Unknown Origins Movie Review: An ode to superheroes
Directed by David Galan Galindo - the man behind the comic series the film is based on- it wears the superhero film stereotype with pride
There’s no dearth of superhero cinema, it seems. On OTT platforms, the second season of The Boys is awaited, while recent releases include films like The Old Guard, Warrior Nun and Project Power. The latest to join this list is the Spanish film, Orígenes Secretos/Unknown Origins.
Directed by David Galán Galindo—the man behind the comic series the film is based on—it wears the superhero film stereotype with pride. This ode to superheroes is also full of pop culture references for fans of the genre.
The film is the story of an unlikely friendship. After his cop brother dies on the job, Jorge Elias (Brays Efe), the knowledgeable owner of a comic book shop, lives a life of resentment and negligence.
When a serial killer takes inspiration from comic books, Jorge’s knowledge comes in handy and he partners with a cop to take down the baddie. As with many buddy-cop films, this one too is about two starkly different people coming together against the odds to save the day.
For the comic book lover, references in this film are aplenty, including those that draw attention to Conan, Kill Bill, Game of Thrones, 300, The Lord of the Rings, Incredibles, Star Wars… There’s even a mailman who seems modelled on Stan Lee.
Even this homage is layered and serves as a callback to Stan Lee’s cameo in Captain America: Civil War. And what about the all-too-familiar idea of David’s parents getting killed as the family returns from a movie theatre? These are all not mere references, but serve to push the plot forward, apart from providing comic relief.
It’s when this film begins to take itself too seriously that it falters. It also can’t seem to make up its mind on whether it’s a lighthearted homage or a serious origins story. The limited budget hampers the action sequences as well.
Despite the uneven tone and an unconvincing transition from comedy to action in its third act, director Galindo convinces with enjoyable pop culture references, unflinching brutality in action sequences, and some eminently likeable characterisation. With a more formidable villain and a better climax, Orígenes Secretos could have become a top, top film in the genre. For now, it has to settle for being a reasonably satisfying, nerdy take on the genre.