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  • Super
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Super
Format: DVD|Change
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Frank (Rainn Wilson), a short-order cook, sees his ex-addict wife (Liv Tyler) snatched away by a seductive drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself trying to rescue her. But he decides to fight back under the guise of a do-it-yourself superhero called Crimson Bolt. With a red hand-made suit, a wrench, a crazed sidekick named Boltie (Ellen Page). Let me say that this isn't what I thought it would be, I was expecting a comedy and there were a couple laughs but for the most part very violent and very serious. this was a very impressive cast and my very favorite was Kevin Bacon. He played this bad guy so well sardonic but humorous. I was enthralled and Ellen Page was a crazy wee bugger! Not for the kids though, for you go ahead and check it out.
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on April 11, 2014
James Gunn’s Super is a dark, twisted, and excessively violent satire of the “real world” superhero. It’s less of a parody however, and more of a bizarre character study about a deeply depressed and disturbed individual. The idea of the superhero doesn’t really enter into what’s wrong with Frank, but merely serves as an outlet for his suppressed aggression and homicidal frustration with his own life.

The story opens with an intro to the sorry state that is the life of Frank Darrbo (Rainn Wilson). He’s a fryer at a local burger joint, he’s married to Sarah (Liv Tyler), a recovering addict, and his life is mostly a series of humiliations. His two crowning achievements are his marriage and that one time when he pointed out which way a criminal ran to a cop. Sarah soon relapses into her habits, coinciding with her meeting Jacques (Kevin Bacon), a drug dealer. She leaves Frank, sending him into a further downward spiral resulting in what’s probably best described as a horrific episode, eventually culminating in his donning a homemade superhero costume and calling himself the Crimson Bolt, a patchwork looking vigilante who mercilessly clubs his enemies with a pipe wrench.

Like other films in this “real life” superhero subgenre, such as Kick-Ass or Defendor, there’s a dark sense of humor to accompany the expectations of the action scenes. The Crimson Bolt spends the first few nights hiding behind a dumpster and encountering little crime other than the evidence of littering. When he expands his territory into an actual dangerous neighborhood, we get a surprisingly upbeat montage of him brutally assaulting criminals of various kinds in ways that could leave them dead or crippled. I mean he lays down some savage beatings on people with that wrench. The violence and bloodshed only escalates when he teams up with his comic geek admirer Libby (Ellen Page), who joins him in his crusade as his “kid” sidekick, Boltie. Between his delusions and her sadism, they do quite a bit of damage with absolutely no negative consequences from the police.

Even though the general tone is that of a comedy, it tends to warp and twist almost as dramatically as the mental state of Frank himself. It’s made clear early on that Frank is not only delusional, but clearly disturbed. He has a history of seeing things, cannot communicate well with others, and suppresses a lot of rage at the world and the life he feels he was unfairly dealt. His depression is at times not humorous at all and taken surprisingly serious, while the next scene could include him smashing someone’s head in complete with cartoony sound effects animated onscreen à la the Adam West Batman series. There’s a consistent morbid humor, which is evident by the gleeful presentation of horrific violence, but it clashes with the emotional drama of the character.

Around the time Boltie makes her debut, the movie hits its stride, and even though she’s completely psychotic and deranged (possibly more so than Frank), Ellen Page laughing manically as she brutally attacks someone is admittedly (albeit oddly) hilarious. She really has some fun with this role and it’s difficult not to like her. The rest of the acting is really strong as well, especially from Rainn Wilson, who shows a surprising amount of range both comedically and dramatically.

Unfortunately after its climax, which almost becomes a clichéd action sequence (though Frank’s insanity prevents it from being one entirely), it has a strangely hopeful ending, with a tacked on “lesson learned” as if there was always some greater meaning to Frank’s journey. It comes across as disingenuous and doesn’t match the depravity of the characters up until that point, which is the entire movie. That any sort of catharsis could be found at the end of this madness seems almost like a cheat or a copout.

Writer/director James Gunn’s directing is highly stylized and erratic, given what we get on the screen. At times there’s some surrealist imagery, at others more conventional comedy/parody (any scene with the Christian superhero Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) is pretty great), and at others, ludicrously gory action. The way he films the violence, from the upbeat montages to the more conventional finale, makes the assaults and blood spilling seem like some sort of release for the characters. It’s often shocking, but we are encouraged to enjoy the scenes where Crimson Bolt crushes a man’s skull or Boltie stabs someone repeatedly while laughing maniacally. There’s an odd sense of sadistic glee in the action scenes, and when coupled with the delusional mind of the protagonist it left a strange taste in my mouth.

Super is an odd, and often disturbing story that goes so far in any direction it’s leaning towards. There are genuinely funny moments, and there’s also some dramatic subtext for the characters and their skewed motivations, but this only makes the ridiculous and over-the-top graphic violence seem all the more shocking. While I can’t very well say this is a great movie (it’s a mixed bag at best, depending on your tastes), I can’t deny that I found it strangely enjoyable, too.
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on December 30, 2017
I've seen some negative reviews dealing with the uneven nature of the film and the ending. I think it is supposed to be uneven, just as the main two characters are unbalanced in sometimes entertaining often disturbing (sometimes both, not always) ways. The ending to me seems like a justification after the fact by someone who is aware of the horrible things they have done. And the amount of justification provided says a lot. This is not a typical movie by any standard and it's hard for me to think it is anything less than very, very good.
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on January 2, 2018
Unnecessary nudity, crude, and not even funny.
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on January 6, 2018
Bought the move as i'm a Ellen Page fan
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on January 30, 2018
Very good show
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on March 13, 2017
Thank you!
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on November 13, 2017
yeah
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I picked up a cheap copy of this on a friend's recommendation and y'know it is actually pretty good.

The plot is a bit thin, Frank is stuck in a deadend job, his wife left him oh and he's having hallucinations (and or visions) that God wants him to fight evil. So... he becomes a real world superhero, beating up criminals, trouble makers and random bystanders with a pipe wrench. He soon picks up an equally disturbed college student who becomes his sidekick 'Boltie'. In accordance with the immutable laws of drama it ends with a bloody confrontation with the drug dealer who stole his wife, played wonderfully by Kevin Bacon.

And y'know despite the thin plot and what I thought would be a cliched ending it is actually very well done, and has some original twists. Ellen Page and Rainn Wilson are just fantastic as the sort of disturbed individuals who might think putting on a super suit and beating people up is a good idea. James Gunn's direction shows a lot of promise which would pay off later with Guardians of the Galaxy.

There's a few minor problems, the one that stuck out is the sound is terrible. Dialogue is often mumbled requiring me to turn up the sound, but then the sound effects and (honestly mediocre) sound track are deafening.
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on October 11, 2017
Honestly, this is just a better version of Kick-Ass. It's awesome
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