Writer/Director James Gunn who made his mark with a little film called Slither, returns with a different kind of superhero film. This is not something based upon a comic, so how does it fare with so many other superhero type films out there? Quite well as it turns out, Super is a unique entry, one that is very dark in every which way. It tells the story of Frank (Rainn Wilson), an unhappy man who only has two good memories from his life (directing a cop to where a criminal went and marrying his wife, played by Liv Tyler), and he keeps those memories in view as crayon drawings. When his wife suddenly leaves, Frank is distraught and finds out she is under the influence of club owner Jacques (scene stealing Kevin Bacon). He then has a vision from God and he goes out on a quest of self discovery by becoming a superhero called Crimson Bolt. This then leads him to be-friend Libby (Ellen Page) who becomes his sidekick. Is Frank able to rescue his wife and truly discover who he is? You’ll need to watch to find out.
There is a lot more going on with Super, it has themes of religion, self discovery and violence. Each has their own place within the film, and going through the layers there are a lot of different questions to ponder. Such as when is violence justified? is Frank right in his actions? how far is too far? and so forth. James Gunn does not answer these questions, but instead leaves the audience to decide these things for themselves. It is a cleverly written and directed film, Gunn is quite talented and I definitely hope to see more from him. Rainn Wilson delivers one of the best performances I have seen from him, he reaches all sorts of heights as Frank. He isn’t meant to be likable or unlikable, he is a normal person and someone that deep down we can all kind of relate to. Ellen Page plays it crazy, but again it is a believable crazy and I think we can all think of a person like her that we’ve crossed paths with. Kevin Bacon as I mentioned earlier steals every scene he is in, the man is so talented that roles like this he can do in his sleep. Great smaller roles from Liv Tyler, Michael Rooker and Nathan Fillion round this one out. It isn’t a perfect film by any means, and it certainly ventured into some very disturbing and dark places that took me out of it. But it is a brave film, with balls of steal and it is almost refreshing to see something so different (even if it is disturbing). I definitely recommend checking this out, it is quite the ride.