Review: Super

Super is the latest, surreal trip down the well-trodden path of ‘citizen-turned-superhero’ flicks, starring the excellent Rainn Wilson. The film’s protagonist has cut his comedy teeth on the award winning US version of The Office, and Super is an unnerving and at times shocking journey into the absurd.

The film begins with the down trodden Frank (Wilson) revealing that he’s only had two happy moments in his life – marrying his wife Sarah, and fighting crime. So when Sarah is abducted by Jaques (Kevin Bacon) and led to a dark underworld of drug dealing, Frank decides to pursue his desire to fight crime by becoming the Crimson Bolt and rescuing his love. So far, so superhero.

However, Super is by no means a Kick-Ass knock-off. It verges violently between being a satirical comedy and an action film drenched in hyperbole. Admittedly, Wilson display flickers of humour throughout exaggerated by the comic book style illustrations that pop up during fight scenes. But his wrench wielding antics are too over the top to warrant any empathy. You begin watching the film expecting a black comedy, but are flung off course when the level of violence begins to detract from the narrative.

Wilson performs admirably as Frank, although he is clearly more comfortable in a comedic guise. There are plenty of slapstick scenes here that he excels in, and his catchphrase “Shut up crime!” is genuinely funny. But there is a tonal shift about halfway through which completely changes the mood of the film, for the worse.

The film also stars Ellen Page, a promising actor whose potential is palpable despite her occasionally irritating tendencies. Here she plays Libby, who Frank meets while researching superheroes in his local comic book store. Although initially dismissive, Frank enlists Libby as his sidekick under the alias Boltie. Their relationship initially appears to be the start of something interesting as Libby tries to discover the complex motivations behind Frank’s desire to become the Crimson Bolt. However, both her psychopathic tendencies and a rather climactic sexual scene towards the end of the film blow any subtlety between them apart.

Many complained that Kick Ass toned down the original comic book narrative too much, choosing to use violence and gore in a more measured fashion. If that’s the case, Super is an example of a film that’s gone to the other extreme. It feels both over the top and indulgent, resulting in a confusing mess that initially showed much promise.

Super is released in the UK on July 8th courtesy of G2 Pictures.

Via Blogomatic 3000

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