AKA: Are Sci-Fi Heroes Superheroes?
I was originally going to call this “Is Neo a Superhero?” since I had just watched The Matrix, but decided to go with a bigger name. Technically all superhero movies, except for some of the ultra-realistic ones, can be lumped into the broad “sci-fi” category, since people with super powers or aliens with super powers who look like people are technically science fiction. But the narrower definition of science fiction implies that it takes place in the future, or at least in a distant galaxy with more advanced technology than us, and most superhero movies take place in the present, or in the near future. But in true sci-fi, like the Matrix or Star Wars, there’s often a single hero who has special abilities that set him apart from the rest of the population. Skywalker is strong with the Force, and Neo is the One. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone refer to Star Wars as a superhero movie.
Sting of the Black Scorpion 2002
This is one of the many rarities and lesser known straight-to-DVD superhero movies I found at my local rental store’s bargain section. It is actually three episodes of the Roger Corman produced television series on the Sci-Fi channel called Black Scorpion. I looked it up and the show ran for only 22 episodes and spawned one other movie called “Return of the Black Scorpion” which was released a year before this one, but I couldn’t tell if it was a newly made epilogue for the TV series, or if it was a similar collection of episodes. There was also two made for TV movies several years before featuring the same characters, and with Roger Corman attached to it. But I couldn’t find much more information on them either. This show is rather akin to the classic Adam West Batman TV series, although it feels like it’s almost trying to be a serious show. Where Batman was almost nonstop camp and silliness, this movie plays sometimes for laughs, and sometimes more seriously. And it also has Frank Gorshin, who played the Riddler, as Clockwise.
This movie wasn’t on my original list of movies to watch for this year, it’s not a traditional superhero movie, and I personally considered it more of a sci-fi movie. But I recently read what was originally intended as an April Fools joke at Fog’s Movie Reviews as one of his Movies That Everyone Should See. He thought that it wasn’t that great of a movie with too much cheese and too much violence, but he wrote the article very seriously expecting the commenters to balk at the movie’s inclusion alongside classics such as Citizen Kane, Big, and Stand By Me. But instead of balking, the comments heartily agreed with the inclusion except for a few outliers who realized it may have been an April Fools prank. It definitely made me want to see it, and so I did. As I mentioned, I was initially reluctant to include it, but it did spawn a comic book series, and when compared to a superhero like The Punisher, he’s got a better costume, similar firepower, and more of what could be considered super power. So here we are.