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:
Sure, superheroes are all over the silver screen. And that’s great for the comics publishers (who get to license the rights to their IP) and great for producers and studios (cuz it’s easier to sell a movie that’s based on an existing brand). But it sucks for the spec screenwriter who doesn’t have said rights (and thus would be wasting his/her time writing an adaptation of, say, The Tick) and still wants to write a superhero movie.
So what’s a spec screenwriter who wants to put their stamp on the superhero genre to do?
Is there room for a nonbranded, unknown superhero at the box office? Well sure. There’s a legacy of unknown heroes, from Cannell’s Greatest American Hero TV series to Wayans’ Blankman, from the borderline brilliant Unbreakable through the very cute Sky High, from the wonderful The Incredibles to the watchable but forgettable My Super Ex-Girlfriend and lastly the simply unwatchable Zoom (somebody needs to apologize for this movie). And need we even mention TV’s Heroes?
According to contemporary social myth, all it takes to be a hero is to be standing nearby when something bad happens. Given how often bad stuff seems to be happening, you and I are officially heroes. If something bad hasn’t…