What? No mention of capes or crazy gadgets? I guess because there are so many types of superheroes, Wiki decided to keep the definition vague.
Take, for instance, the lads in this weekend’s Chronicle. After uncovering a mysterious crater they develop telekinesis, flight and invulnerability all without the aid of butlers named Alfred, secret identities or spandex suits.
They’re just ordinary guys with extraordinary powers. Civilian superheroes, if you will.
But they’re not the first everyday movie characters to make the leap (sometimes over tall buildings) to become superheroes. The flickers are filled with stories of regular folks who become crusaders — some with extraordinary powers, and some without.
In Defendor, Woody Harrelson plays a man whose rich inner life spills out into his real life. By day he is dead-end-job Arthur, but by night he is Defendor, a masked superhero do-gooder. His task? To clean up the streets of Hamilton, Ont.
Speaking in comic book clichés — “Look out termites,” he says, “it’s squishin’ time!”— and with a duct tape “D” on his chest, Defendor and his homemade arsenal of weapons patrols the streets looking for crime to prevent. He’s a bit delusional, but his heart is in the right place.
“Who writes your dialogue?” asks a bad guy, “Spiderman?”
“No, I do it myself,” he answers innocently, before teaching the guy a lesson he won’t soon forget.
Based on a wild indie comic of the same name by Mark Millar, Kick-Ass tells a couple of intertwining stories. First up is Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a fanboy who creates a superhero alter ego called Kick-Ass as a way to boost his self-esteem. In life he says his only superpower is being invisible to girls, but when he dons the suit he becomes… only marginally more super.
His exploits, however, grab the attention of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Moretz), a slightly psychotic father-and-daughter team of masked (and in Hit Girl’s case, wigged) avengers who admire Ass’s style and moxie. Defendor and Kick-Ass don’t have superpowers, but they do have cool costumes and the right attitude. That places them alongside other characters that helped redefine what it takes to be a superhero, the better-known movie heroes Batman and Iron Man.
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