Unknown Origins could and should have been so much better: a self-aware buddy cop movie with a crime-fighting duo investigating murders inspired by superhero origin stories. Fast, fun, and exciting with knowing nods to an audience clued up on superhero lore, a sort of Scream for comic book fans. Instead we’ve got a grizzly, uninspired (and for some reason, vehemently anti-nerd) hero (Javier Rey) paired with a bumbling comic-obsessed geek (Brays Efe) in a storyline that’s filled with soap opera drama, shoehorned-in romance, and disappointingly low-budget action.

The plot and tone borrow heavily from a multitude of superhero and thriller films but ultimately is inferior to all the films it winks at. The opening is clearly influenced by Seven, complete with grimy opening titles, and torch-lit crime scenes, before veering wildly into Unbreakable and ending with Kick Ass. In the end, the film climaxes with a villain reveal that anyone could see coming and a conclusion so cartoonish it makes you wonder how it opened with a man being decapitated by a weightlifting bar and ended up as a Batman knock-off.

The film succeeds when it stops trying to be gritty and allows for silliness; the odd couple relationship between Rey and Efe has a genuinely funny quality. If the film followed this lighter path, it would have been a simple, pleasant, nerdy experience. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you’ve got two comedy close-up shots of Efe’s rear combined with a victim being burned alive.

While there’s some fun to be had in this superhero rip-off, it’s not enough to make up for Unknown Origins‘ bizarre tonal shifts and lack of self-awareness, taking itself way too seriously as a superhero meets hard-boiled crime flick. 



CAST: Javier Rey, Verónica Echegui, Brays Efe

DIRECTOR: David Galán Galindo

WRITER: David Galán Galindo, Fernando Navarro (based on the novel by David Galán Galindo)

SYNOPSIS: A grizzled detective teams up with a comic book obsessed nerd to investigate a series of murders inspired by superhero origin stories.