini marathon of bad superhero comedies. The Specials wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t that great either. And today’s movie trumps the both of them by a longshot. It rightly has a place on my earlier list of 33 of the worst superhero movies ever made. It shares some of the same mythology as Thor, and shares some of the same backstory as the Mask, but it goes in a completely different direction to try and make it into a more kid friendly, and seemingly therefore brainless, movie. There was not a single joke that made me laugh, I did not care about any of the characters, and the cartoonish action was a stale rehash of the actual cartoons that inspired it.
The Specials 2000
I continue with my spree of superhero comedies with a little known movie from 2000 called The Specials. It’s a low budget movie with a lot of moderately well known comedians or comic actors, like Rob Lowe and Thomas Hayden Church, playing what is essentially a third or fourth tier superhero group. It also seems to draw inspiration from other superhero comedies such as the Tick, where the majority of the plot revolves around what happens in between natural disasters and super villains. In fact, in this movie there’s not a single action scene, and only a slight hint of what the heroes powers actually are. Instead it revolves around what happens with their interpersonal relationship in a pseudo reality show format, complete with confessional moments talking directly to the camera. While it does have some funny moments, there’s really too much going on and too many characters to try and service, so it felt like most of the runtime tries to work all the characters into the plot more than it tries to be funny.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend 2006
After watching Megamind the other day, I considered moving on to some more animated movies again, but I finally decided on a movie that’s been sitting in my collection for a couple months ever since I picked it up for two bucks at the used DVD store on clearance. I’ve been vaguely dreading the day I actually sat down to watch it because even from the trailers, I knew it was not my type of comedy, and boy was I ever right. Through the entire movie, there was only one moment where I wasn’t laughing at a joke because of how ridiculously stupid I thought it was. It also doesn’t help the movie that none of the characters are likable except for Anna Faris, and I don’t even remember her characters name, or any character’s names except for Jenny aka G-Girl played by Uma Thurman and Barry aka Bedlam played by Eddie Izzard. Which is why I will generally refer to the actors rather than the characters, because honestly they felt more like it was just the actors. The one saving grace, if you could call it that, is that it does feature a female superhero, which is quite rare in Hollywood. But it continues the trend set by all the other movies led by a female superhero by being a bad movie.
Mystery Men 1999
I more or less just picked a random movie to watch today, I guess it does share a lot of similarities to both Dr. Horrible and Scott Pilgrim, especially to the latter as it was a box office bomb, grossing about half of its sixty million dollar budget. I think it’s considered somewhat of a cult classic, though I think it’s mostly just forgotten. One of the few things it has going for it is its unique cast, mixing offbeat comic actors like Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, and Paul Reubens with Geoffrey Rush and William H. Macy. There are all sorts of big, or at least moderate budget effects combined with a large number of fart jokes. It’s hard to tell exactly what audience this movie was aiming for, but I generally enjoyed it.