Spoofs and satires about third-rate superhero teams are considerably more common than you would think. Even spoof reality show about third-rate superhero teams have been done multiple times before. Because of that, if a film chooses to go that route, it really needs to be something special in order to make itself stand out, and I’m happy to report that Real Heroes succeeds on that front. It’s unique, fun, engaging, and often laugh-out-loud funny.
A slick TV executive tries to put together a reality show starring superheroes. Of course, none of the A-List heroes want anything to do with it, so he’s stuck scraping the bottom of the barrel. We have Water Warrior (Lars Slind), ridiculously good looking but dumb as a post and endowed with the power to talk to fish. Then, there’s Malibu Action Girl (Keila Hamilton) whose theme song will get stuck in your head within seconds and remain there indefinitely (two days and counting for me).
Sable (Melissa Jobe) is an overworked, single mom with some mean martial arts moves, whose teenage daughter/reluctant sidekick The Vixen (Ilona Kulinska) is brought aboard the show, as well, mainly to create drama. Big Shot (Hunter Smit) is the loose cannon who fights with a bow and arrow. And finally, there’s Psychic Sam (Matt Palazzolo), constantly bored and often sarcastic, mainly because he already knows absolutely everything that everyone around him is going to say or do. Ever.
They’re all put in a house together, ostensibly as a base of operations from which to fight crime, but like any good reality show, most of the time they just argue, trade stories of their adventures, and lounge by the pool.
There’s plenty of actual crime fighting as well, of course; however, due to the film’s very low budget, they can’t really have blimps, death rays, and evil lairs all over the place. Rather than a weakness, though, writer/director Keith Hartman manages to turn this into a strength. All the major action scenes are summarized with a drawn comic book panel and a bit of narration before returning us to the heroes’ house for more reality show-style drama. As a plot device, it’s cheesy as anything, but also pretty funny.
At any rate, the main appeal of this movie isn’t the crimes and capers. It’s the characters. They could have all just been cookie cutter parodies of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Instead, each is a well-developed, unique, and interesting character, which we end up caring for by the time the film is over. The overall plot, also, is better and more engaging than you would expect from a superhero spoof and manages to tie everything together in some unexpected ways.
All-in-all, this is a very funny and entertaining movie, with just the right amount of crazy and silly thrown in. If you’re a fan of superheroes, you should probably check this one out. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when you spend the next two days singing the Malibu Action Girl theme.