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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

Review: ‘Superhero’ spoof an insult to satire

There’s a clear difference between satire and referencing. A satirical film takes a cliché aspect of a genre and casts it in an absurd light, intelligently making fun of things we’ve accepted as commonplace. Referencing is little more than directly alluding to scenes from other films. Another key difference is that satire is funny while referencing isn’t. Apparently, writer and director Craig Mazin didn’t understand this when he made “Superhero Movie.”

“Superhero Movie” doesn’t have its own story. If you’ve seen “Spiderman,” you’ve seen “Superhero Movie.” Just replace every instance of “spider” with “dragonfly” and the plots are nearly identical. So basically, young social outcast Rick Riker (Drake Bell) gets bitten by a genetically enhanced dragonfly. He then discovers he has superpowers and decides to take up a life of fighting crime. He constructs a suit and becomes Dragonfly: crime fighting hero.

To say that the satire in “Superhero” is bad would insinuate that there’s actually some satire in the film, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. This isn’t an attempt to poke fun at the superhero genre; it’s blatantly ripping it off.

If Mazin wanted to parody “Spiderman,” he should have made fun of the absurdity of a spider bite transforming someone into a nearly indestructible superhero. Instead, Riker gets bitten by a dragonfly and turns into a nearly indestructible superhero. And having Riker break dancing on the side of a building because he can now climb walls doesn’t count as original, satirical humor either. It’s just dumb.

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If the example mentioned above didn’t sound all that amusing, then you’d be best advised to stay as far away from this movie as possible. There is no intentional humor to be found. There were moments of laughter, but they weren’t due to clever jokes or witty dialogue — it was simply because I couldn’t believe anyone with a semi-functioning brain would find this stuff comical. In terms of comedy, the “high point” of the movie involves Riker being gang-raped by a pack of random animals. I think that says plenty about the lack of humor.

I know these movies aren’t supposed to be stellar–they’re basically the equivalent of cinematic junk food, but I was shocked and offended at the lack of effort put into “Superhero Movie.”

At one point, we see comedian Tracy Morgan in a wheelchair, where he introduces himself as Professor Xavier, as in Professor Xavier from “X-Men.” Mazin didn’t even bother to give the character a different name, or one that at least sounds similar, he chose to give him the exact same name.

This laziness sums up the effort put into every aspect of this film. It doesn’t even feel like Mazin is a fan of comic books, it’s as if he watched a few popular comic book movies and lifted scenes out of them and inserted fart jokes.

But the saddest part is the fact that legendary actor Leslie Nielsen stars in this film. In a way, this makes “Superhero Movie” worse than “Date Movie,” “Epic Movie” or “Meet the Spartans,” because it’s not only a bad film, but a bad film that will tarnish what was otherwise a respectable career of one of comedy’s best actors. Surely, Nielsen must have fallen on some hard times if he’s doing a film of this caliber.

It’s easy to rip apart a film that could have been decent but didn’t turn out well. It’s just depressing tearing apart a film that never even had any potential. “Superhero Movie” has absolutely nothing going for it.

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