Lazer Team review: A better superhero movie than The Avengers?
In the span of 19 months, a lot can change. You can pick up a new hobby and become fairly proficient at it, a game can receive so many updates and DLCs that it can go from being an average game to the greatest thing ever, and in Rooster Teeth’s case, they can take a mere concept and turn it into a full movie that is distributed to theaters all around the world.
But how does a movie such as Lazer Team compare against the titanic forces of the movie industry, especially when there are so many big budget films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Avengers floating around? After all, Rooster Teeth only has a staff of some hundred people, and their live action shorts (the closest thing to a movie that they produced) are rarely longer than several minutes.
A matter of perspective
From the moment the first scene starts, it becomes clear that you don’t actually need to know anything about Rooster Teeth to enjoy the movie. In fact, this can be the first time that you’ve ever laid your eyes on a movie, and you can still enjoy watching it. By the time Lazer Team ends, you can end up laughing just as much as any Rooster Teeth fan, even if you might not recognize any of the faces in the movie.
Sure, you may miss some of the (rather cleverly placed) cameos and references in Lazer Team, but your experience will not be diminished just because you don’t know what the RWBY acronym on a laptop stands for. Even when Lazer Team was still a concept, it was clear that Lazer Team is not so much a movie that is about Rooster Teeth, but rather a movie that just happens to have various Rooster Teeth personalities in it.
The superhero movie that you never knew you wanted
On paper, Lazer Team’s plot isn’t exactly groundbreaking: Earth is in danger of being destroyed by aliens, and only the champions of the human race can save us all. From Halo to The Avengers to Doom, it would be hard not to find something that doesn’t have a similar plot. But Lazer Team is unique in that it is a comedy about a bunch of idiots who just happen to stumble their way to the end, and maybe, just maybe, they can save the day even though they can barely stand each other’s presence.
As a result, Lazer Team can rival even The Avengers in terms of being a superhero movie. With The Avengers, you basically know that Captain America and Iron Man aren’t going to die, and regardless of what the antagonist throws at them, you know that the good guys will always win in the end. But with the protagonists of Lazer Team, the mere survival of any of the protagonists is not guaranteed. After all, the main characters are a high school football player, a middle aged police officer, an alcohol addicted man with a limp, and a person who is the living embodiment of stupid.
In other words, Lazer Team is a movie about how normal people attempt to accomplish extraordinary things, but like normal people, their flaws are part of who they are and they aren’t going to magically become perfect human beings by the end of the movie.
Plot first, comedy second
Even though Lazer Team is a comedy, it certainly doesn’t sacrifice being a good movie for comedic effect. There are no cheesy one liners, no shots of someone yelling “NOOOOOOOOO!”, no “I’m getting too old for this shit” cliches, and certainly no groan inducing lines that you’ve probably heard a thousand times before in other media.
In truth, this is part of what makes Lazer Team seem more natural than something like The Avengers; because all the main characters are supposed to be normal people, the comedy arises from them progressing through the plot, not from someone who just happens to be saying a witty joke here and there.
So is it worth my money?
At just under 2 hours, Lazer Team can feel a little short, which leads to the inescapable feeling that some of the characters didn’t get as much time to develop or exposition as they should. But ultimately, you would be hard pressed to find a movie that manages to combine comedy with some elements of drama and good acting without sacrificing one or the other.
The short version–Lazer Team is good, it’s funny, and you should go watch it even though you will most likely have to sign up for YouTube Red.