Things That Are Good About Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:
– Neil Patrick Harris. The fact that Doogie has become a nerd phenomenon and a legitimate comic lead really just tickles me endless, but you can’t say it’s anything but deserved; NPH has screen presence coming out the ass, the acting chops to back it up and the willingness to look ridiculous that only the greats have. He elevates a slight storyline every time he’s on screen (which is most of it) and carries his character perfectly.
– “With My Freeze Ray.” It’s the best song in the entire thing, really the only one that’s two steps above generic-level filk. Luckily, it’s also the leadoff song so it helps snag the viewer early, which is important.
– Now we all know: you don’t need millions and millions of dollars to make a commercially viable sci-fi mini-feature! You just need to know lots of people with technical expertise willing to work very cheaply!
Things That Are So-So About Dr. Horrible And His Sing-Along Blog:
– Most of the rest of the songs. They aren’t very catchy, sometimes get musically confusing (all the crossover vocals – yes, we get it, it’s a musical, but crossover vocals are a gimmick best used sparingly) and don’t even always work for comic value. (Usually, but not always.) It doesn’t help that out of the entire cast, NPH is the only one who can really deliver a good dramatic vocal performance.
– Captain Hammer in general. I was totally stoked to see Dr. Horrible because it’s about a supervillain, and from that angle it works, because Dr. Horrible is a wonderfully mixed-up character with both admirable and deplorable qualities. The problem is that Captain Hammer is a one-note “stupid dickhead in position of authority” trope, which just gets in the way of Dr. Horrible’s complexity; surely Dr. Horrible must be in the right if he opposes Captain Hammer, and that ruins a lot of the character’s ambiguity. It doesn’t help that Nathan Fillion (an actor I normally like) hams it up like mad, mugging his way through the story (a decision, I am sure, that was directorial).
Things That Suck About Dr. Horrible And His Sing-Along Blog:
– The ending. Dear god, the ending. This is not a criticism that a silly story can’t have a serious ending, but come on – this is third-grade-level irony, the sort of thing that makes the rotting corpse of O. Henry sit up in his grave and mumble “oh, that just will not do” through disintegrating lips. It’s a shameless, unmerited plea for gravitas, and worse it’s handled in Whedon’s trademark manner for this sort of thing (I am mostly trying to avoid specific spoilers here) so not only does it come off as cheesy but also unoriginal. Prior to the last five minutes of Dr. Horrible I was thinking “well, it’s good enough for what it is.” Afterwards, that changed to “I wish that had been good enough for what it was.”