Super is directed by James Gunn and stars Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon. It is a dark and brutally violent comedy about a religious fanatic who believes God has chosen him to fight crime after his wife leaves him for a drug dealer. The film had some cool and funny moments, but is also very messed up and a bit depressing, so some of the comedy struggles to come through. The film has a very similar premise to Kick-Ass as its a normal person trying to be super hero, and a lot of similar things happen in the two films (although they came out in the same year so I wouldn’t say this was a rip off of Kick Ass). The big difference, though, is that Super keeps it feeling gritty. While being funny at times, it doesn’t have the fun tone of kick ass and is actually a bit of a downer throughout when you think about it.
Frank (Wilson) was blatantly insane, so much so that at times you don’t really enjoy following him through the film. He’s not at all a hero, just a madman smashing people’s skull in with a pipe wrench, which is funny at times but also disturbing. I did like the story choice of having the “hero” be much more like a villain, the film isn’t happy at all when you think about it. However, it failed to hold my interest as the film moved into the middle act and started to feel more like a gimmick that wasn’t being used to its full potential and so became a bit dull.
Wilsons performance was very similar to his role as Dwight in “the office,” with very similar characteristics and delivery through most of the film. He shows a bit more range towards the end though and I must say his performance was the only memorable one and had a lot of energy. He has some really funny one-liners and it feels as if he’s enjoying the role so I felt some emotional connection to him despite the characters unpleasant actions. Everyone else was kind of boring and forgettable, except for Ellen Page who stood out for the wrong reasons as I thought she was overacting and her character annoyed me a lot.
There was a fun cinematic style. Gunn used comic book like, cartoony tropes and brought out some interesting visual comedy, such as thought bubbles and cartoon text appearing on screen. This is contrasted nicely with the really dirty feeling that is created. There is a dull saturation and grimy feel to the world which, along with a lot of handheld camera in the action scenes and the quirky comic book feel, make this film’s style feel quite unique. Unfortunately it didn’t feel like it was being used to its full potential for most of the film so it became less interesting towards the middle, so I still found that the film just started to feel a bit boring.
I will say though, that the final sequence of Super is brilliant! It uses all of fun cinematic style to its full potential and has great action and comedy throughout the scene. It picks up the energy of the film which as I said was starting to get boring. I was really surprised with it, it’s just a shame it didn’t happen till the end. The ending really brings this film home and in my opinion elevates it above being average and forgettable. The story ends perfectly and actually is quite touching. So while the middle of the film is uninteresting it’s worth it to see the end, it makes the whole film feel better.
Super starts well with an interesting character, premise and style, and a fun ending. It is very weird and brutal and so a lot of people might not like it, and it started to get boring for me, though overall it is worth watching if you like Kick-ass or weirder films.
P.S. It’s hard to review things that are largely average. I think it’s very much a cult film so not everyone will like it but some people will love it. It has its merits definitely and I will watch it again and I may like it more the second time.