Director: James Gunn (2011)
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon
Find it: IMDB

If there's one thing us people who review movies like, it's films where the title describes the piece itself. Like Kick-Ass, The Forgotten and now Super. The word super is a very good word to describe the film Super, which is like Kick-Ass if Kick-Ass hadn't gone all high-octane in the final act. It's how I'd like a Dark Knight Returns adaptation how to go; taking the mentally tortured aspect of the superhero, and running with it to a crescendo of really unsettling ultra violence. Super eventually goes over the top, but in a completely different way to Kick-Ass.

When Frank D'Arbo's (Wilson) wife (Tyler) leaves him for a sleazy drug dealer (Bacon), the poor fellow begins to come apart at the seams. God (Rob Zombie) and Nathan Fillion appear to him in a vision and tell him to go fight some crime. Frank agrees, reinventing himself as The Crimson Bolt, and attacking criminals with a wrench. All the time shouting things like "don't molest kids!" and "shut up crime!" (my two favourite bits of screenwriting since "Hobo stops begging. Demands change"). Frank is joined on his journey by the diminutive Libby (Page) who ingratiates herself as his sidekick, Boltie. But with Frank gradually unravelling more and more, how much longer can the duo continue before something really bad happens?

James Gunn will be familiar to fellow horrorheads as the director of the lovely Slither. A few of Slither's cast show up in minor roles for Super, including Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker. The violence and foulmouthed inventiveness of that movie returns in Super, with more than enough gore and bludgeonings to satisfy impatient gorehounds. Even without the impressive levels of grue, it's plenty subversive, dark, troubling and funny. Touching too, and perverse. Watchmen is no longer the most gross movie where heroes have sex with their costumes on.

Inevitably, Frank and the filmmakers lose interest in beating up street scum and send The Crimson Bolt & Boltie after Kevin Bacon and his thugs. Like a great many genre bend before it, the jokes fall to the wayside and the explosions take over. But unlike the likes of Kick-Ass, it doesn't feel at all disingenuous and is in keeping with everything that's come before.

I loved Super. It's, well, Super.

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