|Running time:||97 minutes|
|Release date:||00 0000|
In today's film landscape when we talk about superhero movie adaptations, we think primarily of Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment, keeping in mind that without Richard Donner's Superman (1978) the successful adaptations of Marvel superheroes starting with Spider-man, X-men and other superhero teams like the Justice League and the Avengers would not have been possible. Backed by huge budgets to bring these superhero worlds to life, prestigious cast, visionary directors and other spectacular special effects, Hollywood was able to create a true genre apart, the superhero movie. In such a context, a French-style superhero movie seemed to be an impossible mission despite the critical and public success of the very successful Vincent n'a pas d'écrailles (2015) by Thomas Salvador also with the ravishing Vimala Pons.
Gérald Bronner's novel Comment je suis devenu super héros (2007) intelligently revisited the world of superheroes and followed the investigation of a disillusioned policeman who will have to face a dangerous criminal who attacks superhumans by removing all their blood. It took no less than ten years to fight so that director and co-screenwriter Douglas Attal could succeed in bringing his project to fruition and propose his adaptation of this cult novel on the big screen. Such a project was not only difficult to put together because it was necessary to prove that French cinema was capable of competing with recent films by superheroes such as Christopher Nolan's trilogy devoted to Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, but also with films such as Avengers endgame while benefiting from a tiny budget in the face of these American mastodons. Yet not only does the result exceed our expectations, but above all it shows that a French film has finally managed to capture the essence of comics. By managing to find the right approach to bring Gérald Bronner's novel to life and by relying on an excellent cast including Pio Marmaï, Vimala Pons, Benoît Poelvoorde, Leïla Bekhti, and Swann Arlaud and special effects notably from the Mikros company.
The action takes place in Paris in 2020, in a world where many superheroes are trivialized and perfectly integrated and even get a show dedicated to the top 30 superheroes. When a powerful drug appears on the streets and grants super-powers in temporary ways to people, many fatal accidents result. Faced with this upsurge in crime, only Lieutenants Moreau and Schaltzmann seem to be able to put an end to this new and dangerous trafficking network led by the dangerous Naja. Supported in their investigation by Monté Carlo and Callista, two former vigilantes, they are not safe from many unpleasant surprises.
The first quality of How I Became a Superhero is to benefit from excellent cutting and editing reminding us of the same pleasure we have in discovering the films DC Entertainment and Marvel Studios and the special effects, to our great surprise, are mastered and of high quality. In addition, the many winks to Marvel Comics characters whether it be X-men (Nightcrawler, Jean Grey), the four fantastic (The Human Torch) but also to DC comics characters, we will think in particular of Superman, Robin and other enemies of Batman, How I became Super-Heros benefits from a great care given to its colorful characters. The direction inspired by Douglas Attal who signs here his first film after two short films Santa closes (2011) and soulwash (2011) allows to succeed both action scenes but also to set up an atmosphere worthy of the best current thrillers. In the same way one can only salute the fact that Pio Marmaï is given the role of a mutant who has renounced his superpowers following a tragic accident. The links uniting his character with those played by Benoît Poelvoorde and Leïla Bekhti bring to this film a dramatic and nostalgic dimension, also bearing witness to superheroes who are aging and have lost some of their powers.
While French cinema is content to stay in pre-drawn niches such as comedies, detective films and other dramas, Comment je suis devenu Super-Heros shows that our French cinema is capable of taking over a Hollywood genre and holding its own against the competition. What this film loses in spectacular effects, it gains in quality of interpretation and plot that holds its own until a final confrontation that can only be applauded. To think that we will have to wait until December 16th to see it again in the cinema...
How I became a superhero
Directed by Douglas Attal
Written by Cédric Anger, Douglas Attal, Gérald Bronner, Melisa Godet and Charlotte Sanson
based on the novel How I became a superhero by Gérald Bronner
Starring Pio Marmaï, Leïla Bekhti, Vimala Pons, Swann Arlaud and Benoît Poelvoorde
Artistic direction : Jean-Philippe Moreaux
Costumes : Maïra Ramedhan Levi
Cinematography : Nicolas Loir
Storyboard : Eric Gandois
Production : Alain Attal, Marie Jardillier and Emma Javaux
Production: Trésor Films, Artémis Productions (co-production)
Distributed by Warner Bros (France)
Release date: December 16, 2020 (France)
Running time : 97mns
Seen on September 12, 2020 at the Casino Cinema (Deauville)