Twitter Plot Summary: A man decides to become a (not very) super hero when his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer.
Director: James Gunn
Key Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Linda Cardellini, Nathan Fillion.
Five Point Summary:
1. Michael Rooker has hair. That’s odd.
2. Frank has a screw loose.
3. Ellen Page’s character has the most annoying laugh ever.
4. Violent scenes of a graphic nature…
5. Oh my. That was unexpected. Yet entirely plausible.
There are a number of times in the past when two similarly themed movies have been released either in the same year or in the same season – Deep Impact/Armageddon in 1998; White House Down/Olympus Has Fallen this year; Antz and A Bug’s Life also in 1998. Actually, 1998 looks like it was a busy year… anyway, in 2010 it was Kick-Ass and Super. Now, Kick-Ass I got to see at the cinema, however Super was forgotten in the shuffle somewhere. Thankfully they’re two completely different films about normal guys wearing a super suit, with this focusing more on our man Frank rather than the fact he wears a suit.
James Gunn is a writer who I appreciate because he can conjure up a coherent story and litter the script with both amusing and entertaining moments in equal measure. Super has him on writing and directorial duties, and his geekiness gets full release as he tells the tale of a man pushed to become a superhero in order to save his wife from the evils of drugs. Being a kind-of superhero movie it’s littered with comic book references, and pokes fun at them in a knowing nudge-nudge kind of way. Throw in a couple of satirical yet blatant attacks on Christian television and you know you’re in for a laugh. The price of admission is covered just to see Nathan Fillion dressed up as The Holy Avenger.
Turns out Frank has been plagued by visions his entire life (I know the feeling), and the mother of all these visions kicks in after he’s beaten up by Jacque’s goons. After suiting up as The Crimson Bolt, Frank sets out to clean up the streets of drug dealers, kiddie fiddlers, and er… people who cut in line when queuing. It’s almost obvious to point out that Frank has some sort of neurological condition that leads him to follow the superhero path, and the same could be said for Ellen Page’s Libby, who decides to join Frank in his quest. She’s just as twisted as Frank, although it doesn’t take a beating from a bunch of goons for her to go fruity, she just appears to have always been that way.
There’s some extreme violence that fits the darkly comic tone of the film, but it could have gone a lot further than it did. That’s with regards to the violence and the story itself, it feels very low key compared to some other big screen superhero movies. It’s more like A History of Violence in that respect, which is a backhanded compliment in a way – A History of Violence is adapted almost panel for panel from the original comic book. Super is an original story but it often feels like an overly faithful adaptation of some other source material.
Unfortunately for Super, on the basis of the evidence provided it’s Kick-Ass that wins this battle of the ‘normal people trying to be superheroes’ genre. That’s not to be intended as detrimental towards Super as it’s rather good indeed, but perhaps a little more satire would have swung it.
Favourite scene: “Shut up, crime.” The one at the end with Kevin Bacon.
Quote: “I kind of think happiness is over-rated. People spend their whole lives chasing it because it’s the most important thing in the world. Happy people are kind of arrogant.”
Silly Moment: Bopping someone in the head for cutting in line. Bit excessive.