Review: 'The Return of Captain Invincible' a Superhero Parody

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday July 6, 2022

'The Return Of Captain Invincible'
'The Return Of Captain Invincible'  (Source:Severin)

In this day and age, we're constantly bombarded with superhero-focused entertainment across every format of media we consume — including, but not limited to, Instagram stories, TikToks, feature-length films, and TV shows. It's hard to find ingenuity in superheroism nowadays, especially with the surrounding world casting itself ablaze with growing intensity by the day; even the parodic takes on the popular genre fall flat because so much of popular culture is already dominated by superhero content.

This is my long-winded way of telling you that Philippe Mora's "The Return of Captain Invincible" — a distinctly goofy and reflexive superhero comedy from 1983 — feels incredibly refreshing in 2022. Severin Films brings Mora's musical comedy to Blu-ray for the first time ever, with newly-restored transfers of both the 91-minute theatrical and 101-minute director's cuts, as well as a soundtrack CD with nine tracks and an orchestral suite from the film. If that doesn't sound like enough, each cut gets its own disc and special features, including conversations with filmmaker Philippe Mora and his struggle to get this film to see the light of day. It's an absolute delight to see this long-overlooked oddity get the red-carpet treatment from Severin in a three-disc edition that's stacked with features.

Captain Invincible (Alan Arkin) spent years fighting the Nazis during World War II — so much so that his special powers turned the war against the axis of evil. But when he's accused of being a Communist by the U.S. Government, the superhero absconds to Australia to hide out and drink himself silly. Thirty years later, his nemesis Mr. Midnight (Christopher Lee) reemerges and steals the hypno-ray, a secret government weapon. Now, the President (Michael Pate) needs Captain Invincible's help... that is, if he can stop drinking and get his act together.

What's so refreshing about "The Return of Captain Invincible" is that it offers Mora's signature laid-back absurdity, which almost never rubs itself in your face. There are musical numbers and physical gags aplenty, but they're all under the steady of direction of Mora, who eschews each situation unpredictably and trusts both Arkin and Lee to shoulder the material. And boy, do they; it's a joy to watch the sardonic Arkin and boisterous Lee pretend they're smack dab in a comic book. Plus, there's an entire musical number sung by Lee about cocktails, and that's worth the price alone!

As for special features, Severin has really stacked both Blu-ray discs with featurettes. In particular, there's a great conversation between Mora and Marc Edward Heuck about the production and where the studio started getting heavily involved. If the idea of Alan Arkin as a singing drunk superhero and Christopher Lee as a Nazi supervillain interests you, you'll get a ton of enjoyment out of this new Blu-ray release from Severin Films.

Other special features include:

"The Invincible Producer" — Interview with producer Andrew Gaty

"An Eye for Ozploitation" — Interview with cinematographer Mike Molloy

"Side Saddle Superhero Sidekick" — Interview with actress Kate Fitzpatrick

"A Brit Playing a Frenchman In Australia" — Interview with actor Chris Haywood

Christopher Lee performs "Name Your Poison" on German TV

Audio commentary with director Philippe Mora and "Not Quite Hollywood" director Mark Hartley

CD soundtrack

"The Return of Captain Invincible" is now available on Blu-ray from Severin Films.