Super (2011 – Blu-Ray)

You don’t butt in line! You don’t sell drugs! You don’t molest little children! You don’t profit off the misery of others! The rules were set a long time ago! They don’t change!”

I’ve been interested in seeing James Gunn’s ‘Super’ for a while but have read a lot of mixed reviews.  Some of them have focused on its similar plot elements to the much more successful ‘Kick-Ass’ (Released shortly before ‘Super’).  But this is tonaly quite different, if ‘Kick-Ass’ was an evil twisted grin, then ‘Super’ is a disturbing maniacal laugh.  It follows the crushing humiliations and small triumphs in the life of Diner chef Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson) as he sets out Batman style, to quote his characters catchphrase “Shut Up Crime!”.

The film was made on a miniscule budget with the actors agreeing to appear for the minimum SAG wage.  They must have made one hell of pitch as the cast includes stars like Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Nathan Fillion, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker and even Andre Royo from HBO’s ‘The Wire’. Ellen Page’s turn as Frank’s all to eager young side-kick is outstanding. The film is worth watching just for the spoof TV ads featuring Nathan Fillion’s performance as the evangelist superhero ‘The Holy Avenger’.

It’s easy to see why it’s garnered a few bad reviews and much scratching of heads.  It leaps all over the place between dark brooding introspection, sweet character comedy, black humour and ultra-violence.  There’s a memorable scene where Frank is irritated by two people who butt in line at the Cinema.  So you are cheering him on as he zips up his ‘Crimson Bolt’ costume and walks up to confront them, and you are expecting lines like “Thanks Crimson Bolt!” and “Only in a days work citizens”.  But then you are shocked when he actually beats the couple so violently that they need an ambulance if not a hearse, and the Film-goers run away screaming.  This and other scenes had me thinking much less about ‘Kick-Ass’ and much more about Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’.  ‘Super’ has left me shocked, confused and itching to watch it again.

Here’s the trailer:

And here’s a little SXSW comedy nugget:

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