With a title like “All Superheroes Must Die”, a copy of which Image Entertainment sent out for us–though you’ll be able to get in on this when it comes out January 29–you would think that there would be a lot of crazy superhero action in the grandest “Kick-Ass” sense. It’s not going to be quite that grandiose, but it’s certainly going to be one to watch.
“All Superheroes Must Die” joins us with four superheroes–Charge, Shadow, Cutthroat and The Wall–who find themselves face to face with a familiar nemesis: Rickshaw. Said nemesis is so familiar, in fact, that the foursome had thought they’d already taken care of this guy back in issue whatever like five or ten years ago. But in traditional comic book style, few stay dead for long, and faster than you can say “retcon”, he’s not only back in the saddle, but he’s stripped our heroes of their powers somehow and has set a challenge before them. A series of challenges, in fact, and at the end of them all sits our villain, overseeing a series of triggers set to turn a small town and a hundred civilians into so much red paste, and possibly, our heroes with them. Unless, of course, the challenges do the job first.
This is a very strange story. Yet at the same time, it’s also wonderfully unconventional. Sure, it’s shockingly low budget–it looks almost like it was shot in an assortment of sheds and occasional landmarks borrowed for the occasion, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many bombs incorporate old gasoline cans–but it’s incredibly well-written. I think I would have appreciated more background here; has Rickshaw always been a bad guy? How did these guys take care of Rickshaw last time? What’s this “meteor” thing I keep hearing about? Did The Wall and Shadow have a thing before Shadow and Charge? What’s a Manpower? Why would you name an Uncle Sam-themed villain “Manpower” anyway? Why doesn’t he have a better class of dentist? I don’t know any of this, and I’d kind of like to.
But what’s going on here is plenty good in its own right; the story moves along at a blistering clip, and delivers some very exciting and wholly unexpected punches. DC wishes it could write action like this. Marvel wishes it could write dialogue like this. The plot is sharply arranged, the characters put up a nice performance–some better than others; James Remar, for example, did a downright disturbing job as Rickshaw while Lucas Till’s Cutthroat was weak at best–and the ending, while soundly and annoyingly inconclusive, was still a reasonably sound one. Oh, and in the grand tradition of superhero movies these days, be sure to stick around after the credits for one last jolt. It will be worth it.
For a Blu-ray, special features will be oddly lacking. The only special feature on the Blu-ray is English subtitles, though if they had to pick just one feature to include, this is definitely the one.
“All Superheroes Must Die” may have its problems–a distinct lack of sets and budget top the list–but still, for the superhero action fans out there eagerly awaiting the next Marvel or DC major theatrical release, this will do very nicely to fill the gap.