Every once and a while a movie comes along that makes you just stop in your tracks and shake your head in disbelief of how good it is.
Super – a film written and directed by James Gunn and starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon is one of the bravest movies I’ve ever seen.
The story of Frank D’Arbo’s reaction to losing his drug addict wife to her dealer is intensely sad, savagely violent and most shocking to me – about as real as this genre can get while still existing in the actual world.
Remember Kick Ass? Yeah – neither do I. Something about a little girl throwing butterfly knives and Nick Cage pretending to be Adam West right? Yeah – this movie is what Kick Ass didn’t come close to having the guts to be. That’s really kind of sad in a way, because the comic book on which Kick Ass was based did.
Rainn Wilson might be one of the best actors of his generation and you would never guess that hidden behind the goofy caricature that is Dwight from The Office is someone so sincerely able to convey pain and soul wrenching frustration with the slightest movement of his eyes. Make no mistake – this flick is DEEP and in other hands, the subject matter could easily slip into MAD TV territory. Ellen Page is equally as incredible as the young comic book store clerk who figures out Frank’s secret identity and becomes his wildly over zealous “kid sidekick”.
Kevin Bacon gives yet another understated pitch perfect turn as the villainous drug dealer that The Crimson Bolt comes to see as his arch nemesis. Linda Cardellini has a great cameo as a pet store employee and Firefly’s Nathan Fillon shows up as The Holy Avenger TV hero who provides inspiration for D’Arbo’s quest.
Be warned – this movie is not for everyone. It’s not for kids. It’s also not for the weak of heart or mind. If something messed you up so badly that you were compelled to dress up as a Super Hero and fight crime I imagine that would be some pretty dark territory to exist in and this movie shares my opinion in spades.
Thank you Josh Sapan and IFC for being brave enough to see the value in a property like this that is not going to spawn action figures and video game tie-ins but just might improve the state of the slowly dying Superhero Movie genre* by making it take a real long look in the mirror to see how deeply disturbed it is despite it’s good intentions.
Been a long time since I liked something this much. Check it out in limited release and through the usual On Demand distribution channels.
*The Avengers not included of course. 🙂