Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon, Liv Tyler, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Nathan Fillion
Frank: People look stupid when they cry.
After his wife is sucked back into the world of drug addiction, Frank (Wilson) decides to invent a superhero and fight crime on his own, with hopes of getting his wife back.
Holy uneven tone, Batman!
This movie is all over the place. I really didn’t know what to think from moment to moment. Is it sad and depressing? No wait, it’s (supposed to be) a comedy! Hmm, or maybe it’s a super-violent action picture? Touching love story? Yikes, nope, depressing and disturbing! That’s what I’m going with…
I can theorize about what writer/director James Gunn was going for, but I can’t be sure. It seems like a sort of more realistic spin on what The Watchmen and Kick-Ass were attempting. That is, average people trying to become superheroes. Kick-Ass started off with a sort of realism, as we see Dave fail miserably at fighting crime, as he probably would in real life. But eventually that movie turned its regular people into more comic book like superheroes, which was a little disappointing. That doesn’t really happen in Super, at least not to the same extent, but that alone doesn’t make it a better movie.
In fact, it’s not a better movie than Kick-Ass. It could have been, if it had pulled off what it was trying to do…but it just doesn’t. I like the more realistic approach to violence, even if it’s hard to watch. Instead of cartoonish action sequences (like an 11 year old girl dodging bullets and leaping around like she’s in the Matrix), in Super, people are stabbed to death, have their heads bashed in on bricks, get blown up by pipe bombs, or just plain shot. No real theatrics…just blam, dead. That adds a very dark tone to the movie, which would be fine if the rest of it worked.
It doesn’t. It’s just not that funny when it’s trying to be funny, and despite a few sweet flashback scenes, I never really bought the relationship between Frank and Sarah (Tyler). Frank and Libby (Page) have a little more chemistry, but that’s probably just because both of them are borderline psychotic. Actually, Libby has probably crossed over that line. I will say, though, it’s good to see Page doing something pretty radically different than what she’s done in the past. I don’t know from what depths of her soul she found the maniacal laugh she uses as she kills people, but it kinda creeped me out.
I guess the real issue here is that Super is just not a fun movie to watch. It’s depressingly dark and mean, and after watching it I just sort of felt…bad. Maybe the movie is right about what sort of person probably would dress up as a superhero and how they’d act. Maybe it’s right about how the whole situation would eventually turn out. Maybe the point is, “this is not a good idea!”
Leave crime-fighting to the professionals…like Batman.
10 – 2.4 for a wildly uneven tone – 2.5 for just not being all that funny + .2 because Ellen Page is so darned cute = 5.3