Super was one of those films that flew under everyone’s radar. Bad initial reviews coupled with a soft video on demand release made it seem unlikely that this movie would ever get much of an audience. However, after seeing this movie on a whim, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film, and more then a little shocked that it received such bad reviews upon its release.
At its core, Super is a story of revenge. Frank, played by Rainn Wilson, is an upstanding citizen whose wife leaves him after her drug habit drives her into the arms of Jock, a drug dealer played by Kevin Bacon. After his wife leaves, Frank is left alone and depressed, until he has a vision he believes to be from God, that Frank interprets as a call to action. Frank transforms into a masked vigilante know as the Crimson Bolt, and along with his sidekick, Boltie, the always fabulous Ellen Page, sets out to fight crime and eventually save his wife who has effectively been kidnapped by Jock.
In and of itself the plot isn’t what makes this movie special. This film’s real triumph is found in its twisted and perverse sense of humor. There are many wonderful moments in this film where the hyper violence of this movie is offset by campy comic book special effects displaying words like “Pow” and “Bang” accompanied by Wilson sternly delivering lines including such gems as “Don’t molest children!” show the more ridiculous and realistic aspects of the notion of fighting crime as a make shift hero. While the violence is excessive and gory to say the least, I think it contributes to the great, at times psychotic feel to this movie.
Throughout the movie, the issue of Frank’s sanity adds a refreshing dynamic to the fairly played out idea of vigilante heroism. From the extreme brutality of the Crimson Bolt bludgeoning a man whose crime is nothing more then rudeness, to his visions from God, that are more likely a figment of his imagination then anything else, it is clear that Frank is not quite all there mentally. This unstable protagonist mixed with Boltie’s high-energy desire to emulate the violent heroics she has read about in comics makes for makes for a duo who are equal parts entertaining and terrifying.
Although at times this film seems to be a little heavy handed with its use of intense violence, I think it actually adds merit to the film. The fact that Frank is completely fine with inflicting this kind of harm really drives home the point that he is delusional, and allows us to laugh at his warped perceptions and not take him to seriously as a character. Overall, I really loved this movie for what it was and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates cynical dark humor as much as I do, which is quite a bit.
Rating: 4 out of 5