Superhero worship is a dubious matter, often extending its inviting arm out to vulnerable or insecure individuals as a way of providing them with an idol upon which to latch onto. Whether it be Batman, Superman, or even Aquaman, characters in fictional form always possess inherent traits that we like to relate to ourselves as a way of reaffirming and solidifying characteristics that we believe we’re blessed with. Taking these reflections of personality with a pinch of salt is never always dangerous; conversing with others about the relationship between yourself and a fictional individual can more often than not spark intense and intriguing discussion. When someone tries to live, breath and act as that character however, that’s when the whole affair can become rather fragile.
Superman, a short film by Cooper and Canepari dedicates itself to dealing with talking about the ins and outs of a superhero through the eyes of Christopher Dennis. He’s been walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard for 19 years, tourists skedaddling to get their picture taken with him. Even at home, he lives in a small, messy apartment, his fortune tied up in Superman collectibles that can be found on the ceiling, floor and everywhere in-between. He has effectively become the character in order to survive; not just is he financially earning a living through his replication of a superhero, but he’s also being kept mentally stable by the assurance that people will always fawn over him as long as their love for Superman doesn’t dwindle; the popularity of comic book heroes is so in vogue through DC and Marvel destroying all records at the box office that Dennis is almost guaranteed to be doing what he does for a prolonged period of time. Whether that’s a good thing in the long run is ultimately the most important question, though. Idolisation often brings about blind devotion and skewed mentality, thus it’s with trepidation that most will regard the ongoing situation with Dennis.
Nevertheless, whether you look upon Christopher Dennis as a man in charge of his destiny or not, you have to admire his pure devotion, even if it does lean towards the hazardous end of the scale. For their part, the directors make an interesting and often poignant case for him. They don’t use him in ways others might, they allow him to tell his story as opposed to manufacturing it for him, and by doing so create a much more openly fascinating tale for the viewer to gorge on.