Archive for Super


Posted in movies with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by Parker Connell

A trend I hope everyone has noticed with the recent influx of super hero and comic book films is the post-modern deconstruction of super hero and comic book films.  From Kick-Ass to Special these films take a skewed realistic look a how life would be if people put on a suit and tried to make the streets safe once again. Super is one such film, and it is also likely the perfect post-modern deconstruction of super hero and comic book films.

James Gunn wrote and directed this pitch-pitch-pitch black comedy about Frank (Rainn Wilson) an uninteresting, neurotic, and strange man who all his life felt out of place until a co-worker (Liv Tyler) takes an interest in him. She has a dark past and when the film starts it catches up with her again in the form of Jock (Kevin Bacon). She leaves Frank, which causes him to lose it. In one of the more disturbing and visually brilliant scenes of the film (of which there are many) Frank his touched by “The tip of the tip of the finger of God” which leads Frank to believe his duty to the planet is to put on a costume and tell crime to shut up.

What follows is a pretty much non-stop spree of weirdly depressing violence. I found my self simultaneously cheering on the insanity like it was a Robert Rodriguez movie and squirming like it was an episode of Extras. Rainn Wilson’s Crimson Bolt is an insane creation; imagine if Travis Bickle grew up on Batman and the Punisher, and the addition of his kid sidekick Bolty (Ellen Page) creates possibly the most uncomfortable sexual tension this side of… everything, I have never seen a movie with a more disturbed sexual subplot, ever.

I’ve recently come to fall in love with Kevin Bacon and Super is the latest in his attempt to become… I don’t know, this generation’s Walken… except without the self-parody. His performance as the bad guy Jock is hilarious and deranged and I loved every minute. Same goes for Michael Rooker as Bacon’s right hand, he isn’t given much to do but in true Rooker fashion he makes you notice him.

The effects in this film are perfect. I don’t know if the effects were practical or done in post, I’m leaning toward practical because there are some scenes of violence and gore in this film that are truly disturbing in a way that CG gore has yet to achieve. I couldn’t tell you if the gore is over the top because I’ve never seen someone get hit in the forehead with a pipe wrench, but I imagine it looks quite a bit like it does in Super.

Many people will come away from this film feeling dirty and depressed. Hell I did and my favorite movie starts with a rape, but don’t think this wasn’t intentional. If you look at what Gunn has done here is showing us what super heroes really are. Yeah we like Batman when he punches the Joker or drops a Mafioso from a second story building, and some people (not me) enjoy the adventures of Spider-man, but this sort of vigilantism is not a healthy exercise, and Super is showing us what Kick-Ass should have that there is nothing really good or rational about people putting on masks and taking the law into their own hands.

That isn’t to say that Super will change the way you look at super hero movies. James Gunn is just presenting another way to look at them, and unlike Kick-Ass, Super doesn’t drop the ball in it’s last act, there are no rah rah girl power montages set to Joan Jett songs or bullshit Jet Packs. This is the closest thing to real life as you can get from a super hero movie, and you know what, I love it.