From the writer of Scary Movie 3 & 4 comes Superhero Movie, the latest in an inane series of spoof films that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Thankfully, Superhero Movie is not written or directed by Aaron Seltzer or Jason Friedberg, the guys behind Epic Movie and Date Movie, as I had first thought, which means the movie beat expectations and turned out to be bad rather than God-awful.
While Superhero Movie isn't as painful to watch as the Seltzer/Friedberg films, it still relies on taking scenes from other films, tweaking them slightly and then expecting people to laugh. With a few modifications, this movie, written and directed by Craig Mazin, is just a bad superhero movie with a few jokes, rather than a comedy that pokes fun at other superhero movies. For the most part, Mazin follows the plot of Spider-Man, which is not the best of ideas to start with considering that Sam Raimi made his serious superhero flick tongue-in-cheek to begin with. In reality, Spider-Man is a lot funnier than this spoof of the movie, begging the question: why? Why? WHY?
Mazin sidetracks to make fun of other superheroes such as X-Men, Superman and so forth, but clearly lacks understanding of what makes comic book movies tick and how to spoof them. To successfully make fun of superheroes, a track more along the lines of Hot Fuzz needs to be taken; Mystery Men was a failed attempt at such an approach, and judging by the reviews Hancock is receiving, there's still a void. If done right, a superhero spoof could be funny, but it needs to be written by someone who truly understands the comic book world and is willing and able to pepper every line of dialogue and every corner of the screen with clever references. Mazin relies on the tried-and-true-to-fail approach of deriving laughs from long fart scenes and other idiotic gags that to do nothing to encourage the audience.
There's really no need to comment on the production values, acting or anything else, as without intelligent writing, Superhero Movie was a lost cause from the start. All of these spoofs that have been released over the last decade had potential had the studios intended them to be good, but there is clearly no intent that quality is a concern. As such, Superhero Movie is another one you can easily disregard.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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