Stories about superheroes can be serious and epic. There are plenty of dramatic movies featuring superheroes and their world-saving adventures. The Marvel movies have added humor and realism to the mix, giving the genre a whole new life.
Other movies and TV shows have taken a satirical view even further. The Tick, like the 1990s cartoon that preceded the current live-action show, plays this up with hilarious results. Here are just a few of the things The Tick does better than any other superhero show.
10 Perfect Lead Casting
You know who Peter Serafinowicz is even if you don't recognize the name right away. He was Denarian Saal in Guardians of the Galaxy and played the Sommelier in John Wick: Chapter 2.
One of the reasons he's such a great choice to play The Tick is his talent for exuding a serious yet amiable persona. The Tick is tough, childish, and sometimes just plain silly, but he still has to be likable and believable. Serafinowicz possesses the acting prowess and action film experience to combine the funny and the serious while making sure The Tick is always the same adorable lug.
9 Awesome Supporting Characters
The character of Arthur Everest, played by Griffin Newman, has a much more significant role in this live-action adaptation and wears it well. He's the everyman the audience connects with. Arthur walks the line between accountant by day and Moth Man by night, and that makes us admire and identify with him.
Other characters like Overkill are played by Scott Speiser, who appeared in a number of deadly-serious action roles, which is perfect for a heavily-satirized character who takes himself far too seriously.
8 Costume Design
The creators of The Tick have to be commended for their work on the various superhero costumes. The comics are used as the main source material and the costume designers have been able to keep the vision authentic while adding features that work in live action, including comic relief.
That's not just Tick's blue onesie, although it took a couple of seasons to get the infamous blue suit to fit properly. Crab men, space explorers, and a ridiculous variety of other superbeings appear on screen in crazy attire that will appeal to more than comic book fans.
7 Inside Jokes And Social Commentary
Some of the show's running gags are actually the uniforms themselves. Arthur's suit is more complex in the live-action film than the comic book or cartoon, which gives the CGI people a chance to shine and also gives the audience a few thrills and laughs. The image of an accountant's physique crammed into a shiny leotard was hysterical in the comics and is just as funny in the live-action version but it also makes an important and sobering point. Like Firefist in Deadpool 2 observed, "There are no plus-sized superheroes."
There's the character of Overkill, who wears several belts of shotgun shells but carries no shotgun. Wait, what? Superion's suit looks amazingly cheap considering his powers, but that's deliberate. The audience is intended to associate that look with something from the real world like a Halloween costume, because if you saw someone dressed in tights and a cape in real life, that's what you would think.
6 The Femme Fatale And The Shadowy Villian
Ms. Lint (Yara Martinez) and the Terror (Jackie Earle Haley) are the two main antagonists of the series and they are funny, witty, and interesting while also being genuinely frightening.
Lint wears the stereotypical long black clothes and is missing an eye. She's every inch a creepy arch-villain, but is that a red swirl on the inside of her fake eye? Like you'd see on a child's toy? At this point, she'd snarl at you to look away. Otherwise, you'd start laughing and she'd have to electrocute you.
The story of The Tick goes all the way back to the 1990s, but the ways in which film and TV portray superheroes have changed a lot. It used to be more straightforward, with good guys like Superman dominating the scene. Today we have a strong trend of antihero characters that can be good or bad. Deadpool, one of the most famous and best-loved of these examples, constantly resists the call of the hero, even subverting it when he gets the chance. The Tick has these types of characters and shamelessly lampoons them.
Fans of uncompromising characters who waver between good and evil, like Batman, Cable, or The Punisher, will recognize the antagonist side of Overkill immediately. He's funny but also dangerous. The confusion he has with common tough guy memes is brilliant, with such gems as, "You're in the club. The first rule of the club is shut up!" Oops.
4 Satirical Portrayals
Marvel occasionally hints at how silly superheroes can really be, and The Tick runs with that concept. If insects are so cool, then why not a shout-out to the tiny tick? It's amazingly strong and has special features like a tough exoskeleton and incredible jumping abilities! Right?
By taking this a step too far into the ridiculous, the audience is allowed to poke fun at some of pop culture's most sacred icons. The Tick has the attributes of strong heroes with supernatural powers, like Superman and the "insects." His counterpart, Arthur, is meant to satirize normal people who use gadgets to be superheroes, like Batman and Iron Man.
3 Superhero Parodies
Then we have characters like Superian, the interpretation of how Superman would behave in reality. He's a careless cad who uses his powers for frivolous reasons or random publicity stuns. Why save the world or do good in secret when there's money to be made? And how easy is it to fetch coffee when you can fly?
Sure, it's shallow, but it's more realistic, even if in a cynical way. Fans of Marvel, DC, or any superhero universe will recognize their favorite characters easily.
2 Realistic Connections
There are just enough connections to everyday life in The Tick to give viewers a realistic reference while still allowing them to suspend their belief long enough to enjoy the show. Sure, we have supervillains and wacky gadgets, but then we have settings likes soccer fields and cubicles.
At one point, Dot asks Arthur, "Where do you find these people?" His reply is, "Work." This is funny because it's so true. You don't have to wander around in a dark alley at 3 am to find a "weirdo" because, in real life, you can find them anywhere.
1 Regular People and Superheroes
In another hilarious twist, we get to see how people would interact with a superhero if they could really interact with one. Do we get origin stories or inspired speeches? Certainly not! The Tick is inundated with inane and just plain, silly questions like, "How much can you bench?" or "Why don't you wear a cape?"
This is the most meaningful connection of all. In the actual presence of a superhero, we aren't cool or collected but are reduced to children in the face of our dearest heroes. The Tick doesn't shy away from that, but instead, it celebrates it.