Saturday, 20 March 2010


Imagine Forrest Gump as a superhero but played by Woody Harrelson and what you get is Defendor. But is this alternative superhero movie a bit too alternative?

This is one hell of a strange film. Seeing as I had not seen a trailer or anything for this, I didn't know what to expect - and afterwards I still don't really know what it was. What begins as a comedy ends up being almost some strange kind of drama and left me feeling a bit ... funny.

When we first run into Defendor, he's throwing marbles, awkwardly jumping around and releasing wasps in jars. All of which is quite funny until you start seeing who the man is beneath the mask. He's clearly very thick and his memories are full of sadness, his addict mother leaving him with his bullying grandfather and now with no place to live but at his day job on a construction site. The boss of which is his only real friend, that is until teenage prostitute Angel turns up to squeeze some money out of him.

The story is basically how Defendor, in his quest to find nemesis Captain Industry, gets caught up with some local gangsters who want him dead. Angel takes advantage of him by suggesting she knows where Captain Industry is, all the while he's getting in the way of a crooked undercover cop as well as trying to save the city. Defendor uses his superhero disguise to cover up more than his identity, in fact it's to cover up the truth that he's a bumbling idiot who no-one respects. His boss is a kind-hearted soul who tries to look after him and soon Angel even falls for his soft, kind ways. But is it enough to keep the viewer satisfied long enough to stay through the film?

Well, this is where it all gets a bit confusing. It started off as a comedy and then as you start to realise what a horribly lonely, sad life he leads, you start to feel for him as everyone takes the piss and beats him up. He does nothing but try to be good and his belief that he is more than just Arthur is heartbreaking. By the end, I was getting a bit choked up by it all. Woody plays the character perfectly, but the story is just plain awful and quite poorly directed. Kat Dennings always pisses me off as the hard-done-by rock teen that she is stereotyped for, but the real star is underrated Michael Kelly, who always amazes me when he's on the screen (probably best known for Changeling / Sopranos / Generation Kill).

This weird juxtaposition of comedy with the drama is awkward to say the least. I'd rather it have gone for silly Mystery Men style superhero comedy or kept with the dramatic tale of a less than intelligent man with nothing but a kind soul wanting to do good in the world. Even if through being a superhero. But to take the piss while at the same time trying to make you sympathise with him, leaves the audience in an uncomfortable position. Worth checking out if nothing else is on, but don't go out of your way at all.

Rating: 4/10

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