Director Craig Mazin has delivered a groundbreaking, whip-smart comic-book spoof that deftly deconstructs the genre without relying on surface-level parody...it’s called The Specials, and it came out nearly eight years ago. Superhero Movie, which is only Mazin’s second directorial effort, is everything his first film was not: predictable, flat, name-dropping, tragically unhip, and likely to make a decent amount of cash.
Drake & Josh’s Drake Bell stars as Rick Riker, a hapless Tobey Maguire wannabe who’s bitten by a genetically enhanced insect and becomes the Dragonfly; what ensues is a silly Spider-Man spoof that’s ironically less witty than Sam Raimi’s source material. Note to screenwriters: it’s clear you think that jokes ending in the words “Myspace,” “YouTube,” or “Wikipedia” are automatically funny, but it just ain’t so. The best that can be said for Mazin is that he’s still a step up from the demonic duo of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Epic Movie), and Superhero Movie does deliver a small handful of laughs, mostly thanks to the presence of Jeffrey Tambor as a whacked-out doctor. But our standards for parody need to be higher than this.