Thursday, 2 June 2016

Superhero Movie

There is a series of movies known as the 'Movie movies'.
Actually, there are two series of movies known as the 'Movie movies'.
Originally penned by two men by the names of Seltzer and Friedberg, Scary Movie was bought out and rewritten by the Wayans Bros. The only thing kept from the original script was the title and the basic premise, spoofing famous horror films.
And cameos. Let's not forget the cameos.
Seltzer and Friedberg however, continued to make movies with the word movie at the end, such as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie and others.
These were not well received.
The fact that they were advertised with the phrase "From two of the six writer's behind Scary Movie" didn't help people's views towards the Scary Movie franchise.
So we ended up with two very different series of movies, but both with the same theme and similar names, which caused more than a little confusion.
Especially when Superhero Movie was released, since neither the Wayans nor Seltzer and Firedberg were involved.
It was by Leslie Nielson, Craig Mazon and David Zucker, the people behind Naked Gun, Airplane and Scary Movie 3.
Yeah, it got complicated.
Fortunately, this movie isn't, so let's get started.
The movie starts with a typical superhero trope where the camera pans around the main character's costume. It's pretty cool and inspiring, but in case you didn't know, this is a parody.
To be fair, that is actually a pretty cool costume.
The movie begins proper with a very clear Spider-man parody as our main character, Rick Riker (Get used to alliteration), is chasing the school bus in an identical manner to Peter Parker.
I should warn you now, if you don't like slapstick, this movie may not be for you.
This happens a lot.
Rick narrates about his terrible life as he gets on the bus, focusing on the fact that this is, technically, a love story about a girl.
This girl.
Rick sits down with his black best friend, who serves as our reality check for much of the movie.
The technology obsessed idiot is the most realistic character. I shouldn't be surprised these days.
This movie predicted a surprising amount of trends.
After a bunch of overly long gags the bus arrives at their destination.
Still a more realistic name than Grey Holdings Enterprises Limited.
The students get shown around by Mr. Data, who lets them into the animal research facility.
And this is why Brent Spiner doesn't play Data anymore.
As data explains various research ideas Rick decides to pluck up some courage and actually talk to the girl he likes, Jill Johnson.
Of course, Rick is a klutz and manages to mess it up.
Turns out flash photography really does steal your soul.
Thanks to some slapstick comedy Rick runs afoul of Jill's boyfriend Lance, who's the stereotypical bully.
Luckily Lance's uncle Lou steps in. Lou Landers is the CEO of Amalgamated and incredibly hammy.
He's also the bad guy in every movie he's in.
Can I petition to have this guy play Christian Grey in the next movie? Don't explain it, just do it. See if anybody notices.
After some brief chatting Lou leaves, but not before coughing up some 'Healthy cough blood'.
Once he's gone Lance gets his revenge on Rick, which results in both the dragonfly bite and yet more eerily on the nose predictions about society.
For clarification, his best friend is being violently attacked by multiple animals and this guy only cares about how many Youtube hits he'll get.
See? Eerily accurate.
Cut to the Riker's house where Rick's aunt and uncle are having a romantic night in.
And we get to meet the real star of the movie.
Rick stumbles in, clutching the massive welt that the dragonfly left on his neck, but his relatives don't notice anything wrong.
And as is typical of a Leslie Nielson movie, the fish get the short end of the stick.
Isn't this a charming movie?
As he collapses onto his bed uncle Albert comes in and tries to have 'The talk', but obviously it doesn't apply to Rick. Although that's mostly because Albert brought the wrong book.
Elsewhere Lou is having a board meeting to show off his latest invention, a chair that heals everything that's wrong with people.
And they say modern medicine is cold and impersonal now.
Lou sits in the chair and data taps away on a keyboard, but problems arise when the machine overheats. One of the board of directors mocks Lou and expresses glee at running the company without him.
That's when Lou realises what the machine actually did.
It gave him the ability to drain people's life from them.
The process doesn't actually hurt, he just stubbed his toe.
