Death of a Superhero
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Death of a Superhero

Death becomes no one in this conventional cancer film.

Ian Fitzgibbon (Germany/Ireland, Special Presentations)

Saturday, September 10, 5:45 p.m.
AMC 7 (10 Dundas Street East)

Sunday, September 11, 3:15 p.m.
AMC 9 (10 Dundas Street East)

Saturday, September 17, 1 p.m.
AMC 7 (10 Dundas Street East)

Given that Death of a Superhero is set from the point of view of a teenage boy, it really shouldn’t have been surprising that it was predictable. While attempting to break the mold of the teen cancer story by incorporating the graphic animations of our dying protagonist, Ian Fitzgibbon’s film feels contrived, echoing prior films and overused conventions.

Donald (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is dying of cancer, expressing his angst through drawing dark comics which his parents find disturbing. After a pseudo–suicide attempt, he is sent to see Dr. Adrian King (Andy Serkis), a cardigan-wearing, Vivaldi-listening, grieving-over-his-wife’s-death psychologist. In the manner of such films as Good Will Hunting, Adrian and Donald break every ethical code, becoming best friends. But it’s not until Donald meets Shelly (Aisling Loftus), the new sassy girl in school, that he finds a reason to live (conveniently while his English class is studying Hamlet; subtle no?). With too many threads, Death of a Superhero rushes to its conclusion, taking the dying as a virgin jokes and turning it into a plot line.

Though it breaks with at least one convention by making our manic pixie dream character male, it turns out even with a gender reversal, the concept is still a tough pill to swallow.