Not Your Daddy’s Superhero


Dwight fight crime!

Super is a low budget, hero with no powers film that was released earlier this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed this movie as it flew pretty low under the radar. Take the jump and check out this indie superhero film with me.

Super stars Rainn Wilson as the Crimson Bolt, the would-be superhero alter-ego of Frank D’Arbo, a short order cook whose wife leaves him for super slick Jacques, played by a schmaltzy Kevin Bacon. The Crimson Bolt picks up a kid sidekick in Boltie, Ellen Page as a comic geek who idolizes D’Arbo for finally standing up to evil. Together the two wage war on the ‘evil’ of their town, ultimately going after Jacques to save D’Arbo’s drug addicted wife, played by Liv Tyler in a pretty easy, sleepy role.

Wilson plays Frank D’Arbo with a psychotic kind of sadness. You feel for the guy, but at the same time you realize that he’s a little touched in the head. I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else in this role, it just feels tailor made for Wilson. No one really feels as intensely doofy, but at the same time a little impressive as Rainn Wilson. He does a good job with the half well written script from James Gunn. On the other hand, Ellen Page is deliciously wonderful as Frank’s ultra-violent sidekick Libby. If Frank is a little crazy, Libby is a freaking lunatic. Her completely unhinged viciousness was the source for a lot the film’s humor for me. Page seems completely absorbed in the childishly insane comic geek, and I loved every second of her screen time. Kevin Bacon as the grinning, cocky Jacques is also quite impressive.

The movie itself is uneven. At times Super is dark and twisted, at others funny and entertaining, and at times even a pretty good film. But unfortunately the movie never seems to come together into something more than these pieces. The film especially falls apart in its third act, where the violence becomes too excessive, the humor nonexistent, and the plot too bogged down. It becomes a kind of chaos that writer/director James Gunn just loses control of. As a dark comedy, the movie only has sparks of humor, but is definitely dark enough.

Had Super been released before the mega-successes of Kick-Ass, it may have found its audience. But Kick-Ass was sleeker and better produced. I won’t harp on that one is ripping off the other (both were in development about the same time), but obviously I have to compare the two. As far as non-powered superhero movies go, Super just misses the mark. It had the potential to be a decent black comedy, but never quite came to fruition.

Rainn Wilson as The Crimson Bolt

Ellen Page as Boltie

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