Lou discovers that he has superhuman strength and uses it to murder the rest of the board.
Meanwhile, Rick wakes up and checks the internet to try and work out what the dragonfly bite might have done to him.
It's not particularly helpful.
Plothole here. He's supposed to be a nerd, but he still uses Internet Explorer?
Rick gets nowhere with the internet, except for a very vague message from someone named Professor Xavier.
While it grates my nerd DNA how poorly researched this screenshot is, at least they didn't have the screen reflecting off of his face.
After some reminiscing about his father, Rick pervs at Jill as she changes, which is easy since she lives directly next door.
And yet she somehow doesn't notice him leaning out of his window in order to get a better look, despite being no more than five feet away.
This girl is very, very dense.
This movie makes some very inappropriate jokes.
Later, at school, the science fair is underway. The headteacher introduces their special guest, Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking's actually a Chekhov's Gun, due to the fact that he's in the city working on Cerillium.
What Cerillium has to do with Astrophysics is beyond me, but Hawking mostly serves a comedic purpose anyway, especially after Rick's clumsiness results in more slapstick as he discovers his powers.
This movie is apparently part Anime.
As Rick walks home we get another parody scene, once again from Spider-man. He saves an old woman by pushing her out of the way of an oncoming lorry, which teaches him how it feels to use his powers to help others.
Well, for a given value of 'Help'.
Once he gets home Rick startles his uncle, who accidentally fires a nailgun straight at him, only for Rick to catch it due to his enhanced reflexes.
It did not make him any manlier though.
Rick tries to shrug it off by saying something about how it's easier than it looks and that anybody could do it.
Rick's uncle should not be allowed around power tools.
After a little bit of questioning Rick reveals his superpowers to them, immediately marking him as much, much smarter than Spider-man.
Seriously, secret identities make sense and all, but if you want to protect your loved ones then they need to know.
After a quick argument about whether Rick should become a superhero or not (A teenaged nerd who doesn't want to be a superhero? This movie's getting less realistic by the minute) Rick storms off outside, where he flashbacks to his parents' deaths.
Well, at least now we're parodying a non-Marvel movie.
Turns out the Rikers were billionaires, but Mr. Riker told Rick to sell all of their Google shares and invest in Enron, which is why Rick's skint.
And, naturally, the mugger didn't kill them, Rick's clumsiness did.
Part Anime, part Looney Tune.
Rick is awoken from his flashback by the sounds of Jill arguing with her mother. They have a romantic conversation, which is really sweet until the electric fence moment.
This girl's got a real knack for turning around just as something happens.
Lance picks Jill up in his car, which makes Rick determined to buy his own car to impress Jill.
Unfortunately, his budget's not the best.
I appreciate the effort the writer's put into this 2-second image.
Rick decides to get a loan to buy a usable car, so he and his aunt go to the bank, but Rick gets turned down due to his lack of either a job or credit (And presumably his prior investment history).
At least this bank's honest about it.
Just as the loan advisor is insulting Rick, a robber charges into the bank and grabs a bag of cash that was lying around (Because this is a parody, remember?)
And since Rick's feeling rather angry at the loan advisor, he actually helps the robber when he gets stuck at the door.
(Ok, Rick didn't intend to, it was just more of his stupidity, but he was rather rude back).
Which, of course, is a decision that comes back to haunt him. If you've seen Spider-man then you'll know what happens.
I'm beginning to think Rick Riker has even worse luck than Peter Parker does.
Paramedics rush Albert to the hospital and we transition back to Amalgamated Pharmaceuticals, where Lou Landers is finding out that his health wears off after a certain amount of time. He accidentally-on-purpose murders his secretary and hides the body, but not before we get what is probably the most tasteless joke of the movie.
The joke is necrophilia.
Elsewhere Rick is waiting with his unconscious uncle for the Doctor, when Jill shows up.
And the Doctor is, well, a typical Leslie Nielson-style film Doctor, offering to give Jill a free breast exam before making to inject Rick with something to "Take the edge off".
