Superhero Me

Superhero Me


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Superhero Me immediately makes me think of all those deliciously sad people who wrote 'Jedi' as their religion at the last census. They are such lovely, deluded creatures.

Steve Sale decides to become a superhero. His journey begins by recruiting comic-book experts for intelligence, even interviewing his parents. When asked about superpowers, his dad comes out with "If you call luck a superpower, I've got that!"

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So, to become a superhero, without obvious exceptional gifts, he recruits the help of a personal trainer - starting off with a 'Get Ripped in 8 Weeks' advert, and concluding with a funny Run, Fatboy, Run meets Team America montage. Also needed are a martial arts guru for dispatching evil swiftly (using drunken kung-fu, of course), and most importantly of all, the costume.

Sale picks the pseudonym, SOS, based on his skills as a sound editor, and ropes in a mate for some seriously cool illustrations, and starts making and remaking the costume out of spandex and other such fun fabrics. We see him mooching around and trawling the internet for inspiration. One of the movie's best terrible puns happens when he's shopping for y-fronts. We also learn that he's considered the bathroom practicalities. What he has failed to consider is his weapons and skills - testing a loud oscillating alarm on his pet dogs, who just sit blithely and wag their tails. Also, transport is somewhat lacking. The first trip on the SOS-mobile is marinated in Fail.

To his own surprise, Sale discovers there are many other real life superheroes. The reclusive Captain Ozone, for instance, a "time-traveller" who uses a petrol-powered chainsaw to make environmental fossil-fuel conservation points. Entomo from Naples, who fights crime on the streets, opens the doors to many other superheroes, a very large family. Funniest of all is Angle Grinder Man, a deliciously anarchic scourge of parking clamps - he has a hilarious answerphone message.

There's even a musical band of superheroes - Justice Force Five - who inspire SOS to compose a rather catchy theme tune. Anyway, he puts his skills to the test. In between placing adverts in local newsagents and searching for a sidekick, SOS makes a name for himself doing all manner of nice deeds: mowing lawns, helping out at charity fundraisers, providing impromptu taxi services and chasing shoplifters. Even the sexually starved get a look in. A woman begs for attention in broken English:

"All the boys become gay. Save me!"

"I'm not going to make 'em straight. Look at me!"

Okay, it's funnier in the movie. Things take a darker turn with the story of a Los Angeles vigilante, Master Legend. He seems to breathe the ethos of Superman's origins back in the Great Depression, helping the poor and wretched. Clanking around in a roughly hewn suit of armour, and balls to the wind, he fights the causes and effects of local crime. And those who "heal with the faith of the almighty crack-rock."

While occasionally amateurish and sloppy in its staging and interviewing skills, Sale's film also belies a certain entertaining roughness - the footage was shot on inexpensive consumer video cameras and videophones, collected and edited on an old computer. Strangely, Superhero Me doesn't feel like "a story that needs to be told by any means necessary," as promised by the opening title cards, and it could probably benefit from being about five to ten minutes shorter. Technical issues and filmmaking limitations aside, this movie is good fun, Steve Sale is an engaging and funny host, and he doesn't let his movie's technical weakness get in the way of an entertaining time.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2010
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Superhero Me packshot
A documentary about superheroes with the potential to make valiant efforts in the ongoing battle to save the world.
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Director: Steve Sale

Year: 2010

Runtime: 84 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2010

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