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15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Comic books--serious or escapist fantasy? This feature-length special shows how comic book superheroes reflect their times--from the 1930s to the 21st century--and how these wish-fulfillment figures became role models for generations of children. Following the most representative cartoon crusaders and villains, as well as the industry that formed them, we see how they mirrored society--from the Depression, WWII, the Cold War, and the turbulent '60s to today--and how they proved adaptable to other media.


Superheroes might be the next evolution in comic book heroes! --Stan Lee

Think of Superheroes as a real-life Kick Ass --The New York Times

Fascinating --IndieWire

Product Details

  • Actors: Real Life Superheroes
  • Directors: Michael Barnett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0058PMVTU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,209 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
When you think about it--you probably have definitive feelings when it comes to ordinary men and women masquerading as costumed superheroes. I'm not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to this lively documentary feature, but I have a much greater appreciation and understanding of the subject matter than I did going in. I'll just be honest and say it, I found the whole idea a little silly. And yet, to a large degree, I am a convert. The world would undoubtedly be a better place if more people took such an active and participatory role in civic events and community. This spirited movie has so much heart--with a fair share of comedy and even thrills--it becomes strangely irresistible, thought-provoking, and oddly touching.

First and foremost, I would commend director Michael Barnett with his even-handed and well balanced approach. He introduces a diverse cross section of superheroes for this piece. Major characters tend to come across in one of three ways--comical, a bit sad, or (for lack of a better word) truly heroic. In very different ways, however, they all stand out. Whether as actual crime fighters, community advocates, or charitable figureheads--these guys and gals put themselves on the front lines. What they battle, for the most part, is apathy. And their greatest strength is caring. Many come from difficult circumstances and playing the hero can be a form of survival or a case of redemption.

The film has so many memorable highs. A group in Brooklyn polices the street in a sting operation. Several groups help the homeless. And, in perhaps the film's most harrowing moment, a lone man faces down a drug dealer. For whatever reason, these are real heroes simply by their willingness to become involved.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hui Shen ben Israel TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 15, 2011
Format: DVD
SUPERHEROES (2011) is one hell of an HBO documentary. It tells the story of real life "superheroes": people dedicated to helping their communities, their neighbors, anyone who needs help. The fact that they dress in actual costumes (some are awesome, some are awful) only adds to the urgency of the message this film conveys.

And no, I do not think these people are "vigilantes". Let no one try to convince you of that straw man argument. If anything, I am inclined to encourage this activity - and on a personal level, encourage them to put a LOT of thought into the design of their costumes. Remember superhero costume designer Edna Mode from THE INCREDIBLES? "No capes!!"

Tempted to laugh out loud in the beginning, this film left me stunned and happy about 10 minutes into it. The fact that there are such people out there made me happy! You know who else did this? Mother Teresa! And the sad thing for her was she did not believe in God the entire time, so really she's the prototype superhero.

Zimmer, my hero from the New York Initiative and favorite of the various groups, is an eye-catching, fetching and dedicated man. All of these people have one thing in common: their dedication to those around them, the innocent, the victims, the poor. Zimmer's colleague "T.S.A.F." ( stands for "the silenced and forgotten") is one tough young lady.

And as I said, I am glad they are out there. You will be glad you saw this documentary, because not only does it show how badly our world has become screwed up - it shows what certain people are ready to sacrifice to set things right. If only my Buddhist students had showed such courage. We strap into our costumes everyday - robes, shoulder robe, shaved heads - and what gets done? NADA.

Follow the adventures of these real life superheroes and ask yourself: Could I pay that price to help my fellow humans? I'll bet the answer will be "NO". So thank heavens for all of these people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joe Olson on December 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this movie a whole lot. In fact I am mad 'cause my daughter lost the dvd so I can't watch it again. I wish they could have spent more time in Utah covering the Black Monday Society, but at least they did get covered. I am fascinated by this Thanatos from Britsh Columbia and I am really into how this is about Charity work, not fighting supervillians. I thought the team in New York were off because they had the leader dress up like a very muggable guy but then they got no takers cause the cameras were there the whole time and then he wants to know why no one tries to mug him. Anyway I am so happy about this charity work angle that they made sure to focus on and the producer had the right point of view and mindset, there is nothing more meaningful than people being cared about and helped and they feel like they are worth helping! Life is hard, it's great to see helping for once!!! <grin>
This is a serious documentary and it does raise awareness of an odd phenomenon in modern society, I think if they cover the Black Monday Society there is a lot more material to explore about this whole concept of Real Life Super Heroes that they can make another documentary. The biggest challenge would be filming without the camera being noticed. I guess its like they say science cannot observe nature for by being observed it is not in its original state. I know that one drug pusher might have tried his mettle if there were no cameras...but he would have had his ass handed back to him if he tried! Most of the Documentary centers on the extreme justice league and its main member: Extreme Justice with about equal parts on the New York scene and the Team from Florida. This is if I have my facts straight as I only got to watch it once.
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