***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
Super - 3 out of 5
Who doesn't want to be a superhero? Hell, I know I do! I'm not a genius, rich weapons manufacturer so a suit of armor is out and I'm not a rich kid who's parents were murdered so being a gadget armed vigilante is also out so I spend my days getting bit by thousands of spiders hoping one is radioactive, I spend my nights searching the skies for a dying alien ready to bestow upon me a green ring and all the other times (you know, the times between day time and night time) I'm playing with gamma radiation. What have I received for all this effort? A bunch of spider bites, wasted nights with no power jewelry to show for it and a tumor instead of a giant green monstrous alter-ego.
|This was all I wanted. Is that too much to ask?|
Since everyone and their brother wants to be a superhero (I have no evidence to support this claim which means I am now qualified to work for Fox News) there are many movies about ordinary people trying to be the next Aquaman--HA HA! Just kidding! No one wants to be Aquaman. Batman, on the other hand...When you boil it down, the idea of a normal person being pushed to the edge and forced to jump into the canyon of vigilantism is nothing new. In fact, many superheros who lack the ability to shoot optic blasts from their eyes, who aren't a lightning-wielding God of Thunder or aren't the last of their species on Mars or powered by Earth's yellow sun or even the spawn of Hell who was raised to be a good guy with a big ass gun are just normal dudes who were wronged in some way. Frank Castle lost his family to the mob and now deals out justice from the end of a smoking barrel, Tony Stark is a self-proclaimed "genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist" who, to save himself and protect the world, built a high-tech suit of armor bad-ass enough to be named after a Iron Man song and Bruce Wayne can't let go of his parent's murders and used his family's vast resources and even vaster bank account to turn himself into an image of the night that makes the criminals wet their collective pants.
|No one likes you, Aquaman.|
Kick-Ass, however, gave us the "normal person turned superhero" idea and turned it into a new direction. These normal people were more Average Joe than the types who luckily were born into wealth and means. It became about people who could barely throw a punch deciding to don a mask. The comic and subsequent film adaptation of Kick-Ass was a fresh face in the world of superheroes and it wasn't surprising that this type of story would inspire other movies about norms going out to stop crime. Super is just one of those films. After his wife left him, the unhappy Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) tries to get her back from the oddly nice drug dealer who took her (played by Kevin Bacon). After his predictable failure, he becomes inspired by a Christian superhero on TV called The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion). His inspiration is further enforced when he receives a vision from God. Frank then turns himself into The Crimson Bolt. Armed with a pipe wrench, he's on a mission to get his wife (Liv Tyler) back and make crime "shut up." To help him on his mission, he seeks the guidance of a young comic nerd (Ellen Page) who ultimately joins him in his cause.
This film hit the low end of my viewing list because when I first saw the trailer, all I saw was Dwight from The Office starring in a Kick-Ass wannabe. However, after watching it, some of my initial preconcieved notions were proven wrong while the other remained fixed like the gaze of a creepy man who chooses to stare only at you while you try and do some reading and enjoy your venti green tea lemonade while at Starbucks (What? That doesn't happen to you?).
First off, Super is not a Kick-Ass wannabe. Kick-Ass, both in movie and comic form, were a ultra-cool, slick and witty adventure filled with interesting and eccentric characters and a fun story. While Kick-Ass had many dark elements including its violence and language (especially out of the mouth of babes), Super goes darker with its emphasis on drugs and rape within its story. It also goes into the weird as Frank is given his vision from God in the form of a tentacle mind rape (there's that rape thing). Why a tentacle and what the hell is a "mind rape?" (I hope you're asking yourself that question or I've presumed too much.) Let's just say that Frank watch a bit of anime before his vision and you know 90% of all anime is tentacle monsters raping wide-eyed schoolgirls. Thankfully, Frank only got his mind violated. This concept of the film also made me wonder if director/writer James Gunn was trying to express that Frank was mentally unstable but that could just be the atheism within me seeing that possibility.
|Not your typical hero...but still better than Aquaman.|
(Yes! Three attacks on Aquaman in one review!)
Although, the character of Frank isn't anything like Dwight, the instant the transformation into superhero occurs, he becomes Dwight as The Crimson Bolt. I shouldn't have found this surprising since Rainn Wilson has made a career of being Dwight and has, in very recent history, used it to bring Dwight into the world of movies. He became Dwight the Drummer in The Rocker, used his voice to be Dwight the Alien Invader in Monsters vs. Aliens and became Dwight the Inexplicably Desirable College Professor in the cancer-creating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In fact, the only time I haven't seen him play Dwight was in the film Hesher. In that film, Rainn Wilson proves to be one of the strongest aspects of the film. This one, however, the whole becoming Dwight in the suit proves to be both a hindrance and annoyance at the fact I have to sit through a re-hash of a character that has already worn thin on me.
|If the movie's running time was extended, Jim probably would have been his|
Things only become worse when The Crimson Bolt gets a side-kick in the form of Ellen Page who, for some reason, decides to play the character like the overly grabby drunk sorority girl who "whoos" at everything and screams with too much excitement when a small victory arrives at the partly like the pizza guy arriving. Since I already find these types of ladies to be an annoyance greater than the mystery of how, despite wearing pants, a mosquito is still able to sting me on my buttcheek and, add to the fact, that I find Ellen Page to be a highly overrated actress, this performance and character left a bad taste in my mouth more foul than a single can of Coke Zero (there goes my Coke Zero endorsement deal).
|Ellen Page's dialogue read "scream a lot and be annoying" apparently.|
With Dwight in the mask, a side-kick more annoying than The Dark Knight Returns' Robin and an overall presentation that, at times, looked cheap and low budget, you gotta wonder what I did enjoy in this one. Well, despite the film's major short-comings, it can be pretty funny and creative. Just check out the film's opening credits...
|I'm a vegan but I can't get enough Bacon.|
(Yep, that joke was lame)
Furthermore, Kevin Bacon's performance made the movie for me. Even though his scenes were few and far between, they were so well done and he was so entertaining to watch that he became the movie's greatest aspect to me. Super doesn't have much meat to it (other than some Bacon). When the credits roll, it feels like a short film poorly stretched into a feature length film but that should be expected because when you base your film entirely on one joke (but a mildly entertaining one, don't get me wrong) you can't be too surprised when the movie is just "middle of the road."