Swooping in as a docu corollary to James Gunn’s caped-vigilante comedy “Super,” “Superheroes” is a so-so study of obsessive do-gooders who patrol their city streets in costume. Average Joes with hand-stitched getups and names such as Dark Guardian and Mr. Xtreme appear reasonably entertaining, though the pic lets them down by promising a level of real-life action they can’t deliver. Eventually director Michael Barnett gets around to acknowledging that his superheroes mainly serve and protect the homeless with care packages, but not before an hour in which purported crime drama occurs offscreen or in comicstrips come to life.The psychologies of the “RLSH” — real-life superheroes — are periodically sketched by Cambridge shrink and author Robin Rosenberg, while Marvel Comics kingpin Stan Lee expresses repeated concern for caped crusaders whose actual powers remain alarmingly limited. The titular watchdogs, humorously outfitted, include San Diego’s pudgy Mr. Xtreme; mono-monikered Zimmer, who dares to run atop buildings in Brooklyn; and Master Legend, who heads Orlando’s Team Justice group and believes he’s on a mission from God. The well-shot docu’s best scene has these and other superheroes showing off their distinctly low-tech weapons and toys.
A Theodore James production in association with Freestyle Filmworks, O'Malley Creadon Prods. Produced by Theodore James. Executive producers, Doug Blush, Patrick Creadon, Christine O'Malley. Directed by Michael Barnett. Written by Barnett, Theodore James.
Camera (color, HD), Barnett; editors, Doug Blush, Derek Boonstra, Jeff Chen; music, Ceiri Torjussen. Reviewed on DVD, Park City, Jan. 28, 2011. (In Slamdance Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 82 MIN.
Mr. Xtreme, Stan Lee, Zimmer, Master Legend, Dark Guardian, Robin Rosenberg, Andra Brown.