Every once and a while a movie comes along and ends up being way more entertaining that I ever would have suspected. 2014's first entry and the Surprise I entertained your Ass is SPARKS. A quirky little bit of independent superheroness, that I have to say... was pretty damn good.
Ok. I hear this is based on a graphic novel. I won't speak to that as despite my love of comics I have not crossed paths with that title.
Next on to the style. Before I go further, this film is essential the style of SIN CITY crossed with the message, and realism of the superheroes of WATCHMEN. Now if that sounds fun to you. If that peaks you curious parts... then read on Booniacs, and Buckleheads, here we goooooooooo.
Your story. A long time ago there was a meteor strike that gave 13 people powers. And red super goo stuff. And the 13 were experimented on, and there was a serial killer... ok the opening bit is a little crazy. Fine. They were packing a lot in, I forgave. Next up present day and our title hero SPARKS is on the run accused of murder, and in a lot of trouble. He proceeds to tell his story to a reporter. The story goes: I grew up, became a hero after the death of my parents, met the love of my life, and then bad things happen and I met a super villain.
|"Kickass... Ya we hang out"|
This movie kinda creeps on ya. At first I was kind of "Meh". The acting (despite a few strong cameos) didn't really seem that impressive. The fight choreography was just horrible (the training scene in particular will cause chills). Then the second act drops, and low and below the characters are just so damn determined to get you to care, that I started to. Soon, the twists and Sin city noir had me invested in the evil doings, and Sparks effort to triumph. Then the third act hits and all is revealed and the bodies start hitting the floor... and fun is had.
I really enjoyed this. It's not great. But, it is better than a lot of stuff out there in the genre. The script really pulls it together in the last half of the film (Hitchcock's famous line three things to make a great film A script, a script, a script). One thing that did bother me was the fact that all these "supers" actually don't have powers. So, basically, people just decided to dress up and fight crime... like say in Kickass only back in the 40s? 50s? whatever it was. Little more explanation needed perhaps. Another issue, and ok, I'm being petty, but, the one guy just seemed way to OK with his kids being killed... just saying.
The green screen effects, and look of the movie, worked for me. It ain't no sin city, but, they managed to get quite a lot out of the budget, and really this is a superhero flick that is more about the plot and characters than any action... so it doesn't really hold anything back. To all you folks bitching about the grand scale destruction in many of todays superhero movies Oh why they gotta break so much shite yo? Why can't you punch someone ah-round the building? Well here you go. Low scale. Low budget Heroic deeds with heart.
A genuine out of left field surprise.
movie scale 3 out 5 stars
Superhero scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Seriously if you like you hero tales dark and R rated (though really, it probably could have been a solid PG-13 with the exception of a couple of scenes), this is for you. Cult status will be sure to follow. The noir aspects of it all but guarantee it.
Till next Booniacs
-Chuck B Boonsweet