"That's your vein."
"Yes, I knoooooow."
After some words of encouragement from Jill Rick walks home, only to be apprached by Dr. Xavier.
And, considering this movie came out the same year as Iron Man, it missed an opportunity for some great Nick Fury jokes.
Yeah, imagine if FOX decided to ditch Patrick Stewart for this guy. The fans would be rioting.
Xavier takes Rick on a guided tour throughout his school for the gifted (A.K.A. Superpowered teens).
Huh, must be located in Texas.
The tour mostly serves to make jokes about the X-Men (And give Pamela Anderson a pointless cameo), but it ends with Mrs. Dr. Xavier giving Rick some actual advice.
Also, there's a Mrs. Dr. Xavier.
There's a joke here about the comic book Fury having the same physical injury as his father, but this movie came out years ahead of that storyline.
The advice Mrs. Dr. Xavier gave Rick about becoming a hero? To just make a costume.
Even the minor characters are getting annoyed with how stupid the protagonist is.
What I want to know is, why did Rick even bother to finish clolouring this one?
He finally settles on a design and shows it to Trey, who's suitably impressed. A quick bit of slapstick later and Rick finds a tall building to pose on, only to be confronted by the Human Torch.
It got awkward really fast.
Again, the scene is mostly pointless, existing just for a cheap gag and then ending without much fanfair.
The Dragonfly makes his superheroing debut, taking out lots of petty criminals and getting on the front of many magazines.
Meanwhile, that Chekhov's gunman scene earlier with Hawking and the Cerillium comes back, since that's apparently what Lou needs to create a machine that can make him immortal by draining the life forces of thousands of people at once.
They really did put a lot of effort into the background newspapers and stuff, didn't they?
One newspaper advertises for pictures of the Dragonfly and Rick decides to make some quick money (I guess he still wants that car).
That e-mail address is a little questionable though.
After a quick J. Jonah Jameson parody Rick learns of a robbery in progress and he goes to the scene. And we get to meet Lou's alter ego, the Hourglass.
Finally! At last, somebody gets it! Capes!
Hourglass and Dragonfly square off briefly, before Hourglass gets the upper hand using some Titanium-tipped blades, which leave a large cut along Rick's arm.
Then, he blows a hole in the wall and escapes.
Unnecessary? Yes. But he did get a really cool line as he threw the bomb.
Back at home, Lucille gives Rick some advice about dating.
Basically, she tells him not to, since his enemies will hurt the people he cares about to get to him.
Which is terrible advice.
Seriously. Sure, I know that what she says is technically true, but having someone you care about gives you incentive to go home again afterwards. It gives you something to fight for.
Clearly, Lucille never watched Buffy.
Rick ignores her advice anyway and goes to meet Jill after her audition (It's not specified what it was an audition for, but it's parodying yet another Spider-man scene so it doesn't matter).
After talking Jill walks off, only to be followed by some seedy men, so Rick changes outfits and saves her.
"Stop crying loser, you've got another arm."
They of course parody the upside-down kiss from Spider-man and part ways.
This is why it should be acceptable for me to wear bras. Or at least pasties.
A few days later Lucille has ignored her own advice regarding Ricks' relationships and invited Jill over for Thanksgiving.
Although she did also invite Lance, so maybe she's trying to reinforce the point that Jill's taken.
Or maybe she just wants them to get drunk and have an orgy?
Lance arrives and his uncle follows. His uncle wasn't invited and Lance didn't bother calling ahead about it, but Lou is polite and charming to Lucille.
They hear some banging upstairs and surmise that Rick must be home. So Lou goes upstairs to get him, which is a problem due to Rick still being in his Dragonfly costume.
So they have a bit of a dance-off which I would swear was a Last Airbender movie parody, if this hadn't come out 2 years earlier.
Shyamalan needs to take notes. This only works because it's a parody.
Once downstairs they have dinner and Lucille reveals why she and Albert fell in love, all those years ago.
They both love wanton violence.
