Friday, 10 August 2012

Super (2010)

The past few years have seen superhero movies being spewed out more routinely than children for Kerry Katona, and even though most of them are incredible action-packed thrill rides, they don't really offer much in the way of originality. When Matthew Vaughn's Kick Ass came along it was a breath of fresh air as it offered a new kind of superhero; the kind of superhero that everyone has daydreamed of becoming.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had fantasies of becoming a masked vigilante from time to time.  James Gunn's Super has been compared to Kick Ass and even accused of ripping it off, however, this was sitting in James Gunn's drawer for years (well before Kick Ass was even a graphic novel).  It's unfair to compare both films though because they're more different than similar; the similarities are the regular guy gone vigilante lead characters and dark humor, but other than that...  Super isn't as mainstream appealing as Kick Ass and it isn't made for a wide audience.  It's made for those of us who enjoy movies with a completely warped sense of humor.  Super is most definitely, warped.

Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) is a fry chef in a fast food restaurant living a miserable life.  However, things get even more miserable when his drug addict wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for her drug dealer Jacques (Kevin Bacon).  One night Frank has an anime tentacle inspired epiphany from God and decides to become a masked vigilante known as The Crimson Bolt.  His mission is to punish those who do wrong, whether it be selling drugs or raping or even queue skipping.  Ellen Page's character Libby also adopts a role as his sidekick Boltie, and helps him beat up criminals with vicious glee.

Super is a fun, demented movie that doesn't try to be anything other than warped.  This is the type of humor that appeals more to a minority of film fans.  Just when you start slipping into a comfort zone something happens and shifts gear in the blink of an eye.  Almost effortlessly, it shifts between goofy, hilarious and bizarre to graphically violent, dark and disturbing to sentimental and sweet and so on.  At its heart its a comedy, but it's only for the darkest humor.

Super is the product of a love for comic books but it also comes across as somewhat satirical to recent comic book movies.  Since Nolan's Batman, many have went for the gritty approach to make superheroes seem more realistic and true to life.  Well, there's none more true to life than Frank, an inept masked vigilante who beats criminals with a wrench.  The budget restraints also give this movie a gritty look, so perhaps it wasn't intentionally satirical but I can see why people would make that observation.  According to Gunn, who started writing it 9 years prior to it's release, it was a reaction to comic books and not movies.  When this script was in its early stages, comic book movies weren't as huge as they are now.  I think it just goes to show that James Gunn is a talented writer with a great imagination and not some satirist of modern pop culture.

Super is what it is - not for everyone.  It's goofy, dark, violent, sweet, hilarious, bizarre and made for a specific audience.  It comes across as the type of movie Gunn made for himself more than anything.  If you like dark comedy, superhero movies and violence then check it out.  If you hate superhero movies you might like this one because it's unlike any other.  It's demented fun and I for one adore it with all of my black little heart.


  1. One of my favorite movies of 2011. The main performances and all the amazing violence just blew me away. "Super" is super! :-)

  2. Sorry to interrupt your blog, but I have tagged you for a Liebster Blog Award: If you don't want to / can't pass it on, that's okay, just wanted to let you know! Thanks, HorrO

  3. I have been meaning to check this movie out for sometime now! I really need to, it sounds like it'll be awesome.

  4. Thanks HorrO. It sounds awesome.

    And yeah Queen, it's amazing and warped.