Special, which was completed and made the indie circuit in ’06, is barely a superhero movie. Its low budget, low special-effects, and has no big names whatsoever. It doesn’t even have superheros. What Special does present to the audience, however, is an undeniable charm that reminds us what used to be so fun about watching low budget flicks.
Michael Rappaport plays Les, our predictable loser absorbed in a state of depression and self-doubt. On a whim, he opts to take part in a drug study where he is given a bottle of anti-depressants that, instead of making him happier and more amicable, lead him to believe that he is developing superpowers. So, doing what most rational people would do, Les decides to turn to a life of crime fighting, which really amounts to him tackling people whom he suspects are shoplifting.
Its obvious why Special didn’t get a lot of attention. The concept is borderline ridiculous and the film itself is almost impossible to market by today’s standards (watch the trailer, then watch the trailer to Hancock or Watchmen). It truly is, however, and effective superhero movie. Les’ obsession with his nonexistent abilities put into perspective the fascination we have with superheros, and his awkward, utterly ineffectual methods juxtaposed with his absolute refusal to deny his delusion presents a modern and realistic conception of what a superhero might be like. In the end, all cheeze aside, Les is an insane person with a lot of heart, he becomes a superhero because he refuses to accept otherwise. Likewise, Special acknowledges that it faulters to meet our expectations of a superhero movie, but after a good viewing it becomes apparent that Special is perhaps one of the more genuine superhero films to be made in recent cinema.
Its certainly no Dark Knight, but definately worth a viewing for those with nothing better to do.