The Specials

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  • R
  • 2000
  • 1 hr 22 min
  • 5.7  (2,507)
  • 38

In the 2000 film, The Specials, directed by Craig Mazin, we are introduced to a group of superheroes who are in many ways, not so very special. Despite being known as heroes and facing off against many villains, it becomes clear that they are not exactly the Avengers or the Justice League. Co-produced by James Gunn and edited by Gunn's brother, Sean Gunn, the film follows the team during a day when many events take place in their lives.

The team, comprised of seven superheroes, is led by The Strobe (Thomas Haden Church), who can emit blinding flashes of light from his hands. Other members include The Nightbird (Paget Brewster), who has wings which allow her to fly, and gives her an owl-like appearance. We also get to meet other members such as Mr. Smart (Rob Lowe), who is a genius and can read people's thoughts, and Amok (Jamie Kennedy), who is a super-strong brute.

Despite being known as heroes, the members of The Specials are depicted as being far from perfect. They have their own internal squabbles - with evident tensions between The Strobe and The Weevil (Rob Huebel) over leadership of the group. The team's regular and administrative assistant, Ms. Indestructible (Judy Greer), is romantically involved with The Weevil, adding another layer of complexity to the group's dynamics.

Although the team can't be taken seriously, their struggles and emotions are still relatable. They are far from the usual idealized version of superheroes, instead, the film portrays them as normal individuals who happen to have extraordinary powers. From internal politics to arguments about the superhero suits and making it in competition with other superhero groups, their issues are mostly grounded in reality.

Despite the promise of action sequences, the film mostly revolves around the characters and their daily conversations. However, even with few action scenes, the film's humor works due to the absurdities of the group dynamics, as well as the characters' varying personas, quirks, and insecurities. Between the conversations, we also get the chance to see the wide range of powers that members of the Specials have, in particular during a scene when they try executing a three-man lift to save people from a burning building.

All the characters have their unique chemistry, and it's interesting to see each one of them together. The film also provides quite a bit of character development, with The Nightbird's backstory being revealed, for example. The film's attention to storytelling ensures that viewers are invested in finding out what happens next in the lives of these heroes.

At the heart of it all, lies great performances by the cast. Every single one of the members, whether it's the main cast or some of the minor characters, puts forth their best. The performances are quirky, bizarre, and consistently entertaining. For example, Rob Lowe's deadpan expressions, often paired with his deadpan delivery, are some of the best in the film.

Overall, The Specials is a comedic take on superhero teams that stand out among the sea of Superhero movies as it focuses more on the characters than it does on action sequences. However, this works in the movie's favor due to its well-written characters and dialogue, ensuring the audience is kept entertained throughout the runtime. The Specials is a more grounded take on the genre, a welcome addition, and a refreshing movie.

The Specials
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (2,507)
  • Metascore