Friday, May 13, 2016


If you dislike the seriousness of the Christopher Nolan Batman films but still want a slightly more realistic comic book-based super hero film (that still retains a comic sensibility), Super is the perfect compromise. There are obvious jabs at the more serious & "gritty" superhero/comic/graphic novel-based films that have surfaced in the last decade, but James Gunn still holds no punches when it comes to the gruesome punishment of pedophiles, drug pushers & generic "thugs".
And if you're looking for a strong/memorable (and slightly unhinged) female character (something that's suddenly in high demand these days), then look no further than Ellen Page's "Boltie" (Crimson's sidekick). With projects like Mad Max: Fury Road (Princess Furiosa), The Fast & Furious Franchise, Haywire, Spy and the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, it's almost like Super just missed its target audience as it was released about a year or two before the surge of prominent/ass-kicking female characters. Boltie would have fit right in with the characters from the aforementioned films had Super been released in 2013 or 2014. But at the end of the day I guess everything worked for James Gunn. His 2014 superhero film Guardians of The Galaxy pushed what he tried to do with Super even further. The difference between then and now is Gunn has a much larger platform with Guardians being in the Marvel Comic Universe (it should be noted that Gunn is one of the only directors in the MCU with previous superhero/comic book movie experience).

Open-minded fans of Kickass and/or Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America would also appreciate this (Super is kind of like a guilt free version of Kickass). If you look below you'll see the color scheme of the outfits in both movies even match...

I can see how Super & Kickass being released less than a year apart from each other could raise some eyebrows but Gunn has a unique (less forced) brand of dark humor that cant be found in something like Kickass.
He also seemed to draw some serious subconscious inspiration from Daniel Johnston's artwork to more serious films like Hannibal...

In Super Rainn Wilson plays an average citizen ("Frank") who's pushed over the edge after his drug addicted wife leaves him for local drug kingpin: "Jacques" (played masterfully by Kevin Bacon). After a sign, from who he believes is god, Franks takes on the superhero alter ego of "The Crimson Bolt" (equip with an outfit that looks like a bastardized Daredevil costume). With the help of his sidekick "Boltie" (Page), Frank/Crimson Bolt works to not only rescue his wife, but to put an end to crime in their town. And the greatest thing about Crimson Bolt's brand of justice is that he treats everyone equally. From drug dealers & child molesters to people who cut in line at the movies -  they all get their faces beat in with the same monkey wrench (Crimson Bolt's weapon of choice).

This movie is more comedy than action but shouldn't be grouped in with stuff like Mystery Men  Meteor Man, Blank Man or other movies in that follow a similar blueprint. Besides the more adult themes & humor, Super has some surprise gut-wrenching moments.
Take Boltie/Ellen Paige's death scene for example. I honestly didn't see that coming. Not only had I grown attached to her character but I also didn't think James Gunn had the guts to kill off a young/"cute" character in such a gruesome way (this is probably Gunn's best crafted standalone scene to date).

Super is still streaming on Netflix so there's really no excuse to not give this is a shot if you haven't already). And if comics, violence & indie films aren't your thing, at least give Super a chance for Kevin Bacon's underrated/under appreciated performance as the film's villain.


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