Looking Back At SUPER

Da'Mon Guy looks back at 2010's Super.

Super debuted in a limited number of theatres and was ignored by the majority of the movie going public, only making back about 15% of it's relatively small budget during domestic release. However, it clearly showed the strength of James Gunn's movie making ability and helped land him the job as writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy. Going from a $2.5million budget straight to a $170million is one heck of a leap of faith from Marvel Studios, but as we all know, it paid off.

Super offers an interesting offbeat approach to modern comic book style movie making, focusing on a man who becomes inspired to regain the love of his wife after she has fallen pray to the lure of the drug world. In doing so he becomes The Crimson Bolt, armed with a pipe wrench and an ideal, he sets out on a crusade to rescue his love from the clutches of the city’s underworld.

Super presents a combination of action and brutal violence, together with a dash of twisted dark humor, to bring one of the more original takes on the superhero genre. Rainn Wilson (The Office), Liv Tyler, Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon all turn in decent performances which alone make Super worth viewing. Wilson is especially entertaining as the down and out hero, his performance as Frank Darbo/The Crimson Bolt garners as much sympathy as it does humor. His nemesis, Jacques, is played by Kevin Bacon, and between them they present one of the most enjoyable Good vs. Evil dynamics we have seen in a comic book style movie. Alongside them in supporting roles are Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, both also appeared in Gunn's 2006 movie, Slither, as well as both having parts in Guardians of the Galaxy (Fillion providing the voice of the Monstrous Inmate).

Overall, the combination of realism and ridiculousness works really well in Super. The movie is extremely pragmatic and has a very grounding outlook on the the world of superheroes. It does however exhibit a very twisted sense of humor and is clearly not for kids because it is very violent, vulgar and laced with multiple uses of obscenities. The film’s nature is very similar to Defendor, although Defendor has a more sensitive approach to the dark comedy/superhero combination, whereas Super clearly embraces the ridiculousness of it all.

If you enjoyed Kick-Ass then check this often overlooked movie out, it's a great example of an alternative approach to the superhero genre.

Da’Mon Guy is a writer and artist. He’s a graduate of Coppin State University and an avid, life-long lover of film. Da'Mon has been actively writing movie reviews since 2011, for a number of publications. Check out more of his work at Examiner.com, where he has published over 400 reviews. Visit his Blog and follow him on Twitter.
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