Super (2010)

Review by CJ


James Gunn

Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon

Other notable appearances:
Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Linda Cardellini, Gregg Henry, Sean Gunn

Running time:
96 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Most Quentin Tarantino films, the love child of Kick-Ass and Sin City

Trigger warnings:
Rape and implied pedophilia


When Frank’s wife Sarah (Tyler) relapses and leaves him for drug dealer Jacques (Bacon), Frank (Wilson) receives a message he believes to be from God. The message indicates he should take on the guise of Crimson Bolt to fight crime and injustice. After several stumbles along the route to superherodom, Frank teams up with comic shop employee Libby (Page) who becomes sidekick Boltie to finally take on Jacques and save his wife.

I will start by saying that Super is absolutely not a superhero movie that is suitable for children. There is swearing, rape, attempted rape, implied pedophilia, demonstrated drug use, and graphic violence. I do not feel that these are glorified, in fact most of them are there for Crimson Bolt to try to defend against (albeit with graphic violence), but they are there nonetheless.

Super starts with a quirky animated dance sequence featuring all of the main characters. From there it gets very weird very quickly. It has the general concept of Kick-Ass — an everyman who becomes a ‘real’ superhero — but with the grit of Sin City, the bizarre nature of a Tarantino film and the genuine feel that is achieved with great independent films.

The thing I like about everyman superhero movies is that you never know what might happen. Heroes like Batman have been around for so long that when they get beaten up in origin or back stories, you know they’re going to turn out fine. With everyman superheroes you never know whether they will succeed, fail or die. It adds a certain level of suspense that keeps viewers engaged and interested.

While all of the actors portrayed a variety of different characters, Page’s portrayal of the unstable but mostly well-meaning Libby was particularly intriguing to watch. The way the character bounces between emotions with barely a moment in between is masterfully done. Fillion was also very fun to watch as the television superhero with the power of Jesus Christ.

Super is a graphic and bizarre film that will by no means appeal to everyone. I found it worth watching once but am in no hurry to watch it again or buy it to keep. If you enjoy dark films such as Sin City or Quentin Tarantino’s dossier then consider checking it out. Though I don’t recommend watching it if you are eating or squeamish.

3 Stars

“You tell everyone you know that anytime some stupid fucking bastard wants to commit some gay ass crime that Crimson Bolt and Boltie are gonna be there to crush their little fucking evil heads in!”

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