In recent years, there has been only one group of parody movies that were considered really good. The Scary Movies. Started off by the Wayans Brothers, the first two movies were very mature but also very funny. The third & fourth films were taken over by David Zucker who did a fine job of making it more family friendly while keeping the zany humor. In September of 07, production started on a spoof movie that went after Superhero movies. David Zucker took on the producer role while Craig Mazin stepped into the writer/director chair. Craig had also worked in the third & fourth installments of Scary Movie and was obviously talented. The question remained. Was this act tired or did it still have some life to produce a quality spoof film?
Rick Riker (played by Drake Bell) is just your average high school student. He has a best friend, Trey (played by Kevin Hart). He has a crush on the most popular girl in school, Jill Johnson (played by Sara Paxton). But things go wrong for Rick Riker when he is suddenly bitten on the neck by a genetically-altered dragonfly during a scientific field trip (darn that H2O9). He gains super human reflexes and armored skin (akin to Spiderman). He shows his powers to his best friend, Trey and his Uncle Albert (played by Leslie Nielsen). He then decides to use his powers for good and dawns the mask of “The Dragonfly”.
Meanwhile, Lou Landers (played by Christopher McDonald) is the head of a pharmaceutical company but unfortunately has a terminal illness. At one point, he declares that he only has an hour to live. Therefore, he puts himself at the mercy of a scientific experiment that might just change his condition. The experiment does not go as planned and a co-worker goes to grab Lou’s hand. Lou’s hand seizes the co-worker and proceeds to drain his life force. The co-worker dies violently but Lou lives. However, he has to feed every day to keep his immortality alive. Lou dons the guise of “The Hourglass”. Will “The Hourglass” succeed and kill millions or will “The Dragonfly” fly in (even though he can’t fly) and save the day?
As you can already tell, this movie is a direct spoof of the first Spiderman movie. There are references and characters from X-Men, Fantastic Four & Batman Begins but far and away is a very straight but humorous adaptation of Spiderman. The cast has quite a few standouts but the main two standouts are Leslie Nielsen & Christopher McDonald. Leslie Nielsen is practically an institution at these and Christopher McDonald shows that he can play the maniacal and zany super villain role quite admirably. However, perhaps the best thing was the obvious presence of Zucker humor. If the first gag doesn’t get you, then the third, fourth or fifth will. It worked in Airplane!, it worked in Scary Movie 3 & 4 and it works here.
Keep in mind, Superhero Movie is no Airplane!, but it is certainly better than the Epic Movie, Date Movie, Watch the Spartan Bullcrap fly that we’ve been subjected to by a certain duo who tries to pass off their movies as quality comedies. The other issue I have is something I mentioned above, they chose to spoof Spiderman but that’s largely it. X-Men & Fantastic Four are largely untouched. Let me tell you that there is a ton of material out there for those two movies to parody. Don’t sit there and tell me you couldn’t have included Daredevil, Hulk, & Elektra while you were at it. A blind guy in red leather (and I’m a huge DD fan), come on the jokes are practically written already. Also, it’s a Marvel pet peeve thing but I think they should have left the Batman & Superman references for a 2nd Superhero movie.
The film is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. One thing I love about this film is that it looks good. It looks professional. The effects are pretty good and the film has a nice look to it. It’s not cheesy looking like so many other parodies. Okay, okay so the never-stuffed turkey and animals humping is a little cheesy. But overall, I think the presentation is quite likeable.
The audio is provided in 5.1 English & French Dolby Digital mix. Again, the presentation here is very professional. Sound effects for the most part are genuinely good and make ample use of the surrounds in your home entertainment system. Dialog and sound effects are pleasing to the ear. There isn’t anything of importance to downplay the score attached to this section. Subtitles are provided in English and Spanish.
- Automatic Trailers: Righteous Kill, Hamlet 2, Doomsday, Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay, & The Hammer.
- Commentary with Writer/Director: Craig Mazin & Producers: David Zucker & Robert K. Weiss: Hilarious commentary. The three of them are very much old friends and it shows here. They bust jokes, crack on each other and give funny anecdotes about the cast for a full 80+ minutes (even during the credits). Even more impressive thru the hilarity is the fact they stayed on topic for most of the commentary. Top notch commentary but no surprise.
- Alternate Ending 5:12: One of the few times where I honestly believe that the Alternate Ending is much better than the original. For some reason, the studio wanted something different. I have a few choice words for the studio in the Final Thoughts section.
- Deleted Scenes 10:40: Twenty-one deleted scenes but most of which are too short to care about. The only exception to this is the outtakes from Miles Fisher as Tom Cruise. That is the best impersonation of Tom Cruise I have seen, period.
- Meet the Cast 11:10: A good meet and greet section. The standout here has to be Christopher McDonald as he cuts up every chance he gets. Good funny stuff.
- The Art of Spoofing 10:35: This feature lies more with the director and his producers. Since they are well schooled in the field of spoofing with a long list of credentials, they share some of their finer points here.
- Theatrical Trailer 2:13: The original theatrical trailer, I so love Leslie Nielsen as a comedic actor.
Superhero Movie didn’t do that well in the theaters. Actually it pretty much stunk up the place. I lay the blame squarely at the studio’s feet who often think they know how to sell a movie when they clearly do not. The first gripe was in the name of the movie. Some might say this doesn’t mean anything. The original title for the movie was Superhero!, paying homage to Airplane!. Instead they saddle it with a name which made it sound a lot like the spoof movies by the duo who shall not be spoken of. It turned people off from the get go and most reviewers never gave it a chance. The theatrical poster & dvd cover did no favors either when 85% of the cast shown aren’t in the actual film for longer than 2 minutes. Drake Bell as Dragonfly hanging upside down on the cover with the word Superhero! across him would have been much more effective. The movie is quite decent and it has Zucker magic all over it. The dvd is also exceptional with a fantastic commentary and the feeling of a professional picture. Recommended for spoof fans and anybody who enjoyed the Scary Movies, Naked Gun or Airplane!.
- DvdVerdict.com “It’s better than its pre-conceived reputation would imply, even if that’s not saying much. If it wasn’t for Bell, Paxton, and Fisher, I would have spit on this film incessantly”
- HomeTheaterForum.com – “It works in spots and has a game cast willing to try anything to make you laugh, but Airplane! it isn‘t.”