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All Superheroes Must Die

2011 | 78 min | Not rated | 2.39:1

All Superheroes Must Die


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Theatrical release date

 04 January, 2012

Country of origin

 United States



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All Superheroes Must Die


Screenshots from All Superheroes Must Die Blu-ray

All Superheroes Must Die Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, January 10, 2013

Superheroes have enjoyed a great deal of cinematic success in recent years, packaged in films blessed with enormous budgets capable of bringing intricate comic book worlds and high-flying superpowers to life. “All Superheroes Must Die” elects the opposite route for its fantasy feel, barely spending any money to detail trouble brewing between a team of troubled, costumed champions and their nefarious enemy. Painfully amateurish and poorly scripted, “All Superheroes Must Die” is a chore to sit through, even at only 75 minutes in length. Writer/director/producer/star/editor Jason Trost has a germ of an idea here that’s intriguing, but no coin to bring it to life, keeping his movie flat, generic looking, and tedious. Who knew masked avengers on a perilous mission could be so dull?

In a small town during the dead of night, four superheroes have been beaten, awakening from a drug-induced slumber with painful injections in their wrists. With leader Charge (Jason Trost), resentful Cutthroat (Lucas Till), powerful boob Sledgesaw (Nick Principe), and invisible girl Shadow (Sophie Merkley) gradually coming to, villain Rickshaw (James Remar) reveals himself on a small television, offering his enemies a game of community destruction. Threatening to bomb the entire town if the heroes refuse to follow his plan of revenge, Rickshaw sends the gang into various shops (monitoring movement with security cameras), offering the woozy wonders a choice between saving themselves or innocent civilians strapped to explosives, with a ticking clock counting down to doom. As the games increase in violence and self-destruction, the squad unravels, forced to confront long-held animosities and romantic interests as Rickshaw delights in the mayhem, finding Charge especially driven to locate the ghoul and stop the carnage.

Low-budget filmmaking is always a difficult endeavor. Faced with limited means to bring a vision to life, this type of entertainment lives or dies in the creative drive of its director. I don’t doubt Trost’s excitement here, as the core plot of superheroes battling a monster and their own demons offers terrific potential for a grim, aching take on traditionally soaring entertainment with room to invent a new Justice League of crime fighters, weaving through gallantry and glimpses of cracked psychology. Sadly, “All Superheroes Must Die” doesn’t offer that level of complexity, finding Trost barely able to keep his head above water with the basic technical offerings of the picture, while his taste in casting leaves much to be desired. It’s a bad movie, though one that means well, lacking time and money to communicate the expanse of danger and depth of personality Trost is hunting for in his screenplay.

Blending “Watchmen” and “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “All Superheroes Must Die” isolates the unease brewing between the heroes, which is put to the test when Rickshaw’s bomb quest begins. Sapped of superpowers and uncomfortable with one another, the lead characters set out to prevent tragedy, only to find themselves impotent, staring down challenges that involve a cage fight with a ferocious opponent, or a showdown with Manpower (Sean Whalen), a cannibalistic fiend dressed up as Uncle Sam. The tension of the movie should be unbearable, yet Trost maintains a dreary, uneventful atmosphere with flaccid dialogue exchanges and awful, wooden performances, a few from actors who are clearly uncomfortable standing in front of a camera. To help wind up the feature, there’s trendy HD cinematography that’s allergic to colors and slavish to absurd shaky-cam (even Rickshaw’s stationary cameras quake), trying to feign excitement when Trost can’t create it organically.

“All Superheroes Must Die” is a mess that also drags on through halfhearted attempts at a backstory between the lead characters, occasionally dipping into their past to observe the designs of unity and initial flirtations between Charge and Shadow. The flashbacks are slim, containing little dramatic verve capable of supporting the motivations, while the acting once again destroys any sense of pathos. More focus was needed on the origin story, as these limited blasts of crucial information come off as an afterthought, stuffed into the feature in a panic to add dimension to lifeless characters.

Bombs detonate, lives are lost, dialogue habitually underlines the obvious, and Rickshaw cackles like an unleashed actor in need of genuine direction. “All Superheroes Must Die” goes through the motions but never unearths a vibrant shot of inspiration. It’s a DOA effort that’s severely flawed and poorly executed, attempting to find a dark, personal side of crime fighting and its foundation of courage with a lunch-money budget. However, it mostly comes up with persuasive reasons to shut it off early.

Starring: Jason Trost, Lucas Till, James Remar, Sophie Merkley, Lee Valmassy, Nick Principe
Director: Jason Trost

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