Watching vigilantes run around in homemade suits and chase bad guys sounds like a great use of a weekday night to me, so a I couldn’t pass up “Superheroes,” a documentary on Netflix about real-life superheroes. However, these heroes were different than I expected in a number of ways. I learned that:
1. Having a megaphone is power.
The vigilantes in the documentary had the power to be loud — very loud. They found people committing crimes and yelled at them through a megaphone until they left. It seemed pretty effective, but not exactly the flashy tactics you’d expect from someone in a leather jumpsuit.
2. Making fliers is also power.
When it comes down to it, real-life superheroes are just neighborhood activists. Aside from the megaphone shaming, some of them spend their time making fliers about criminals in the area to raise public awareness. Who knew scissors, glue and markers were tools found in a superhero’s utility belt?
3. Heroes don’t literally fight bad guys.
The nightly escapades of these vigilantes were far from exciting. For people who spend a lot of time hitting punching bags, they didn’t find themselves in fights very often. There was plenty of patrolling, plenty of showing off the “weapons” that the police allowed them to carry, but no real conflicts. Not a single fistfight, rooftop chase or bad guy beat down. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.
4. They still manage to do some real good.
After watching over an hour of people in homemade leather suits and Halloween masks, playing out their fantasies, it all just seemed absurd and pointless. Then the documentary showed the real good these heroes do — giving out food to the homeless, dressing up in costume and delivering toys to children on Christmas and caring for the people in their communities. They do more to help people by just being normal charitable people than they do by patrolling the streets in a cape.