The Meteor Man (1993)
Written by Robert Townsend
Directed by Robert Townsend
Runtime 100 min.
3.5 out of 5
When a school teacher is accidentally struck by a strange, green glowing meteor, he is endowed with superpowers. Just in the nick of time, too, because a street gang called the Golden Lords have terrorized his neighborhood. Now, with the help of super abilities from the green shimmering rock, he’s able to take a stand for his neighborhood and what he believes in.
I saw this movie when I was a kid. I remember seeing it at the local Pick-A-Flick and renting it. What I got was a sincere, heart-warming tale about a down-and-out neighborhood struggling to keep going while crime and violence ravaged its streets. Enter Jefferson Reed (Robert Townsend), a well-meaning and kind man who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Once the meteor gives him superpowers, he takes on the gangs and, at the behest of his own parents, also takes on the identity of Meteor Man and becomes the neighborhood’s champion.
While not a serious superhero movie—there’s plenty of humor to go around—The Meteor Man is not all-out goofy like Blankman, and instead takes a kind of tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre while also telling a story about strength in numbers, standing up for yourself, and simply saying no to being a passive observer of evil.
This flick is also—and I really don’t know how to phrase it so excuse me—a “black” movie, with pretty much an all-black cast. I loved that part of it and there were so many recognizable actors: Bill Cosby, James Earle Jones, Don Cheadle, Sinbad and more. It’s strange because I don’t get that sense of community and warmth from watching flicks with all-white casts. Anyway, that’s just an aside.
The Meteor Man, also written and directed by Robert Townsend and not just starring him as the titular character, was done at a time before superheroes on the screen were all dark and serious, where there had to be non-stop action and all kinds of special effects and fancy costumes. And you know what? It totally worked.
This movie is a memorable one because of the messages and themes running through it and I advise it to be on the serious superhero collector’s movie shelf.