The underwhelming movie summer of 2016 has proven that superhero fatigue has started to set in big time. Hollywood has banked its future on violent, muscular men in latex bodysuits, which may not be a great long-term strategy, as audiences are becoming cynical and bored with these films. But all is not lost. Comedian John Oliver has an idea for a superhero film that could potentially change the game. Oliver’s HBO show, Last Week Tonight, is currently on hiatus until September 25, but the British satirist is far too polite to leave viewers in the lurch during its absence. So he’s created another one of his web-exclusive videos to tide fans over in the meantime.
In this one, before pitching his own superhero film, Oliver discusses the various DC and Marvel films that have appeared in theaters so far this year. (He also offers an olive branch to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but that’s another, unrelated matter.) Oliver refers to Deadpool as Mean Spider-Man, while Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice becomes Sad Man V Super Sad Man, and Suicide Squad is memorably rendered as The Insane Clown Posse Takes Manhattan. Two pop culture references for the price of one. Is there an antidote to all this doom and despair? Yes, and his name is Johnny Strong.
Oliver says he created this undersized and “unconventionally handsome hero” in the fifth grade, and the youthful, scarlet-clad character and its creator do share a certain resemblance. But the comedian maintains that Johnny’s alter ego, “John Olivier,” is a mere coincidence. All good costumed crusaders need something evil to fight, and this one is no exception. Johnny Strong’s nemeses include his own bedtime, unwanted clarinet lessons, and a terrifying mutant that is in no way the family cat. His classic adventures include such tales as “Night Moves” (with apologies to Bob Seger) and “Land Of The Lost Cat Posters.” The next move is yours, Hollywood.