No Capes!

Originally posted:
By Ryan Senaga

Zimmer (left) and his mighty avengers.
Zimmer (left) and his mighty avengers.

Superheroes looks at ordinary “crime fighters.”
Superheroes / Just in time to reality-check us before the gluttonous orgy of comic-book-inspired summer blockbusters is Superheroes, an examination of real-life superheroes that walk among us.
These are people who dress in costume to fight crime. An Albert Einstein quote opens the documentary: “The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing.” On the flip side of that is Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, who deadpans, “I figure that person could get hurt.” Some of the people who patrol the streets in costumes could very well get into serious trouble.
Mr. Xtreme is a slightly overweight shut-in who eventually moves into his van to keep up his lifestyle. At one point he admits, “I don’t really have a social life.” And it’s heartbreaking when he attributes this to his dedication to his “job.”
There’s more. Zimmer, an openly gay superhero, dresses in a red fishnet shirt and swishes femininely down a street after midnight to “bait” someone into mugging him. (His crew tails him in hiding to assist with any potential attack.)
Master Legend takes frequent breaks to refresh himself with an ice-cold can of beer.
While telling an anecdote about the life of a superhero, the Vigilante Spider mentions that superheroes kiss their girlfriends goodbye before heading out, just like any normal person would. The interviewer asks, “So you have a girlfriend?” Vigilante Spider answers, “Oh, just metaphorically speaking.”
Still, there is a sense of humanity that paints these folks as genuine Good Samaritans. While they seem like nutballs–and some definitely are–director Michael Barnett makes us feel for these people and what they are trying to do.
Zetaman and his girlfriend, Apocalypse Meow, hand out care packages that contain essentials, such as toilet paper, to the homeless in Oregon. And the money for these supplies come from their own pockets.
At one point, a map of the US is shown with pins marking the states that have real-life superheroes. Hawaii isn’t marked.
While it’s nice to know there aren’t fat people in spandex walking the Honolulu sidewalks, perhaps more people with purposeful intentions to do good wouldn’t be such a bad thing for the Islands.

Friends of Film Friday, Doris Duke Theatre, Fri., 3/11, doors open at 6pm. Q&A with director Michael Barnett and producer Theodore James follows.