Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn
Super embraces pretty much all the bearings of the “everyman turned superhero” concept; its tropes include the obligatory costumed hero (minus an obligatory tragic origin story), the attractive damsel in distress, a heartless villain, a few henchmen, a young sidekick, and an urban environment torn apart by corruption and crime . Unlike previous installments of the new sub-genre, however, director James Gunn opts for a darker, weirder and much more cynical approach. This low-budget movie
continually shifts from comic-book spoof to gritty crime story to mental-health drama. Super is far from the first film to strand a wannabe superhero into the real world, but this send-up of “amateur vigilante movies” has more in common with Peter Stebbings’ Defendor than, say, Kick-Ass.
The drama is mostly of the sad-sack variety, brimming with twisted humor. While broad slapstick satires generally don’t cross the line into truly disturbing
Chock full of extremely graphic, awkward, and messy violence, James Gunn relishes in shocking his audience. At times politically incorrect, Super dives
Super benefits from a fantastic cast, all of whom seem more than willing to dive into Gunn’s madness. Rainn Wilson is excellent in the central role of Frank. His low-key, grounded performance adds an unexpected layer of poignancy when things take a decidedly darker turn. The conviction in his performance is what sells the movie. Unlike Kick-Ass, James Gunn always keeps the film grounded in reality. In fact Super isn’t so much a movie about a wannabe superhero but rather an unconventional story of how a lonely man in search of personal happiness walks a fine line between superhero and sociopath.
Not for the faint of heart, the incredible climax (worth the price of admission alone) is a spectacle of bloody violence, and gleeful profanity, sealing Super as a twisted, semi-schizophrenic cult classic in the making. Whether you’re new to the graphic novel game or a seasoned fanboy, you’ll always remember to never butt in line.
– Ricky D