If you haven’t heard of James Gunn yet, I can assure you that you certainly will VERY soon. He directed a great movie a few years ago called Slither, and wrote the remake of Dawn of the Dead.
If you haven’t heard of James Gunn yet, I can assure you that you certainly will VERY soon. He directed a great movie a few years ago called Slither, and wrote the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Now he brings us Super, a dark, hilarious, and yet human, tale of one man against crime. Like, all of it.
Frank D’Arbo isn’t really blessed with good looks, or a sparkling personality. He’s a decent regular guy cooking at a local diner. When Sarah comes to work there, he’s smitten. When Sarah, an ex-addict recently clean, takes an interest in Frank, he thinks he’s the luckiest guy ever. But some time after they marry, sleazy Jacques gets Sarah back into drugs and he steals her away. Frank steels himself and is determined to get her back. He becomes the Crimson Bolt, a crime-fighting hero, despite the fact that he has no heroic powers or talent to speak of. But that’s where the big monkey wrench comes in. No, seriously; a big, metal, fucking wrench.
Readers, I need to prepare you for the best movie of 2011 so far, and maybe my favorite of the year by the time December rolls around. There, I said it. I really loved this movie. I hate to make any comparisons, but IF someone were to ask what this movie was like, I would say that Super is to 2011, as Kick Ass was to 2010. You have regular people deciding to become super heroes. But that’s as far as the comparison goes, I can assure you.
You thought Kick Ass was dark? Super makes it look like a Gene Kelley or Danny Kaye musical. It’s wonderfully funny in the way that you laugh while you’re cringing. It’s disturbing, and yet still full of humanity. It has a real story that has meaning and even when you’ve stopped laughing, you realize that there is also some authentic emotion as well. A great part of why this works is the absolute dedication of the cast. Nobody fakes it or phones it in. Everyone owns their part and gives it everything they got. James Gunn knows a lot of great talent. This is a low budget movie that looks better than what I suspect the budget amounted to. Luckily most of these people were friends and wanted to make something great. Check out this cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Linda Cardellini, and Nathan Fillion – just for starters! And look for little surprises like Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, and the original Greatest American Hero, William Katt. If you don’t know any of those names, well, your life must be a sad, vapid wasteland devoid of quality entertainment. Clearly you haven’t taken enough advice from us here at Comedy Film Nerd central. Well, now is your chance for redemption!
Rainn Wilson as Frank is at times, downright mesmerizing. He commits wholly to his role and is at turns borderline psychotic, goofily funny, and then terribly tragic. And frankly, this is likely Ellen Page’s most wonderful performance. Easily my favorite so far. From cute comic store sales girl to Bolty, the drunken with blood lust and, well, lustful, young super hero side kick. And again, total commitment to the role. She’s amazing. And who doesn’t love the idea of Kevin Bacon playing Jacques, the antagonist. Even he isn’t walking through this. He’s having too much fun. Everyone in Super appears to be.
Again, this is dark stuff, and violent. REALLY violent. It got some blood and gore – not for the squeamish. But it all looks great! For this budget film, they did a lot to make things look as real as possible.
And the third act is so satisfying. It does exactly what you want it to do for a comic book movie. The big finale is joyously action-packed. But then, just when you think it will follow convention, it goes in a much needed, more realistic direction. There it goes, showing its’ humanity again, leaving you feeling more satisfied than you though it would.
Super isn’t a movie for everyone. I get that. It’s probably not even a super-hero movie for everyone. But it is a GREAT movie for those who like their movies dark. NOT for kids – ever. This is for us grown-ups. But it’s what this genre of film needs. This movie fucking rules. Better than I anticipated. Easy 4 1/2 kittenhands out of 5. Yeah, you heard me. Look for Super in theaters April 1st!
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, glad we have a winner! Will anything this summer beat this? It’s gonna be tough.