New Kickass superhero movie expands sub-genre of regular-guy superheroes
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.
Lion’s Gate’s KICKASS is the latest entry to the burgeoning unsuperhero genre that I wrote about a few months back. What’s an ‘unsuperhero’? It’s a guy (or gal – er, woman) who takes on the mantle of superheroic responsibilities, with no actual superheroic powers.
It’s a sub-genre with a history, from early comers like John Ritter’s Hero at Large:
An idealistic but struggling actor finds his life unexpectedly complicated when he stops a robbery while wearing the costume of Captain Avenger, a superhero character of a film he is hired to to promote.
…to Miike’s ZebraMan:
Being a failure as a teacher and a familyman, Shinichi tries to escape everyday live by dressing up as “Zebraman”, the superhero.
A lonely metermaid has a psychotic reaction to his medication and becomes convinced he’s a superhero.
…to Woody Harrelson’s Defendor:
A comedy centered around three characters: an everyday guy who comes to believe he’s a superhero, his psychiatrist, and the teenager he befriends.
…to Rainn Wilson’s upcoming Super:
An ordinary man transforms himself into pseudo superhero The Crimson Bolt and wages a war on crime after his wife has a fling with a drug dealer.
…to the recently optioned Grampa Was A Superhero:
Grampa thinks he’s a TV super hero, and drags his grandson on a cross-country road trip to confront his imaginary arch enemy… accidentally thwarting crimes along the way and fast becoming a folk hero.
…I see it as a growing subgenre that allows small films with no connection to an expensive, existing franchise to leverage our popular fascination with superheroes, while keeping the hero accessible and identifiable, championing a kind of reproducible heroism (without, hopefully, advocating vigilantism).
The promise of the Grampa project is its inter-generational angle, which brings three generations together to learn the meaning of true heroism and honor.
Needless to say, I’m happy to see the continued interest in the idea, because I’m selfish that way, and I really really want you to be able to see Grampa Was A Superhero.