Director & Writer: James Gunn In this outlandish dark comedy, James Gunn has created what is perhaps the definitive take on self-reflexive superheroes. Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker (U.S. Premiere)
WHO'S IT FOR? Do you need a superhero movie that's not a superhero movie that will kick you in the teeth? Well then, allow Super to do it, with a wrench to the forehead (instead of a kick in the teeth).
Rainn Wilson's Frank is a man who becomes a superhero ... sort of. It's easy to compare Super with Kick-Ass, but it insisted on style whereas Super is raw. They both involve conversations about choosing to become a hero, and choosing to fight evil but this film proves "hero" and "evil" can have many definitions. This movie is meant to shock. But that doesn't explain why Frank is so violent. "Shut up crime" is Frank ... I'm sorry ... the Crimson Bolt's catchphrase, but why is a wrench to the head his chosen method? Again, it points back to the shocking part. Building up to Frank's rampage we aren't given any reason to believe he would act this way. When Ellen Page shows up, yes, we can fully believe in her warped view. And man, does she throw herself into it as the Crimson Bolt's sidekick. Gleefully sadistic is one way of looking at it, but mainly I just found her to be the most engaging character created.
Eventually, someone has a gun, and can challenge the Crimson Bolt. Kevin Bacon starts funny as the villain who steals Frank's wife away, but that quickly fads and he's just another "average bad guy." We never really fall for Liv Tyler as Frank's wife, so there is also never any rooting for her to return.
Thankfully, Page and her balls to the walls performance keep distracting us from trying to figure out what this movie is saying. Is it commenting on violence in films? In society? In our superhero movies? The message wasn't clear, and the violence is uncomfortable. Still, there are some super moments.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10