Super is a low budget indie film that never got the same kind of attention that similar super-hero themed movie Kick-Ass got. The parallels are somewhat superficial – both movies are about ordinary folk who put on costumes to fight crime but they are stand-alone films in their own right. I loved Kick Ass (read my review) and as much as I wanted to like Super (it’s got Ellen Page!), it’s just too much of a narrative and conceptual mess to truly fully enjoy.

The basic plot isn’t too complicated. Short order cook Frank (Rainn Wilson) D’Arbo’s idyllic life is torn apart when his recovering drub addict wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) leaves him for scumbag drug dealer Jacques (Kevin Bacon). Desperate and frustrated, he believes that he is called by God to become a superhero, the Crimson Bolt, fight crime and ultimately rescue Sarah from Jacques. Along the way, he picks up a sidekick i.e. the foul-mouthed comic book store clerk Libby (Ellen Page) and they team up to fulfill Frank’s mission to save Sarah.

Which to cut a long story short, they do. But getting there is one bizarre twisted journey with enough sex and violence to make you gag! Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with sexual situations and gore that make sense in the context of the narrative but the problem with Super is that it vacillates wildly so much in tone and mood that the juxtaposition of concepts become jarring.

For instance, I can appreciate the whole sequence where Frank imagines that his skull is being cut open by hentai-inspired tentacles in the context of a black comedy (and as a hallucination) but the scene where a seriously unhinged Libby (in Bolty costume) rapes Frank is truly disturbing. Juxtapose that with the opening credits’ children’s cartoon design and the idea of a kid sidekick-superhero sex scene is a real mindfuck!

Still, I was willing to bear with these flaws if writer/director James Gunn was able to wrap things up with a satisfying denouement. Sadly, Gunn decides to make the whole story an esoteric waste of time, as ultimately his wife Sarah leaves him, begins a new family and Frank is actually worse off than at the beginning of the movie! Is that what Bolty got her brains blown off for? Seriously? A hideous joke and it’s not funny anymore…


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