In preparation for James Gunns’ fast approaching entrance into the Marvel universe with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, I decided to check out and revisit some of his older movies. Slither was his first full-length feature, and it’s a really great dark comedy/horror that I highly recommend. Super, on the other hand, is an anti-superhero movie. The main character is a psychologically twisted and broken man (played wonderfully by Rainn Wilson) who decides that he’s suffered enough injustice. There is so much imagination and creativity in Super that it’s no wonder Marvel picked Gunn to do such a wacky movie like Guardians appears to be.
The movie begins by introducing Frank Darbo. A quiet, simple, and kind-of boring fry cook, whose wife Sarah (Liv Tyler), a recovering addict, leaves him for Jacques, a strip club owner (Kevin Bacon). Watching a religious TV show, Frank then has a vision that it’s up to him to fight off evil, and become a superhero. He goes to his local comic book store, where he meets Libby (Ellen Page), who then indirectly helps him create the identity of Crimson Bolt, and later becomes a side kick of sorts. The movie takes some incredibly dark, and very ‘Gunn’-like turns in the third act, which you just wouldn’t see in any other directors version of this movie.
The best parts of Super all come from James Gunn’s singular vision and pure creativity. There are numerous ‘visions’ that are incredibly trippy and out-there that caught me off guard when they started happening, but I love in retrospect. Gunn sets this very off-the-rails character into a realistic world, to emphasize just how messed up he is. The public generally views Frank as a psychopath, especially after he almost beats a man to death with his wrench for cutting in line. The movie also doesn’t skimp on the gore, making the dichotomy between how Frank views the world and the actual reality and his violent nature that much stronger. The whole movie, I wasn’t sure if I was ‘supposed’ to be on Franks side, or not, but I really love that. Morally grey protagonists are far more interesting than a clear-cut, middle of the road character, who is easily understandable.
That’s going to do it for ‘Super’, hopefully you check it out if you like ‘super’ dark comedies and can handle some heavy violence. It’s a very unique movie for sure, as James Gunn seems to be quite a singular creator. Also, Slither is great if you love funny horror movies. I’ve been so stoked for Guardians of the Galaxy for awhile now, as I think they picked a great writer/director for balancing the crazy tone that those characters bring with them. That movie will be up sometime next week, but in the mean time, stay tuned for more write-ups and thanks for reading!