Canister X Movie Review #74: Superhero Movie (2008)

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Superhero Movie (2008)
Written by Craig Mazin
Directed by Craig Mazin
Runtime 85 min.
4 out of 5

After being bitten by a genetically-engineered super dragonfly, Rick Riker (Drake Bell) discovers he has superpowers and can stick to walls, has superstrength and can even fly! Trying to live up to the high expectations of the Riker family name, he becomes the Dragonfly, stopping evildoers wherever they may tread.

Meanwhile, evil billionaire industrialist Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald), trying to cure a disease that’s killing him, tests an experimental procedure on himself. It goes wrong and he’s left with the ability to suck the life energy out of people. For each person he kills, he can live an extra twenty-four hours. To accomplish this, he takes on the identity of the Hourglass and starts killing people left and right.

It’s going to take a real hero to stop him and the Dragonfly is the right hero for the job!


This blatant superhero parody is basically a retelling of the 2002 Spider-Man movie, with a few references to other heroes thrown in (i.e. a scene from Batman Begins).

Part slapstick comedy, part tongue-in-cheek, part smart and witty, this flick travels in the vein of the Scary Movie franchise, the Naked Gun flicks, Disaster Movie and others. As a fan of all those movies, to see the superhero genre getting the same treatment made this flick even more of a delight. What makes these types of movies brilliant is the deadpan delivery of most of the lines, where every character plays both the straight man and the funny man, the roles interchanging between whoever they are playing along with.

Again, storywise, it’s the Spider-Man 2002 movie, with names changed, a few different scenarios and, well, that’s about it, so I don’t need to recap here.

The action was fine, but obviously toned down because that’s not what this movie was about.

Riffing on the Spider-Man 2002 costume, Dragonfly’s suit was pretty slick, actually. Hourglass’s, not so much.

The super effects were well done and believable, and it had a soundtrack that was a take-off of, again, the 2002 Spider-Man movie (I sense a theme).

As one who isn’t a fan of over-the-top crude humor, I’m glad that that stuff was toned down for this flick. Maybe because they thought some parents would let their kids see it because it has a superhero in it, I don’t know, but by doing that, it also forces the jokes and sight gags not to default to the easy stuff like sex humor.

Definitely a movie for grownups, Superhero Movie is a tip of the hat to the superhero genre from the comedy genre without it simply being a campy rendition of the same.

Funny stuff.

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