SUPER (2010) 1.29/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 75.4
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Duration: 96 mins
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler

One of those rare films which leaves you somewhat speechless, Super begins in the same vein as Mystery Men or the more recent Kick-Ass but ultimately becomes something much darker and much more serious. Rainn Wilson stars as a not very confident nor important working stiff who slips into madness when his wife (played by Liv Tyler) leaves hims for a dastardly drug dealer (Kevin Bacon in delicious form). After a painfully humiliating attempt to get her back, he funnels all his rage into the self-delusional persona of a crime fighting social avenger, “The Crimson Bolt”. Beginning with small time hoods or people who are just plain rude to him, and picking up Ellen Page’s even more eccentric sidekick “Boltie” along the way, he heads for the inevitable showdown with the bad guys who he believes have brainwashed his wife.

Kick-Ass flirted with the darker side of the super hero mythology by showing the violence and perils that come with donning a suit and mask but ultimately it didn’t aspire to be anything more than a satisfying action comedy. Super let’s you think it’s going in the same direction with only hints of what’s to come but then in the third act, it folds back on the genre to fascinating effect. Written and directed by James Gunn (who gave us the excellent Slither), this hugely original and even poignant film quite simply redefines the superhero genre.

Like the film itself, Wilson’s performance starts off in typecast fashion but ends up blossoming into some proper heavyweight acting. Page is annoying at times and genuinely hilarious at other times but that’s very much in line with her character’s personality. Michael Rooker and Tyler also score well but are somewhat underused. However, as usual Kevin Bacon is excellent and it’s fitting that it’s he who delivers the film’s defining line. You may not like where this one goes and the violence can be quite sudden and shocking but if you’re a fan of the genre, SUPER is a must see for its daring and originality. And in a world where action cinema is becoming synonymous with tiresome super-hero vehicles, a slice of cynical meta-analysis is just what the doctor ordered.

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