Pow! Zap! Boom! Divorce dramedy! Ah yes, the old Hollywood staples…
Most films and comics are made to indulge fantasies, whether they be about super-powered revenge or undying romance. Super relishes this and throws it back in your face – with a laugh. So you want to be a hero? Well your homemade costume is gonna look like crap. Want to save your former lover? They may not want to be saved. Want to swing wrenches at wrong-doers’ heads? Well it’s gonna be messy, and they’re probably gonna cry. It shows how hilariously incompatible our fantasies are with reality, even when those fantasies are entered into with the most noble and heroic intentions.
- Director/Writer: James Gunn (read interview)
- Actors: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker
- Original Music by: Tyler Bates
- Cinematography by: Steve Gainer
Social outcast Rainn Wilson bats waaay above his league with vivacious Liv Tyler and (home run!) marries her. Alas, her drug habit leads her from his loving home and into the clutches of dealer Kevin Bacon. Wilson becomes the wrench-wielding ‘Crimson Bolt’, vigilante violence ensues, and eventually he teams up with peppy Ellen Page (AKA ‘Boltie’) to go up against the big baddies and save his wife.
- It’s damn funny! - The dead-pan, train of thought narration fits Wilson’s style perfectly and the film glitters with a cast of truly individual characters who keep the humor coming thick and fast. It reminded me of the Coen Brothers: quirky and black.
- Emotional depth – We really care about this guy doing everything to save his wife. He’s obviously bonkers but he has a righteous goal, and is struggling to keep to that. And this emotional depth doesn’t weigh too heavy on the comedy: jokes carry you through each scene so you laugh while you feel sympathy or shock.
- The end – Loved it! But of course I won’t tell you here. Suffice to say that it cemented my opinion of this as a unique film which respects its audience and characters.
- It’s not Kick-Ass! – If you didn’t like that film, rest assured that Super is not the same, it is adult (not a teen boy’s day dream); if you did like that, then rest assured you’re getting a whole different take on the ‘real word hero’ idea and it may be one you love.
- It’s not Kick-Ass! - A lot of people are going to have incorrect expectations because of the recent slew of ‘realistic’ comic book movies, but this was written a good half decade ago and is a great character comedy which just happens to be set within the comic book premise. Come expecting offbeat comedy not fan-boy fodder.
- Violence - There’s a lot of it, it’s explicit, and not all of it can be laughed at, which will put some people off. For those who stick around it means we can’t always cheer for our main character. We see the reality of what he’s doing and suddenly we vigilante violence isn’t as happy-go-lucky as other movies promised.
- Dark – A point which bears repeating. Yes it’s funny, but it’s also laced with mental instability, relationship break down, people clutching at straws for human interaction, and the endangerment of Ellen Page. You may experience turbulence, and moments of discomfort…
I didn’t know I was waiting for a mash-up of the Coen Brothers, Ghost World and Kick-Ass – but it turns out I was! As noted above there really aren’t ‘bad’ things about this film, there are only things that will be really to your taste or really not – and in my opinion if a film has such a polarizing effect it’s worth the price of admission alone. It’s well made, hilarious, dark and anchored to a strong emotional core. I hope that YOU, good reader, are the sort of person who appreciates that.
Super is in theaters April 1st!
Review written by guest writer Tamsyn Harker