You have nothing better to do this Sunday than watch Syfy's attempt to reinvigorate The Phantom, one of the dorkiest superheroes of all time. Right? What if I tell you the villain tries to destroy the world using Flickr? Spoilers...

Yes, really. The villain of The Phantom, Rhatib Singh of the villainous Singh brotherhood, is obsessed with using cable TV to brainwash people into killing each other. Their cable TV boxes broadcast a few moments of static that put you into an Alpha state and allow you to be programmed to kill people. And it's called Flickr. Seriously, there are dozens of scenes in this four-hour miniseries where they talk about how they're going to use Flickr to assassinate the Israeli peace minister or whatever, and cause revolution and terrorism and instant conspiracies. Beware Flickr!


This trailer basically covers a huge chunk of what happens in the miniseries, and includes my favorite scene. The villain, played by Cas Anvar, overacts fantastically in a bunch of scenes, but no more so than in the scene where he's barking, "Revolution? Sure! Terrorism? Why not? War? Let's see if I can clear my schedule!" And then randomly decapitates a guy.

Yeah, basically it's a giant cheese plate, over which ten tubes of Velveeta have been emptied, and then the whole thing has been hurled into a bathtub-sized fondue pot, while everyone involved cackles and rubs molten cheese all over their faces, yelling, "THE CHEESE IT TALKS TO ME!!!" If you know that going in, and if you've got enough nitrous oxide, you can have a pretty good time with The Phantom.


At no point during the four hours of the miniseries does anything happen that you don't see coming a mile off. But unlike with some other recent Syfy miniseries (cough cough Riverworld) everybody is utterly committed to what they're doing. They're doing this, and you can't stop them.

Stuff I learned from watching The Phantom:

Yellow is the color of childhood trauma.

Parkour is magic. Parkour can solve almost any problem that might come up. Girlfriend stand you up? Do Parkour on her roof until she takes you back. Miss a job interview? Do some Parkour! Irritable bowel syndrome? I'm sure sufficiently vigorous Parkour will sort that out. Seriously — in this movie, people doing Parkour are so magical, they can even film themselves and stream the results live online — without having anybody to hold the camera. Parkour RULES!


You can be caught in a horrific car accident as a child and then live on scraps in a dumpster for months as a baby, becoming the "Wild Child" of whatever city you're in, only to pull your shit together and become a Law Student — but you'll still go and get yourself arrested randomly, because Parkour.

Women who are utterly devoted to their dads who leer at them creepily are inexplicably hot and awesome.


A sufficiently bullet-proof costume will enable you to walk towards people who are shooting a bunch of machine guns at you at point blank range, including at your unprotected face, without even slowing down. Seriously, this happens several times. Maybe I missed the explanation for how the Phantom's costume actually causes bullets to veer away from him or something. But they do mention that he's wearing Kevlar at one point, so I guess that covers it.


If you drop into a major visit by the Israeli Minister Of Peace, wearing full-body armor and a mask, and happen to stop one random guy from shooting the MOP, nobody will question you or try to unmask you. They'll even let you ride along in the motorcade afterwards.

There's loads more. But suffice to say, The Phantom might be the silliest thing you'll see this weekend — possibly even sillier than Jonah Hex. And at least it looks like the people making The Phantom had fun with it. Mostly it's worth it for the over-the-top bad guy.


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