The League (2008, Kyle Higgins)

A lot about The League is impressive. The filmmakers do a good job creating a stylized 1960s Chicago on a very low budget–director Higgins has some great overhead shots where they change the light saturation to hide it being modern cars on the streets below–and there's a definite attention to detail for most of the scenes.

The short concerns teenage superhero sidekick grown up and investigating a series of murders. Higgins and co-writer Alec Siegel do a decent job plotting out the first half of the short, with Paul Papadakis's masked protagonist playing gumshoe, but everything falls apart once the mystery's solved.

Higgins has problems directing actors (and fight scenes). Papadakis and Reginald James are all right, but Rick Cramer has some really weak moments and lots of screen time.

The League's often impressively produced, but those production values can't overcome Higgins's inability to create tension and the narrative deficiencies.

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