Rick and Lou notice each others' injuries and come up with even more wildly implausible excuses until Lou excuses himself.
After dinner, Jill and Rick have another romantic chat as they tidy, before the Hourglass bursts through the window, knocking Jill unconscious.
Oh, and he kills Aunt Lucille.
But not before we're treated to a fart joke.
So Rick goes to the hospital again and the Doctor gives him the bad news about his aunt. But there is good news, since his uncle's awake again.
And he'll be fine, just as long as he doesn't get any bad news. Such as his dead wife, or the fact that his nuts have been cut off.
Well, he's not going to be needing them anyway what with his wife being dead.
After a short funeral scene (With multiple necrophilia jokes) Jill confesses her feelings to Rick, but after the recent events he turns her down to keep her safe.
Which is stupid.
Whether you're with someone or not, if a villain learns you care about them, they can use them to get to you. Might as well have a relationship while you're at it.
I know this is a very serious scene (For this movie anyway) but I stop looking at the blood on his cheek from where he clearly caught his mole whilst shaving.
After some depression Albert and Trey host an impromptu intervention, telling Rick to basically man up and go be a hero. This, combined with a timely news story about the international peace conference being hosted nearby, gives Rick the fighting spirit he needs to suit up and save the day.
Naturally, Lou Landers is at the conference due to his company's humanitarian efforts, as well as Lance and Jill.
Oh, and Lou is granted a very special award.
Fun fact: This movie was the first place where I heard the word douchebag. I had to Google it.
I would not recommend Googling it.
Lou dumps the golden douchebag backstage, where he is confronted by the Dragonfly.
Who asks him for help in identifying the Hourglass.
Because he's a frigging idiot.
And Lou points out one man, claiming that he saw him carrying some cerillium.
While I do have some problems with the Dalai Lama, I don't think he's Hourglass material.
While a riot breaks out, Lou grabs his cerillium, only to be spotted by Jill. So of course, he kidnaps her and explodes a hole in the wall. Dragonfly spots this and chases after them, right into a superhero convention.
As a nerd, I should probably take offense at the stereotype, but it's so often true I can't argue with it.
The real Hourglass uncovers his doomsday chair, rising up towards the ceiling.
I have nothing to say about this screenshot, I just really like her take on the Dragonfly costume.
Hourglass explodes the ceiling, dropping rubble on top of Dragonfly. Dragonfly escapes, but his costume gets a little torn, revealing his father's ring on his finger.
Hourglass takes the opportunity to throw another titanium-tipped blade at him, but Jill jumps in the way, sacrificing herself to save the hero.
How come the parody does stronger female characters than the serious movies?
While Hourglass flies off, Dragonfly holds Jill as she dies. She spots his ring and (Finally) works out who he is.
Just as he begins to break down, Hawking shows up and gives a rousing speech, which inspires Dragonfly to carry Jill to the roof.
Don't worry, concussion's the least of her concerns.
Dragonfly grabs hold of Hourglass's chair, somehow redirecting the flow of life energy into Jill, healing her wounds.
This movie's lucky it's a parody or I would not let this go.
Dragonfly lays Jill down safely, but Hourglass throws one of his sticky bombs at him, which ends up stuck to his crotch.
So Dragonfly just backflips over to Hourglass and shoves his crotch in his face.
"Well, it's still more dignified than Flubber."
Hourglass gets blown to pieces by the explosion, but Dragonfly is left completely unscathed (What, do some dragonflies have explosion-proof genitalia?). Jill, however, got knocked off the edge of the building.
Dragonfly leaps after her and catches up. They have one last romantic conversation with each other before they go splat, but instead Dragonfly grows a pair of wings and flies them back up to the roof. They find Albert and Hawking waiting for them and everything ends happily.
Well, mostly happily.
This movie was a lot of fun. Sure, it had some plotholes, but since it's a parody of a genre that usually has large plotholes anyway, I'm willing to let it slide. The acting was great, the action was pretty decent and if you don't like a joke, just wait five seconds.

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