James Gunn's "Super" is Anything But


Years ago I reviewed Director James Gunn's first film, the awesomely twisted horror flick "Slither" and was anxious to see what came next.  What we got was the comedy "Super" starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page, who also appeared together in Page's breakout role in "Juno".  "Super" was in direct competition with a similarly themed (and much better) film entitled "Kick-Ass".  Both films are about regular guys who dress up as superheroes and fight crime. "Super" has a style of comedy that is not for everyone, it's graphic, shocking and in your face.  It was a little much for me and the fact that I can't stand Rainn Wilson as an actor sealed the deal.  But here's how the whole film goes down.

Rainn plays Frank a goofy looking fry cook who is married to a recovering drug addict Sarah played by Liv Tyler.  When Sarah falls off the wagon and is taken in by nightclub owner Jacques (Kevin Bacon), Frank is determined to get her back at any cost.  While vegging out on the couch watching the cable access show "The Holy Avenger" he has an epiphany and God literally touches his brain. Through this divine inspiration, the Crimson Bolt is born.  He sews up a red costume a decides to fight crime, which he finds is a little boring at times.  His weapon of choice is the pipe wrench for which he cracks numerous skulls, some deserved it but most did not.  As the cliché goes for most superhero's the police are appalled and want to stop this violent vigilante.  The film does operate at a certain level of satire and campiness but I found it to be lazy and a little dull.

Frank does his research on superheroes at the local comic book store where he meets Ellen Page's character of Libby.  In a short amount of time, Frank realizes he needs a sidekick and Libby is just crazy enough to do it.  She becomes Boltie.  They team up to save Sarah from the evil Jacques and his equally evil crew of thugs. During the main siege of Jacques compound something happens that is meant for pure shock value and will alienate about 90 percent of the viewers.  I guess you have to give credit to the filmmakers for making such a gutsy move, but seriously there is no getting over it.  It does, however, bring a heavy sense of reality to a supposed unreal story but come on man.  "Super" does have some winks and homage to other films but all in all it's not a film that I would ever watch again.  Surprisingly after this film, James Gunn went on to direct the massively popular "Guardians of the Galaxy"  another film that I didn't really care for.  To each his own, I guess.