Here's how Rick And Morty season 3 episode 4 "Vindicators 3: The Return Of Worldender" took aim at superhero cinema. Rick And Morty season 3 proved to be the darkest season of the show to date, with the first episode ending with Beth and Jerry splitting up and Rick literally declaring to Morty season 3 would be the darkest year of their adventures.
Rick And Morty season 3 featured all the laughs of previous years, but it took time to probe the impact Rick is actually having on his family too. He might be a genius, but he's also an impulsive, drunken nihilist who is completely unwilling to examine his many issues. Episode 3 "Pickle Rick" is a perfect example, where Rick transforms himself into a pickle and has a ridiculous, Die Hard-style adventure just to avoid family therapy. The episode still ends with him being forced to go to therapy and briefly confront his behavior, but he and Beth decide to go drinking instead.
Rick And Morty season 3 episode 4 "Vindicators 3: The Return Of Worldender" makes no attempts to mask its parody of superhero movies. The Vindicators are a thinly veiled take on the Guardians Of The Galaxy, right down to quippy, Peter Quill-style hero Vance Maximus (Christian Slater). Even The Vindicators symbol is a parody of The Avengers logo. The story set up finds Rick and Morty called to help The Vindicators take on supervillain Worldender.
Morty is initially excited but becomes insecure once he realizes he missed out on The Vindicators second adventure to defeat villain Doom-Nomitron because they hate Rick. Morty's hero worship of the team also makes Rick jealous - which naturally leads to bad things. The team is soon trapped in a Saw-style scenario where Rick, having become blackout drunk the night before, singlehandedly wipes out Worldender and his minions off-screen, and forces The Vindicators to play a brutal life or death game.
Rick And Morty season 3 episode 4 is another episode where Rick is the villain of the piece, with his self-destructive behavior once again putting Morty and himself at risk. It's also a brilliant parody of superhero cinema, where the heroes all have ridiculous powers and tragic origin stories, with Rick concluding none of them are especially unique. The episode shows even Morty is becoming jaded of this particular lesson, pointing out that that's always Rick's point. The show also reveals the group isn't immune to interpersonal conflicts and other pettiness, and the so-called heroes once committed genocide by wiping out a planet to stop a supervillain.
Rick And Morty season 3 episode 4 "Vindicators 3: The Return Of Worldender" ultimately isn't one of the better episodes of the show. It has some good gags and pointed parody of the genre, but it's not quite as funny as all-time episodes like "Pickle Rick" either. It does bring the core of the story down to character, however, and again points out Rick himself is essentially the villain of the series.