Super – Review


Viewed on the closing night of the 10th Annual London Sci-Fi Festival, at the Apollo Cinema, Regent Street


Rainn Wilson as Frank D’Arbo / The Crimson Bolt
Ellen Page as Libby
Liv Tyler as Sarah
Kevin Bacon as Jacques
Nathan Fillion as The Holy Avenger

Written and Directed by James Gunn


When Frank’s wife Sarah leaves him for local drug dealer Jacques, Frank transforms himself in the crime fighter ‘Crimson Bolt’ ready to stand up for the little guy – from Drug Dealers to Line Cutters, no evil to too small for the attention of the Bolt and his trusty weapon of choice, the ‘Wrench of Justice’ (not its actual name, I just made that up)

As the Crimson Bolt’s infamy rises he soon gets his own sidekick in the shape of sociopathic comic store clerk, Libby, who becomes Boltie and joins Franks quest to bring justice back to the streets and together they prepare to take on Jacques, crush his drug dealing empire and save Franks wife

But real life isn’t like comic books



It happens quite often. Two films with very similar themes come out quite close together. Armageddon‘s took on Deep Impact in the battle of the planet killing asteroids, while Misson to Mars took on the insufferably shit Red Planet.
There are plenty more examples such as The Illusionist vs The Prestige.
Paul Blart Mall Cop vs Observe and Report. Dantes Peak vs Volcano and 1492: Conquest of Paradise vs Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Late last year saw the release of Kick Ass, a film about a teen with no powers trying to become a super hero. This year we have Super a film about a man with no powers trying to become a super hero *

I was really, really, really disappointed with Kick Ass. A film with so much hype that delivered so much less than it promised, it was my biggest let down of last year (with Scott Pilgrim a close second) and yet here comes Super, quietly sneaking into cinemas (and soon onto DVD) in the latest round of similar-type-of-film-face-off and, for me, Super comes away a clear winner – although, sadly not at the box office

Super comes from the slightly twisted mind of writer/director/producer/actor James Gunn (Slither, Dawn of the Dead, PG Porn and er..Scooby Doo) and while it may look low budget in comparison to its recent competition it has a very smart script with some great dialogue, some clever effects and a great use of music. Add to that a fantastic cast and it that more than makes up for the lack of polish.

Rainn Wilson is perfect as wronged, potentially mentally ill, average Joe turned god endorsed super hero Frank/Crimson Bolt, while Ellen Page brings her fast talking Juno persona into the realm of the not-so-super super hero. Kevin Bacon plays sleazy wife stealing club boss Jacques with such relish that he almost oozes from scene to scene; leaving a slippery film over everything he touches
Special mention, though, has to go to Nathan Fillion. His brief few minutes of screen time as religious TV star the Holy Avenger are some of the film’s most bizarre and funniest moments

Super isn’t a perfect film. Like Frank, it suffers from an identity crisis – it’s far from being a traditional super hero film but then it’s also neither an action film nor a comedy, despite having elements of all three. It’s funny but not as funny as the trailer suggests and has a far darker side. I found the violence to be surprisingly jarring at times and the final payoff to be a little disappointing

Despite this Super is a really enjoyably odd movie and, although it won’t appeal to everyone, it has the makings of a real cult classic.

Score: 7/10 Funny, surprisingly violent and often surreal. Super kicks Kick Ass’s ass!


*A very honourable mention must also go to Superhero Me, a documentary about a man with no powers trying to become a super hero:

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