CHENNAI: Comic books have created a world of supermen and superwomen who have mesmerized generations. When Spiderman crawls up skyscrapers or Batman vanquishes evil, they inspire awe. They emerged from comics to land on silver screens giving us endless hours of excitement.
However, some superheroes have grappled with their identity on screen, often feeling different or even freakish.
This is the core, underlying theme in the German work “Freaks: You’re One of Us,” directed by Felix Binder and penned by Marc O. Seng, now streaming on Netflix. It underscores how they are sidelined by society, their powers suppressed.
Wendy (Cornelia Groschel) is one such woman. Totally unaware of her enormous power, she leads a mundane life with husband Lars (Frederic Linkemann) and son Karl (Finnlay Berger). Her boss, Angela (Gisa Flake) at the diner where she works is nasty but luck strikes when Wendy realizes that she is no ordinary human being, her unbelievable strength has been kept suppressed.
It takes a homeless man with superhuman abilities for Wendy to wake up from her slumber. He jumps from a bridge and is run over by a truck, but gets up without a scratch. Wendy is spellbound. A series of incidents push her to test her own strength, like, for instance, bashing up three drunken troublemakers or ticking off school bullies who worry Karl. We root for her as the underdog-turned-hero plot reaches its zenith.
But, sadly, little happens in the second half of this Netflix adventure. The action begins to look tame and the high-octane scenes seem oddly lackluster with the once ominous Dr Stern (Nina Kunzendorf) losing her fear factor.
While the editing is crisp, the writing lets the script down in a film that does little to present its protagonist’s unimaginable prowess in an exhilarating way.