Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shut Up, Crime

Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon
2010 | United States | R | 96 mins

They walk around in tights, some have capes, most wear masks, and they either use a weapon or have some kind of super-power that allows them to thwart evil. Superheroes are the avenging force of justice that stand up for what is good and don't have to abide by a code of conduct or reasoning decided by the law books. But they are fiction, stuff of fantasy, and if someone were to actually suit up in a ridiculous outfit and take on crime they'd clearly have to be a mental case.

Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson), a fry cook at a burger joint, has a beautiful wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) whom is only one of two things in his life which reminds him to be happy in life. But when she starts getting back into drugs and leaves Frank for the local drug kingpin Jacques (Kevin Bacon) Frank, through visions and signs he believes from God, decides to save her and take her back. After a choice line of dialogue taken from a Holy Avenger comic book Frank decides the only way to fight crime is to become a superhero himself. Donning a homemade costume, mask, and a pipe wrench, Frank becomes the Crimson Bolt. With the help of a local comic aficionado and Crimson Bolt groupie, Libby (Ellen Page) becomes his sidekick Boltie and together they bash in skulls and murder anyone who commits any foul deed, from molesting children to butting in line, on their quest to save Sarah from the clutches of 'Jock'.

Super is a dark comic odyssey into the side of superheroes we don't ever consider or think about - if they were real, they'd just be costumed nut jobs. And bashing in skulls is not justice, but murder. Rainn Wilson is both hilarious and sad as Frank, a man who's world caves in and he snaps into an almost fundamentalist mentality. Ellen Page is perfectly cast as the spunky and even creepily frightening comic nerd who also ends up raping Frank in one scene. James Gunn, co-writer of the Troma classic Tromeo & Juliet and writer/director of the underrated Slither, keeps things very dark, funny, violent, and even a touch sad.

Although Super does have a few faults and the story does unravel a bit, it's a refreshing take and satirization on a tired genre that has been endlessly turning out adaptations and franchises over the past decade. Bitingly scathing, James Gunn's Super takes a piss on the politically correct ideals of superheroes, somehow making them more human, in all its bloody skull-smashing glory. It's a dark slice of entertainment worth checking out.

All contents copyright 2011 Tyler Baptist

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