Hero at Large (1980)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Superhero Film  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Dan Friedman

Hero At Large is a somewhat simplistic yet ultimately satisfying film that plays on the childhood memories and fantasies of the its audience and relates them to the troubles of the modern world. Who hasn't at some point in their lives imagined themselves to be a superhero righting wrongs like their favorite Saturday morning characters? John Ritter is an actor hired to portray the superhero Captain Avenger at movie theaters and finds himself living the role when he foils a crime dressed in the costume. From that point on, he begins a "career" as a crimefighter and in the process finds himself at the center of a media storm and a political campaign. In general this is a clever twist on the whole superhero genre that works mainly because Ritter is very earnest and likable, and Anne Archer as his girlfriend nearly beams off the screen. For that reason, even though every plot point can be seen on the horizon from miles away, but it doesn't really matter. Anyone who has seen any kind of similar film or, for that matter, read a comic book can easily predict all the pitfalls that will crop up along the way, but the film does manage to provide some dramatic conflict to hold interest. The climactic sequence where Ritter discovers that his heroism wasn't just an act is wonderfully stirring stuff that manages to draw upon some real heartfelt emotion, regardless of whether or not one is a fan of this type of story or not. It's probably better suited for younger audiences as most adults will likely find the overall themes a little preachy, saccharine, and none too subtle, but that does not take away from what is a most enjoyable experience.