WORKING CLASS HEROES

23 Apr

FIRST FEATURE
WORKING CLASS HEROES
April 23, 2010
 
 

It isn’t that super being a superhero.

And it sure isn’t easy being one, especially when you lack actual superpowers and you’re just a working-class Joe.

First of all, you’ve got to find a costume.

And while you think you might actually look totally awesome, others might think you look like a total lunatic in your homemade get-up.

Then you’ve got to have guts.

But what makes you think all that time spent shopping on Orchard Road, fantasising about your colleague or updating your Facebook status is going to turn you into a crime-fighting machine?

But if you’re anything like Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) by day and his super-ego Kick-Ass by night in the new action-comedy Kick-Ass, then you may realise that for your lack of superpowers, you’re most likely blessed with a potent mixture of idealism – one-half optimism and one-half naivete.

So before you go standing up for justice when the credits for Kick-Ass – now showing in cinemas – roll, KANE CUNICO checks out how some other working class superheroes got the job done.

#1 Have friends
MYSTERY MEN (1999)

‘They’re not your classic superheroes. They’re the other guys.’

Boasting a stellar cast (Ben Stiller, William H Macy, Hank Azaria, Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear et al) with unusual ‘powers’ like invisibility-when-no-one’s-looking, flatulence and hurling cutlery, the Mystery Men are probably as working class as superheroes get.

Seven superhero wannabes overlooked by society need to save world-famous hero Captain Amazing from supervillain Casanova Frankenstein and his disco-loving henchmen.

The problem with having niche skills to fight your enemies is that you’re probably going to have confidence issues before your battles.

But it’s all good when there’s teamwork to boost morale. So gather your mates, have a plan and group hug before fighting tyranny.

#2 Stay off the drugs
SPECIAL (2006)

‘He’s not your ordinary superhero.’

It’s mind over matter, we say, and untested clinical medication probably helps. But we wouldn’t recommend it.

When kind-hearted comic geek Les (Michael Rapaport) signs up to be a recipient of an experimental clinical drug, everything in his mundane life changes, and he’s convinced his new talents should be used to protect people.

He thinks he’s telepathic, he thinks he can run through walls, he thinks he’s important.

We think it’s just a bad reaction – a mundane life filled by escapism through comic books mixed with an unhealthy dose of experimental medication.

Rapaport elevates Special into something entertainingly special and shows that if you’re going to do actual crime-fighting, you’ve got to be grounded in reality.

Moral of the story? Drugs are bad.

#3 Have a child-like mind
DEFENDOR (2009)

‘An unexpected hero will rise.’

And unexpected it is, especially with the movie’s poor publicity.

With black tights, black jersey and a duct-taped ‘D’ on his chest, mentally childlike Arthur Poppington aka Defendor (Woody Harrelson) tries to save a teen prostitute (Kat Dennings) from her pimp (Elias Koteas).

Like the rest of the everyman superhero movies, the heart, optimism and idealism of Defendor – both hero and movie – make up for its unconventional powers superbly. And this multi-faceted indie flick shows how one guy can make a difference.

So what can you learn from Defendor if you have vigilante tendencies?

Have a simple mind, a competent psychiatrist (Sandra Oh), lots of duct tape and off-beat comebacks against the debasers.

‘No. Capes are for flying. I don’t…

I don’t fly.’

#4 Watch out for conspiracies
WATCHEMEN (2009)

‘We’re society’s only protection.’

Friendships and crime-fighting can go awry when power gets to the head and when the government doesn’t want you guys around.

Based on the award-winning graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen best examines the psychological complexities when taking on the responsibilities of a true working class crime-fighter.

Friends will be mysteriously killed and things may get catastrophic, so keep your enemies close and your friends closer.

And try not to look like Richard Simmons with paste-on moth wings when being apprehended by authorities.

Just have an awesome collection of gadgets and a flying ship with a cloaking device and a flame thrower. Then get a really hot fellow crime-fighting chick as your co-pilot. Name your ship Archimedes, or Archie for short.

 

The NewPaper

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