James Gunn’s Super Review
It may seem like the market is getting saturated with faux superhero stories. But maybe that is because they all seemed to have come out at around the same time. The most notable one was Kick-Ass, since it was very well received and even got a Brit Awards screenplay nomination besides appearing in various film critics Top 10 lists. In liv @ mb showflat reality, there are only about four of these kind of films, all released within the last three years.
Super is one of them. Written and directed by James Gunn, it follows the usual almost predictive plot. An ordinary Joe wonders what it would be like if he/she became a superhero. In this instance, it’s Rainn Wilson’s Frank Darbo, after his wife is ‘stolen’ by a drug baron, Jacques. Frank works at a diner with Lawrence (Andre Royo), his life only seems to revolve between his house and workplace. This is evident after he explains the most exciting moments of his life, which are just two: the moment he married Sarah (Liv Tyler) and an incident that involved him ratting out a fleeing criminal to the police.
Frank’s character is awfully close to Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute in The Office. He is maniacal about stopping crime. He takes it a little too far, but when you think about it, Dwight putting on a costume to fight insecurity and vice doesn’t seem like a long shot. The difference between Frank and Dwight is Frank’s self-consciousness and insecurities about his looks.
The story really begins when Sarah elopes (I think that’s what it’s called) with a local mafia-like fellow, Jacques. After Frank’s attempt to enlist the police’s help to bring her back fails, he decides to take matters into his own hands. He believes that he has been anointed by God to take up the role of ridding the earth of scum. With a nicely fitting costume, mask and catch-phrase (Shut up, Crime!), he sets off on heroic pursuits, attacking petty drug dealers, child predators and line-butters.
To learn more about superheroes, he visits a comic book shop, where he meets an enthusiastic store clerk, Libby (Ellen Page). His relationship with the girl who looks half his age is complicated and awkward. I liked that Libby’s character was not given the clichéd treatment. A teenage-looking girl working at a comic book store, who seems to gravitate towards an older man, is most likely to be presented as a geek and loner. But in one scene, we see that she actually has a social life and tons of friends. It seems that she just wants more excitement in her life.
There’s only one thing I can point out from the film that would seem negative though I’m not sure myself. I kinda didn’t understand why Frank would take up fighting crime. He is presented as a guy who likes stability and security. The reason, I assumed, is because he wanted his wife back. But the first thing he does after wearing a cape, is sitting out on the street waiting for common criminals. But then again, we can argue that he actually takes up crime-fighting after his incident with the Finger of God. If this is the case, then it makes sense.
The film, to me, was pretty solid. No unnecessary scenes and they all built up to the final scene rather well. I expected the final moments to be a balls out, flaming glory type of sequence, I can’t say it wasn’t, but it wasn’t as much as I’d expected. Even with that, it was very satisfying and more philosophical than I would have expected from a ‘comedy.’