Superheroes: A Slamdance Hit
Superheroes, directed by Michael Barnett, is a documentary revolving around the lives of “Real-Life Superheroes.” These people, as a hobby, decide to spend their nights patrolling the streets of their towns and cities in search for criminals and crimes in action. When first entering this movie I thought it was going to be about mentally ill people who believed they have super powers and ran around in costumes thinking they could save the world. In reality the film was much more. These “heroes” are ordinary people who typically hold ordinary jobs and decide to spend their nights and off hours helping those in need. Not only to they try and deter crimes happening at that moment but they also bring necessities like food, water, basic clothes, and toiletries to homeless people and those less fortunate. During the Q&A after the film some heroes in attendance spoke about talking to communities to raise awareness regarding crime in their areas.
There are different organizations across the country that recruit aspiring heroes. Often these groups will meet up with each other for conventions but for the most part they do their own thing in their respective areas. Most of these people had rough upbringings or they were personally exposed to a crime and have decided it is their duty to help out. A New York City superhero named Zimmer stated a statistic that the NYPD has only 3 to 9 men on duty in an area of 60,000 residents. Whether this is a true stat or not the thought is appalling and although the police do not usually recognize the superheroes, they do what they can to help.
Barnett does a great job understanding and following these people and their lives in both an intimate way but also an explorative way. What these self-proclaimed superheroes do is admirable and dangerous. Learning and understanding what they do and why they choose to put their lives at risk for the well being of others is fascinating and beautiful. As a subculture that I had never previously heard of, real life superheroes are passionate and truly wonderful people trying to do something better for their communities.