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Film / Zoom: Academy for Superheroes

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Zoom, also known by its home media title Zoom: Academy for Superheroes, is a 2006 superhero family comedy film. It tells the story of Jack Shepard (Tim Allen), formerly Captain Zoom of the superhero group Team Zenith. Years ago, an attempt to boost the powers of Jack and his brother Conner (Concussion) resulted in Conner going mad, killing his teammates, and being exiled into a dimensional vortex by Zoom.

Thirty years later, a retired and jaded Shepard is called in to train a group of super-powered youngsters, at Area 52. Unbeknownst to him, the real purpose of their training is so they can battle Concussion, who is on the brink of returning to his home dimension.

The film is loosely based on the Zoom's Academy children's book series.

Zoom: Academy for Superheroes provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aliens Steal Cattle: Parodied. While cruising in their flying saucer, the team lift up a cow with a Tractor Beam.
  • The Alleged Car: Area 52 has an old flying saucer-style UFO lying around that they used as a transport for their supers. The thing malfunctions like crazy, wobbles a lot, can't fly faster than 40 MPH, and even backfires. Summer finally fixes the ship's electronics at the climax and it performs as well as you would expect a proper superhero transport to be.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Gamma 13 can increase superpowers.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The movie ends with the kids becoming the part of the new Team Zenith led by Zoom.
  • Animated Credits Opening: In a comic book style, similar to Sky High.
  • Area 51: They live in Area 52 which is hidden behind Area 51.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Six-year-old Cindy is the only one of the heroes who isn't a teenager or a tween. She doesn't always get the seriousness of what is going on and shows some sadness and confusion about why her parents sent her to the academy.
  • Basement-Dweller: Marsha admits she was this in her youth.
  • Big Eater: Tucker. When he and the gang are ordering their meals from their spaceship at the Wendy's drive-thru, he asks for six frosties. Then he asks what is everyone else having.
  • Brainy Brunette: Marsha is a brunette nerd who works at Area 52. She sometimes veers into Ditzy Genius, as in the opening scene when she nearly gets hit by a truck while trying to contact Jack.
  • Broken Aesop: If the cheerleaders treated Summer horribly before she became a member of the Zoom team, what does it say that they accept her as a member of the team because she has powers that make them look good, dresses like them, is a member of a famous super-team and had a hot boyfriend... or that Summer would even want to become a cheerleader after how she was treated?
  • Broken Pedestal: Marsha loses her admiration of Jack when he keeps putting down the kids he's supposed to teach due to his jadedness with the superhero life. As you might expect, it changes later.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A lot of the adolescents that bullied superheroes Cindy, Summer and Tucker should've known better.
    • When trick-or-treating, a tough kid bully tries to rob Cindy of her halloween candy. Only to get thrown and stuck up into a tree due to her super-strength.
    • Three cheerleaders take away Summer's lunch tray and insult her to her face for no reason. Summer retaliates by using her superpower to propell the school cafeteria food all over them, ruining their cheerleading outfits.
    • At a water park, one kid makes a snide comment about Tucker's weight, calling him "lard butt". Tucker then jumps into the pool but not before using his superpowers to enlarge his buttocks to cushion his jump into the pool. The bully is then shown screaming under Tucker's shadow and water splashes everywhere, soaking everyone.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At one point, Dr. Grant explains to the general that, if Jack still had his powers, he could use them to create a vortex to suck all the Gamma-13 out of Concussion's systems. Guess what Jack does once he gets his powers back during the climax?
  • Comically Missing the Point: Marsha gets miffed when Jack and the kids stole the flying saucer. Especially about the stunt with the burger drive-in.
    Jack: Want a chicken wing?
    Marsha: NO!
    Jack: Are you a vegetarian?
  • Comic Books Are Real: There are comic books based on the adventures of Team Zenith. According to Jack, only some of those stories were "made up".
  • Cool Plane: The flying saucer qualifies.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: For most of the film, Marsha is portrayed as a slightly clumsy scientist fangirl. Near the end, we learn that she blows. Literally.
  • Cute Bruiser: Cindy, a.k.a. "Princess". She's a very young, blonde, Girly Girl with Super-Strength.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: A humorous example, with a Deadly Training Area that shoots paintballs.
  • De-power: Zoom thought this had happened to him after exiling Conner.
    • Despair Event Horizon: It's heavily implied that the crushing grief of his brother going mad and proceeding to kill their friends and teammates along with Zoom having to be the one to imprison his brother caused Zoom to be unable to use his powers.
  • Double Entendre: When Tucker and the gang tell Jack that Marsha has superpowers which is super-breath. Judging by his face, Jack's "She blows?".
