I tried to go to a screening of The Devil’s Double over the weekend, but upon arriving at the theater, I was promptly notified at the box office that the show had been canceled… I still don’t know why… So, thanks Regal cinema, I love driving 25 minutes each way for no reason. ANYWAY, I just went home instead and watched the recently released Blu-ray of Super, which never even made it to theaters around me during its theatrical run. Which is a shame, because I thought it was awesome.
If you’ve never heard of it, it’s about a depressing individual who consistently gets crapped on in his life, who eventually gets visions from god that he should become a superhero when his wife leaves him. Through some flashbacks we learn that Frank (Rainn Wilson) has seen strange visions from god throughout his life, so when a tentacle-laden, Nathan Fillion filled dream convinces him to done a superhero mask, you begin to learn that he’s simply an unstable individual. The premise of a “normal” guy becoming a superhero with no powers bears striking similarities to Kick-Ass. But it differentiates itself from that movie because Frank is so deranged. I don’t think I was fully sold on the movie until The Crimson Bolt smashes a guy in the face with a wrench for cutting in line at the movie theater. It was both disturbing and hilarious.
The film’s whole appeal to me was its darkness. It was a great concoction of oddball humor and unapologetic violence. It was two disturbed people running through the streets with a twisted vision that what they are doing is right. Nearly killing a man for keying someone’s car is a perfect representation of the carnage at stake here. There are shades of Taxi Driver in the delusions of the protagonists. The violence is glorious, and in my opinion necessary for this to work. It also features two of the most awkward sex scenes since the MacGruber movie.
It never felt like a big movie, like it was trying to be something more. At least I didn’t read it that way. I read it as a brief little blip of a story of a psychopath hero. His heart is in the right place, but his actions are insane. I wasn’t that impressed with the film during the first half, more or less I was entertained though. But then the second half, in all its glorious violence and vulgarity occurred, and I was sold. The trailer, with its classic indie trailer music and quick cuts of quirkiness, doesn’t portray the final product as good as it should. Super is more depressing and impulsive than it is quirky. Though it does have a few unnecessary moments of shifted tone here and there. Not enough to cripple it, though.
I liked this movie right after I saw it. Now that it’s had some time to sink in, I find myself really liking this movie. It’s a Kick-Ass/Observe & Report hybrid that never quite equals either of those two films, but rests comfortably just a notch or two below them. Though not for the squeamish, Super is a great little movie. The kind of movie that I wish would get made more often than peeing-in-fountain-body-switch comedies.
Definitely worth renting (I bought it), but just know that your in for a pretty dark and violent comedy.
I remember loosely following this movie through Ted Hope's blog, but never got around to seeing it. Definitely plan on giving it a rental sooner or later.
If you like the delusional (non) superhero story, you should check out the 2006 indie movie "Special" starring Michael Rapaport. A bit more grounded and dramatic than Kick-Ass is, or Super looks to be, but still a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. (plus its available in Netflix instant queue)
Never heard of Special, but I do love me some delusional protagonists. I'll check it out, thanks!