05th Apr2013

‘All Superheroes Must Die’ Review

by Dan Clark

Stars: Jason Trost, Lucas Till, James Remar, Sophie Merkley, Lee Valmassy, Sean Whalen, Nick Principe, Brian Taylor | Written and Directed by Jason Trost

all-superheroes-must-die

It has been well establish that superhero films have basically become their own genre. Their popularity and sheer volume has placed them into their own unique category.  We are also beginning to see subcategories emerge within superhero films that twist and turn the typical format we have come to expect. The film All Superheroes Must Die is one of the newest examples of this phenomenon. It takes the archetypal heroes we recognize and places them into dark and perverse world we would normally associate with a horror film. That juxtaposition of genre is clever premise which could provide a much needed boost to a genre that can easily become stale. Regrettably the final product does not live up to the promise of that potential. Being a small film with big ideas it is hard not to admire All Superheroes Must Die wiliness to go for it. While the will was there the creativity needed to make up for the lack of big names and a big budget was absent.

Jason Trost plays triple duty on the film as director, writer, and lead actor. The story consists of four superheroes awakening in an abandon town not knowing how they got there. Their powers are gone and they have an odd injection mark on their arm. They soon discover their arch nemesis Rickshaw has abducted them in order to enact his ultimate revenge. He forces them to complete a series a challenges to save the lives of innocent towns people. The fate of an entire town is at stake, and if they fail many lives will be lost including their own.

Anyone who is familiar with superheroes has read or seen similar plots like this in the past. The difference here is this like watching the cast of  The Avengers being thrown into the middle of a Saw movie. The issue is it doesn’t have the ingredients to make that foundation work. This film creates a story that places moral quandaries on characters by causing them to question their own principals. These heroes are required to make choices where lives will most likely be lost, but its inability to establish a solid basis for these characters causes that dilemma to fall flat. One big reason it failed was because the characters on screen never felt like actual superheroes. They had little charisma and lacked a heroic attitude. Having subpar acting and lackluster dialogue did not help the matter.

Jason Trost seemed to be the only actor that was invested enough to give a strong enough performance. The rest came off as nothing more than bad cosplayers adlibbing lines from low budget stage show. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the dud that Lucas Till hesitatingly left on the metaphorical floor of this film. Some may remember him from his role as Alex Summers in X-Men: First Class where he did a lot with his little time on screen. Apparently his previous time running around in tights did not pay dividends here. On the other hand James Remar was one of the biggest highlights as the arch nemesis Rickshaw, but I only wish he was given better material to work with. He had a multitude of diatribes where he would gleefully recite his plans of revenge. The issue was the words he was speaking were not nearly as witty as they thought they were. It tried to be dark and self referential but ending up just being exasperatingly dull. Watching James Remar having to recite these lines was like listening to a great singer who is restricted to performing irritating radio jingles.

Even those issues would be forgivable if the premise fulfilled its potential. Well crafted tension can make up for an uninspiring script if done well enough. In the early stages it did succeed at creating some excitement. The first challenge devolved into a Pro Wrestling fight on what looked like a post apocalyptic trampoline of death that simultaneously occurred while another hero attempted to diffuse a ticking time bomb. It was completely ridiculous but it worked. A lot of credit also needs to go to those who were behind the scenes designing the set. You can tell every penny was pinched to make this world work, and for the most part it does. The world has this hopeless ambiance with an ominous flair for disaster.

As the film progresses the momentum that it started off with utterly shuts down to a total halt. The challenges become less and less innovative and devolve into ludicrous shouting matches that are endlessly annoying. Instead of trying to solve the situation the characters are content with meandering through this playground of punishment with little sense of drive. Stakes are omitted as everything becomes a pointless exercise. Watching bodies pile up should facilitate some sort of emotional reaction, but the film dispenses of them with so little disregard it was unnecessary to care. Everything was rushed through to try to get to the final climax as quick of possible, which was also a momentous disappointment.

While I didn’t enjoy my experience with this film I do recognize the effort that was put in. Originality should always be praised especially when you can tell someone’s heart and soul went into the project. It should be recognized that the simple creation of this movie is a mighty accomplishment. That accomplishment aside does not make up for its overall lack of the enjoyment.  At the films core there is a solid idea that could be utilize to make a quality movie. Perhaps with more time, a tighter script, and more seasoned actors that better film could come to pass. What we are left with is a storyline that never has a concrete foothold on where it wants to take this idea. After the shock of the ludicrous costumes wears off the movie becomes just another generic clone of horror films we have seen time and time again. Crossing genres is a fascinating and risky experiment. This shows us just how risky as it never does enough to satisfy superhero fans nor the horror crowd. All Superhero Must Die is plainly a crazy scheme gone wrong.

** 2/5

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One Response to “‘All Superheroes Must Die’ Review”

  • Jamie's FanGirl

    A great review that got right to the heart of things. I could see the potential, but it felt like Jason Trost either didn’t have the right words (or talent) to tell his story or he was just too eager to get everything on paper.

    I especially agree with your comparison of Jamie to a great vocalist singing jingles. He is an impeccable talent when it comes to villainy, but it was wasted on the poor dialog he was given. :(