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Blu-ray Review: Super
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Super Blu–raySuper
DVD I Blu-ray
DIRECTOR: James Gunn
WRITER: James Gunn
STARRING: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, Gregg Henry, Sean Gunn
IFC Films
RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2011

Just recently I reviewed a little indie flick called Griff the Invisible, one of three fairly recent movies about normal everyday folks creating and becoming their own superheros. The other two are 2010’s Kick–Ass, and director James Gunn‘s Super. At the time, I said that the three movies shouldn’t be compared (having a basic understanding of Super but not having seen it yet), and now, having seen all three, this is confirmed: all three are unique in their own special ways, and all three are very much worth seeing.

Super tells the story of Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson), a lowly and rather pathetic man who works as a cook at a local diner. Frank only has two “perfect moments” in his life: when he married his wife, Sarah (Liv Tyler)—a recovering drug addict he met at work—and when he pointed the cops in the direction of a purse–snatching criminal.

Though he leads a quiet, unimpressive life, Frank is happy so long as he has Sarah by his side. So you can imagine his pain when she one day decides to up and leave him for a sleazy drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon), who has Sarah re–embracing her addiction demons.

Frank tries to cope with the loss of his wife, looking into getting a new bunny rabbit, but can’t get over it and slips into depression. One night while watching TV he sees something about a superhero called The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion), who comes to him in a dream after the finger of God touches his brain. The Holy Avenger tells him that he’s specially chosen by God himself, which inspires Frank to become his own superhero, The Crimson Bolt, and fight crime…which includes Jacques and his gang so he can get his wife back.

You might think Frank would seek out young ruffians breaking the law and teach them a little lesson, but no…no, no. Frank seeks out anyone at all doing anything wrong and takes pipe wrench to their skulls, because he thinks that’s the noble thing to do.

This isn’t a movie for everyone, as you might already be able to tell; it’s a crude and ultra–violent story that can even be a little tough to watch at times. Gunn (who made one of my personal favorite horror–comedies, Slither) might just be one of the very best directors out there when it comes to violence, with some of the scenes so brutally realistic you forget you’re watching a movie, hence the need to sometimes look away. And for the rest of us, this is one of the reasons why Super is so damn good.

The two stand–outs of the movie are Wilson and Ellen Page, who dominate the screen by leaps and bounds. Wilson, best known as Dwight on The Office, has come a long, long way since “Fish–Boy” in Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, and delivers a performance here you won’t be expecting. Page, on the other hand, plays a wild and crazy comic book store clerk who becomes The Crimson Bolt’s sidekick, Boltie, who appears to have raging ADD and an unquenchable thirst for bloodshed. The other actors involved all drop solid performances as well, especially Bacon.

Super is a very, very dark comedy, so while there are laughs to be had, don’t seek it out solely as a comedy. That said, there is a good mixture of various genre elements like comedy, drama, action, romance (sorta), and superhero/comic book, which is always a big plus for me. It’s also got playful little score, which fits it perfectly.

This is a movie about a man whose life has fallen to pieces, and, as he figures out how to deal with it, he creates a superhero alter–ego for himself. But as depressing as that may sound, it’s full of shocking and sometimes hilarious events unfolding before your eyes. Again, it’s not a movie that will be for everyone—you should probably not show it to your in–laws…unless you have awesome in–laws, that is—but for everyone else, it is a movie you should at least rent and check out once.

SPECIAL FEATURES

As far as features go, there’s a few to check out. The Blu–ray has a good behind–the–scenes featurette, as well as a peek at the making of the animated opening sequence and a funny video of The Crimson Bolt and Boltie out to fight crime at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. There’s also a deleted scene, the trailer, and a TV spot.

Trailer

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