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Five Movies That Remind Us What’s Wrong with Superhero Parodies

Can you think of a successful movie that entertainingly lampooned the superhero genre? No, me neither. Let’s ridicule their continuing efforts, shall we?

John Hancock

The Problem

In this movie that’s being released next summer, Will Smith plays a down-and-out superhero with a PR problem. When Will Smith does effects-driven action-comedies, we get gems like Wild Wild West and Men in Black II. He’s about as formulaic as they come in Hollywood, so this one’s guaranteed to be a pooper.

Redeeming Quality

Smith will likely release a catchy rap single for the film’s soundtrack.

Ha, ha… just kidding. Whenever Will Smith writes a song for one of his movies, an innocent newborn baby cries over the state of America’s culture.

No, the good news is that in return for putting us through John Hancock, Will Smith is giving us I Am Legend.


The Problem

Any Wayans brother in an entertainment context outside of In Living Color = unfunny affront to humanity. In fact, Blankman set the bar for many, many crap-ass Wayans-brothers “comedies” to follow.

Redeeming Quality

Damon Wayans’ faltering movie career led him back to the small screen, blessing the world with the wonder that is My Wife and Kids. This sitcom–along with other mindless mediocrity in ABC’s lineup, like According to Jim–allows millions of stressed-out, preoccupied Americans to reach a Zen-like “empty mind” vegetative state in front of their televisions.

Television… the opiate of the masses.

Mystery Men

The Problem

1) It’s absolutely exhausting to spend 122 minutes anxiously anticipating a laugh that never comes. Unfortunately, all this purported-comedy earns is a series of sympathy chuckles.

2) Plot devices be-damned… it’s a superhero movie! We want to see you use your clever powers! More dining cutlery being thrown with ninja-like precision! More angry, flying bowling ball of doom! More invisibility! More beserker rages! And, yes, even more devastating fart bombs!

Redeeming Quality

The cast. Oh, the cast. With a colorful crew that includes William H. Macy, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Pee-wee Herman, Greg Kinnear, Tom Waits, Eddie Izzard, Geoffrey Rush, and Hank Azaria… you’ll agreeably sit through those 122 minutes out of courtesy.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

The Problem

Ivan Reitman’s shelf-life as a producer/director of comedies ended with Six Days Seven Nights in 1998. 2001’s Evolution put the nail in the coffin.

The scene in My Super Ex-Girlfriend where G-Girl throws an angry shark through a window into Matt Saunders’ apartment was about as outrageously entertaining as flies getting killed by a bug zapper.

Redeeming Quality

Uma Thurman as a nymphomaniac dressed in various tight and skimpy costumes. That was enough for me to sit through this turd–twice–when it showed on HBO HD.

My Father the Hero

The Problem

Gerard Depardieu’s only apparent heroic superpower in this movie is that he is able to produce daughter Katherine Heigl from his oafish, French loins. Otherwise, the costumes were bad (a swimsuit thong on 16-year-old Heigl… just wrong… well, except in France) and there were no super-villains, unless you count the young buck, “Ben,” who is trying to infiltrate Katherine’s super-thong.

Redeeming Quality

This movie–in its creepy, French way–announced to the world: “World, you have something to look forward to in ten years, and her name is Katherine Heigl.”

12 comments… add one
  • nickolai July 25, 2007, 8:49 am

    I would throw The Incredibles into that mix, and I’ll be damned if you say one snarky thing about them. Violet Parr is a sweetheart.

  • Nathan D July 25, 2007, 10:31 am

    Mystery Men is definitely a finalist for most disappointing movie of all time.

  • Great White Snark July 25, 2007, 11:22 am

    Sorry, no… The Incredibles doesn’t belong on this list. I have no ill to speak of that movie.

    Nathan, you said it.

  • nickolai July 25, 2007, 2:30 pm

    Ah, I just meant the incredibles as an example of a superhero parody that doesn’t suck balls.

    Speaking of sucking balls, has Hank Azaria ever been good in anything other than the Simpsons?

  • Great White Snark July 25, 2007, 2:36 pm

    The Birdcage. There’s nothing like a gay pratfall.

  • Paul July 26, 2007, 10:45 am

    I actually sort of like Mystery Men… the Mr. Furious stuff is great, pretty much everything else is crap in it though.

  • Shithead July 26, 2007, 3:21 pm

    Please – before writing off any wayans production – go back and watch “I’m gonna git you sucka” . Yes, the last time I watched it I was 15 — but it was good.

  • Great White Snark July 26, 2007, 3:42 pm

    Yeah, I liked that movie too.

    When I was 15.

  • not you July 10, 2008, 10:09 am

    “Mystery Men”, I only saw once and I never want to see it again, in fact I would probably live my life happier if I had never seen it.

    But I’ve seen “Hancock” and I want to see it again, I think it is a great parody.

  • Petra August 22, 2008, 2:39 pm

    I believe I shall poke a little fun at your implication that I am Legend would make up for anything, let along Hancock. *snicker*

  • Wolf July 11, 2009, 1:16 pm

    one movie you got to add is The Specials kind of a reality type movie and you never see any good special effects it is all about the super hero group getting a line of toys I couldn’t set through the whole move it was so lame.

  • Steve December 13, 2009, 6:18 pm

    Guys, are you kidding? Mystery Men is in a league of its own. Unless of course I’m missing some other movies which attempted the same thing.

    What I loved about Mystery Men was the notion of commercializing superheros as if they were race car drivers. Seriously, sponsorship by Coca Cola; that’s exactly where things would go if there were real-life superheros!!

    For this reason, Mystery Men was genius!

    btw: I don’t think that the makers of the Incredibles were trying to mock superheros. Wasn’t that a serious attempt at children’s superhero movie?

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