Despite its poor run at the box office, James Gunn’s Super does feature an impressive cast, lead by The Office’s Rainn Wilson. The plot follows Frank Darbo (Wilson) after his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a notorious drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon). After receiving no help from the police, Frank decides to rescue his ex himself, and thus the “The Crimson Bolt” is born. Aided by his sidekick “Boltie” (Ellen Page), the duo set out to rescue Sarah while sporting two crudely made (yet brilliantly realistic) costumes.
The setup is fairly typical of many superhero films, but over the course of its running time, Super deviates from this slightly derivative outline. Compared to the usual depiction of heroes, Frank’s motives are flawed and selfish. He assaults any rule breaker by hitting them with a pipe wrench, regardless if they’re a child molester or if they’ve simply cut in line. For Frank, the difference between right and wrong becomes blurred and his growing sense of self-entitlement turns a standard superhero story into something a lot darker.
Super is a great film because it brings something new to a tried and tested format. If you watch it expecting something like Iron Man or Kick Ass, there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed. If you can look past this however, you’ll find a well made, thought provoking film.
Highlights: Ellen Page’s manic laughter and Nathan Fillion’s appearance as Frank’s muse, “The Holy Avenger”.