Photo: ‘How I Became a Superhero’/Netflix
‘How I Became a Superhero’ is Netflix’s latest film to drop on their streaming service. It is clear superhero films are definitely in during this era of Marvel and DC universes as they continue to dominate our theaters and screens. It may be considered risky to release an unknown hero’s story with characters that are unfamiliar with common fans, but this film is up to par with the best of the best. Based on Gérald Bronner’s novel, Douglas Attal turns it into a fantastic visual experience.
The Supernatural In The Modern World
The film takes place in Paris, France in the year 2020; the coronavirus doesn’t make a guest appearance, but it’s probably for the best for everyone to escape from that for a minute. The world is normal, other than the existence of people honing powers. They are either born with powers or they simply aren’t. It’s safe to compare the world that is built is similar to Pixar’s hit ‘The Incredibles’, but a difference is that it’s merely accepted that many people have different powers in this modern world.
It is not illegal to safely use their special skills, as long as no harm is brought to others or property. The government is aware of people’s powers and created a police department that deals with any crimes involving the supernatural.
The film follows the lead detective of the unit Moreau, played by Pio Marmaï. After a tense meeting with his boss, he is paired up with a new partner, Schaltzmann. Without a warm welcome from Moreau, she tries her best to find a common ground for them to work together. Schaltzmann is played by Vimala Pons and has great chemistry with Marmaï. There is no case of an actor trying to outdo their castmates, they give each other room to perform and build on to one another creating an ensemble that the audience cheers for.
Parallels To The Real World
Writers are always taught to write what they know. Of course, there are no real cases of people having superpowers, but there are many parallels in this storyline that are experienced every day. Moreau and Schaltzmann are on the hunt for a drug dealer who has been supplying a drug that gives non-powered people powers until their high is gone. There are parallels to the real world with the problem of drug abuse and teenagers accidentally overdosing on harmful unknown items.
The film does a good job of showing peer pressure when convincing other friends to join in on the fun. The caution of drugs nowadays being laced with fentanyl is a scary issue that has affected families across the country. Though this film is about the craziness of honing a superpower, it still has a hard-hitting effect of how dangerous taking unknown drugs are. No one is invincible to these situations.
Kid At Heart
A clever detail that the writer added to the lead Moreau is his obsession with eating candy. He shuffles through his glove box that is filled with empty wrappers and exits a minimart with an armful of sweets. Nothing becomes of this detail in the story, but it is looking at it one step closer. Moreau holds an incredibly stressful and dangerous job, where he must put himself in danger daily. When he holds a gun there is nothing more serious than that, the complete opposite of that is holding a piece of candy.
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It’s rare to see adults eating loads of candy and most of the time it is hidden in a secret stash because of shame. Moreau doesn’t hide his habits from anyone and shares them with whoever. It is an unconscious comfort that he has with his sweet tooth, it’s hard to be anything, but happy when eating candy. To calm a screaming child, you offer them candy and they become quiet quickly. It is the same tactic that he has when he eats his candy, it eliminates any other stressor.
There is also the representation of Moreau being a kid at heart that can become parallel with the audience. Superheroes and villains were typically made for kid’s entertainment, but now that has carried into everyone’s adulthood too. Watching people with powers fight and show them off gives a security blanket of protection to the audience. It gives a feeling of nostalgia and safety. So as Moreau eats his little Coke bottle gummies, the viewers have the same feeling of childhood comfort.
Story Comes First
One of the best things about this film is that it is clear from the start that the story comes first. In a lot of films today, it seems like the story is just a vehicle for directors to make as many things as they can explode. It is undeniable that it is always entertaining to see fight scenes and car chases, but sometimes the story gets lost in all the stunts. What ‘How I Became a Superhero’ does is focus on the story and organically add visually appealing fight scenes throughout it.
The effects themselves in the film are flawless and rendered so clearly. The use of their powers is only shown when it makes sense, with no practice montage of getting better and better, only seeing them when it adds to the storyline. This makes it less corny and more powerful when they are used. The viewer is seeing this for a reason and it will be touched upon at some point. A perfect balance between laserbeam eyes shooting at villains and heartfelt conversations about life.
Netflix continues to drop new original content that keeps viewers entertained for hours. Though people tend to stray away from international films because they don’t want to “read” the whole time, Netflix strives for fresh and fun films that will change people’s feelings on foreign language films. This film is a perfect introduction for people who have a difficult time sitting and watching something out of their comfort zones. A fun watch!
Watch ‘How I Became a Superhero’ here on Netflix.
CAST AND CREW INFO:
Actors: Pio Marmaï | Vimala Pons | Leïla Bekhti | Swann Arlaud |
Director: Douglas Attal | Writers: Douglas Attal & Charlotte Sanson | Producers: Alain Attal, Marie Jardillier & Emma Javaux
By Jack Colin
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Jack Colin is a playwright and screenwriter with an immense love for film & television which drives him to learn from and share his passion with anyone willing to listen. Living life as a trans man, Jack wants his writing to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ members and share the positive stories that are so often ignored through his work at The Hollywood Insider, he is eager to give readers a confident outlook on life. The storytellers of the world are the ones who decide what happiness can be. Jack takes pride in The Hollywood Insider’s mission statement to stray away from gossip and to lift up voices in entertainment with supportive and meaningful stories that will promote strength and unity.