Unknown Origins (2020) A Review

Now even Crime Dramas are getting in on the Superhero hype.  Which could be a step to far no? Either way, it was something new to bring to the genre I guess.

Certificate: 15

Director: David Galán Galindo

Screenwriter: David Galán Galindo, Fernando Navarro

Starring: Verónica Echegui, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Javier Rey

Genre: Crime, Action

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

David, a young policeman who has recently moved to Madrid, is forced to collaborate with Jorge Elías – an endearing geek and owner of a comic book shop – in order to solve a series of atrocious murders that recreate the secret origins of the classic superheroes. Each grotesque murder is a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that has the streets of Madrid as a backdrop, but whose complete image they are unable to distinguish. Jorge’s encyclopaedic knowledge about the comic world and the unexpected discovery of David’s dark past will be fundamental in helping them solve the enigma hidden behind the awful crimes. – From IMDB

Sometimes, amid the plethora of crime dramas that Netflix like to put out, you will find a diamond in the rough.  And this is it.  At first I was highly sceptical, superheroes in a crime drama? As popular as superheroes are right now, do they really need to be incorporated into every genre?  But very quickly I came to see what this film was doing.  It wasn’t taking itself too seriously, it was embracing the campy, cheesy, over the top world of comic books and mixing it in with a crime drama, so that this film teeters on the edge of a comedy.  And if you are a lover of comic books and all forms of geek culture, there will be something here for you.

It makes overt or subtle references to just about every major fandom you can think of and it was so much fun and so endearing that I loved every minute of it.  But because if it’s heavy focus on this kind of material, people not well versed in comic book lore, or Lord of the Rings, or such pop culture phenomenon’s, will find little here to get excited about.  The reliance on these icons is what makes this film different form the 78656 films that came like it, and if you can’t enjoy those aspects, then the film becomes just cheesy and predictable.

The characters are all terrible clichés of the social groups they are meant to inhabit, and genuine fans of pop culture or comic books or cosplayers may find themselves balking at the not so kind way that their beloved pastimes are displayed here.  None of our characters are really looked at deeply, they have no really personality outside of their clichés, so we end up knowing very little about them and they don’t really stick with you.

Sometimes I feel the film did take it’s comic book links a little far.  The ending in particular was definitely too far fetched and made the whole film seem a little silly, but sometimes we can all do with a little bit of silly.

Highly recommend for comic book/pop culture fans, not so much for anyone else.

‘Unknown Origins’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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