On paper All Superheroes Must Die sounds like a disaster – it’s a no-budget superhero film with limited scope and an unknown cast. It’s hardly The Avengers, but it manages to fly in the face of adversity, making it a slight but enjoyable 75 minute time-passer.
Four superheroes wake up bruised and battered in a deserted town. We have Charge (Jason Trost), Cutthroat (Lucas Till), Shadow (Sophie Merkley) and The Wall (Lee Valmassy). They’ve had their powers zapped by a mysterious injection and now they are forced to take part in a series of trials set by the evil super villain, Rickshaw (James Remar). Who will survive and who will die?
Jason Trost pulls quadruple duty as writer, director, producer and star of All Super Heroes Must Die. He’s pretty competent at all of them, delivering a decent performance and an entertaining (albeit rough around the edges) movie. Tonally, it’s like a Watchmen meets Kick-Ass, something of a gritty-realistic take on the superhero genre.
Visually, Trost’s film is a little shaky. He clearly has limited resources, but he uses what he has to his advantage. He keeps things dark and basic, a filmmaker’s way of covering a multitude of sins. It won’t win any awards for cinematography, but that doesn’t matter here. It’s all about peeking behind the superhero mythos, subverting the genre. Who cares if it looks like everyone involved has walked onto the set straight from a Halloween party?
Performance wise, almost everyone is pretty decent. Although I think it’s far from coincidence that Lee Valmassy is called The Wall – the man can’t act. I’ve seen set-design with more nuance than him. The movie belongs to James Remar, camping things up as the evil Rickshaw. It’s a small role, but he makes the most of it.
I have no doubt that All Superheroes Must Die will find an audience. It’ll likely become a cult classic, a late night treat for comic book aficionados. It won’t break out to the mainstream, but I don’t think that’s the plan. Sometimes it’s okay to be niche.