My favorite superhero film of all time is called “Condorman.” You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s not an Oscar-nominated picture. It’s not particularly well-liked. It isn’t based on a comic book. It isn’t available on DVD, at least not in the United States. Until recently, I hadn’t even seen it since elementary school. To most, it’s the very definition of movie theater trash.
To me, it’s cinematic gold.
“Condorman” centers on comic book creator Woody Wilkins, a man who refuses to create concepts that couldn’t exist in the real world. When he comes up with the idea for Condorman — a hero with artificial wings who soars through the air and fights the bad guys — he’s compelled to test out the suit’s practicality before committing the character to paper. The experiment is an embarrassment, sending Woody from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the depths of the Seine River.
But Woody’s adventuring is far from over. Harry, a CIA friend of Woody’s, sends the cartoonist on a routine trip to Istanbul, where he’s to deliver a top secret document to Natalia, a Russian spy who is considering defecting to America. The meeting doesn’t go well and Natalia is captured, prompting Woody to once again give the Condorman persona a try. With the aid of Harry’s CIA-procured gadgetry, Woody ups his game as the winged hero and embarks on a mission to rescue Natalia, and protect her from the clutches of the evil Krokov.
My love for “Condorman” definitely stems from seeing it as a young kid. Still in single digits, I used to go on road trips with my family while music from “The Phantom of the Opera” played in the background. Imagine my surprise when I realized that Condorman and the Phantom were one and the same, none other than the fantastic and over-the-top Michael Crawford.
Crawford’s overeager and frantic performance as Woody might be cringe-worthy by today’s standards, but that was part of the charm for me as a kid: this unspecial man turning himself into a slightly more special gadget-driven hero spoke to me in a way that Batman never could. Sure, Batman builds himself from the ground up and has no superpowers to speak of, but he’s fantastically cool in every facet of his life.
Woody, on the other hand, is the quintessential comic book dork that just so happens to have cool gadgets thanks to his bumbling CIA buddy. I don’t know about you, but that’s a superhero I can get behind.
That’s not even mentioning the rest of the cast. You’ve got former Bond girl Barbara Carrera as Natalia, “Teen Wolf” daddy James Hampton as Harry and the late, great Oliver Reed as Krokov. Combined with Crawford’s performance, this is a fantastically watchable cast, if only on paper.
But my favorite part is the music. The “Condorman” theme song is pretty much my favorite thing ever. I have epic dreams totally unrelated to “Condorman,” except for the fact that the film’s soundtrack is the blaring score. I’ll whistle the tune to my cats as I chase them around the apartment. I hum it in the shower. In the car. On the street. Say what you will about the film as a whole, but I won’t entertain any arguments against the “Condorman” soundtrack — it’s truly awesome.
“Condorman” isn’t the best superhero film of all time — I’ll concede that it’s not even a good movie — but it’s a ton of fun and it holds a special place in my heart. I laugh every time I watch it, and if you ever get the chance to check it out, I hope you laugh too.
What are your favorite Sick Day Stash films? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!