  • Drive-Thru Antics: In one scene, the main characters attempt to fly their flying saucer through a Wendy's drive thru. They manage to successfully get their order... after repeatedly hitting the restaurant and knocking over a street light.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite his actions, this happens to Conner. Justified as the main reason this happen was because of the government attempting to power him up with Gamma 13.
  • Expy:
    • Summer almost seems to be a direct copy of Jean Grey.
    • Dylan is suspiciously similar to Sky High (2005)'s Warren in appearance, if not in powerset.
    • Tucker is similar to Bouncing Boy.
    • Cindy is one floppy hat away from being Molly Hayes.
  • Fartillery: One of the rejected applicants is "Jupiter, the gas giant". Care to guess what his power is?
  • Forgotten First Meeting: At one point the kids play basketball underneath the flying saucer while Mr. Pibb watches. They're later shown the saucer and meet Pibb but act like they've never seen either before.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Dylan tests his clairvoyance to find Summer dancing in her room, at the last second, she realizes he's there with her empathic power and looks directly into the camera.
  • General Ripper: Larraby (ironically played by RIP Torn) always goes for the violent approach.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: To an extreme. Blue is good (Zoom's powers, Summer's necklace, Tucker's soccer uniform) and red is evil (Concussion's powers, the cheerleaders' uniforms).
  • Humiliation Conga: Dr. Grant is not exactly evil, but he kinda deserved it.
  • In Name Only: Other than it concerns super-powered people, there is no real overlap between the movie and Jason Lethcoe's original Zoom books and comics.
  • Invisibility: Dylan, a.k.a. "Houdini" can not only turn himself invisible, but also other things.
  • Magic Pants: Tucker's swimming trunks expand to fit his enormous rear for the swimming pool incident. Averted during the try-outs, when the ballooning of his foot sends his shoe and sock flying.
  • Make Some Noise: Concussion has the power to generate powerful sonic blasts.
  • Muggle Sports, Super Athletes: The end shows that Tucker uses his powers to become a goalkeeper in soccer.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Larraby: All the important persons in this room…and Ms. Holloway.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: The kids are given specially designed suits that adapt with their powers (though Spencer earlier demonstrated that he had some Magic Pants).
  • Partial Sizeshifter: Tucker, a.k.a. "Mega Boy".
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Conner lost his mind after being exposed to Gamma 13 radiation, and turned on his own teammates.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Cindy is an elementary school girl with super strength capable of throwing around objects which weigh several tons.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Initially subverted, then zigzagged. Three of the four cheerleaders at future superhero Summer's school pick on her with no provocation in her introductory scene. However, in the final scene, Summer has joined the cheerleading squad herself, cheers enthusiastically, and uses her powers to help make a more impressive pyramid.
  • Power Nullifier: Area 52 has a room that acts as this, used to detain unruly supers.
  • The Power of Family: Jack regains his lost superspeed when Concussion flings a heavy-duty net meant to contain him at Cindy. She cries out for him, and he uses his speed without realizing it to get her out of the way.
  • Product Placement: The team flies their saucer through the drive-through at Wendy's, where Tucker orders an insane number of "Frosty" desserts for himself. When they return to base, Jack offers Marsha a Spicy Chicken sandwich.
  • Psychic Powers: Summer/"Wonder" has telekinesis and some level of technopathy. Her eventual boyfriend Dylan/"Houdini" has clairvoyance.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers:
    • Larraby's plan to deal with Concussion's return is to juice the kids with Gamma 13, despite the fact that it was being exposed to thirteen times a lethal dose of gamma radiation that turned Concussion into a lunatic in the first place.
    • Played straight with Zoom as the Gamma 13 succeeded in amplifying his speed powers without a hitch.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: How everyone sees Jack after his powers return & he saves Connor.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Connor. At the end of the Big Fight Scene, he still has red eyes and then they slowly turn to normal blue, indicating he is saved.
  • Retired Badass: Zoom aka Jack Shepard is an ex-superhero.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point, Summer uses her TK to lift a guard to the ceiling, just like Courteney Cox's character Glo on Misfits of Science.
    • There's also this exchange:
    Summer: I see things.
    Jack: Do you see dead people?
  • Sidekick: Doctor Grant. He's even described as such in the prologue.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Marsha.
  • Superhero School: More of a training program.
  • Super-Speed: Zoom (duh!). He can run fast enough to create vortexes and appear as nothing but a blur.
  • Super-Strength: Cindy's power. She's capable of throwing around objects that weigh several tons.
  • Technicolor Wind: Dr. Marsha Holloway can breathe a rainbow-colored blast of wind.
  • Technopath: Summer's telepathy also works on machines. She can combine it with her telekinesis to fix machines.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: According to the tracking screen, the pan-dimensional anomaly moves at a speed of 25 MPH. Over the course of twelve days, it should have covered a little over seven thousand miles, meaning Concussion should've emerged somewhere in Europe.

Alternative Title(s): Zoom 2006