Confessions of a Superhero
Just finished watching the documentary about costumed folks making a living posing at the Chinese Mann Theatre in LA – “Confessions of a Superhero.” The film focuses on four particular characters – Superman, Batman, The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman, but the actual meat of the story is delving into the pasts of these folks and what drives them to this particular career choice.
As a comic book nerd, I felt a missing ingredient of the film was in WHY these people gravitated towards their characters. I would have been interested in a little more psycho-analyzing of the personas they put on every day and how they decided to become these people. Especially more details about how and why they chose their costumes. That kinda stuff is interesting – there is an entire cosplay community out there built around the shared experience of putting together a really fantastic costume. None of that was explored or even mentioned here. It’s a shame.
There was probably some wonderful insight to be had by exploring each persons connection to their costumed character, but it seemed squandered by a documentary film-making team more interested in the cheese factor of comic book characters and the desperation of “performance pan-handling” on the streets.
Sure, don’t get me wrong, there were some amusing sequences, and a few even aimed for uplifting. Mostly – I feel humbled by peering in on these insanely different lives. And not really in the mood to laugh at people who are TRYING to make their dreams a reality. Who are getting by the best they can.
There was also an implied message that these folks should feel ashamed about what they do. Maybe not overtly stated, but it seemed a covert message of the piece. As if dressing up like fictional characters on the street for the entertainment of tourists is a humiliating human low. People do worse things for money.
Which is funny, because on good days the performers make more money than the poor costumed suckers at Disneyland…and these independent contractors can swear, take a break or leave for the day when the spirit moves them. Hardly anyone talks about the humiliation of dressing up like Cinderella when it’s condoned by a theme park. No, it’s glamorous and adventurous then. Hmph.
As someone who attends comic cons – half the fun is in scouting out the few souls brave enough to put on a costume. It barely matters if the costume itself is crappy or amazing.
The documentary is worth viewing, if only to come to your own conclusions about it’s intentions. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer:
Here are a few ladies, the “Sidewalk Superheroes” willing to document their experience on their own terms, which might give a different perspective.
Much Love, Mindy C