Abner Bevis (Milo O'Shea) is the creator of a comic-book superhero called Captain Justice. Lately Bevis is in a rut and repeating old storylines, and children have lost interest in the comic, so the comic's owners want to kill off the title. Even the characters in the book's fictional world of Pleasantville have started to notice that their lives are repeating themselves, and the lack of reader interest is causing characters to start fading.
Captain Justice (Jeff Lester) decides to cross the Forbidden Zone into the real world, where he becomes a real human being with no superpowers. Also crossing over is a detective character called Gumshoe (Robert Forster), who's looking out for Justice. The Captain's attempts to fight real-world criminals renew interest in the comic, and the owners agree not to cancel it; also, Bevis is inspired to make it more contemporary.
Adding to the stories is suspicious newspaper reporter Emma Greely (Caitlin Clarke), who keeps snooping around. Her troubled and precocious son Woody (Josh Blake) knows the truth about Captain Justice, but she doesn't.