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September 28, 2011
Review - " Super "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Gregg
Henry, Michael Rooker

Things go BAM!, SPLAT!, and KA-POW! numerous times in Super, but
rarely as innocuously as a Batpunch. In the world of the Crimson Bolt,
heads are bashed and bloodied, and sometimes enemies are blown up
completely. The film, written and directed by Slither’s James Gunn,
doesn’t shy from violence, but don’t assume it’s just another Kick-Ass:
For all that movie’s love of guns and little-girl assassins, Super is like
its darker, more twisted, utterly gleeful older sibling. Even the Crimson
Bolt’s eager sidekick, Boltie, is angrier (if more sloppily lethal) than Kick-
Ass’ Hit-Girl. “I could get claws like Wolverine,” Boltie gushes. “And then
I could cut up people’s faces!”

The story of the Crimson Bolt (Rainn Wilson) is a familiar one, born of
heartache. The film opens with our hero, at first simply known as Frank,
admitting he’s had only two perfect moments in his life—his marriage to
Sarah (Liv Tyler) being the first. But Sarah, a recovering addict, walked
out on Frank for a dealer and all-around scumbag named Jacques
(Kevin Bacon). What follows is pretty wrenching stuff: Frank begs God
to bring Sarah back, blubbering as he questions why he was born so
charmless and “idiotic.” (Later, in a calmer moment, Frank remarks,
“People look stupid when they cry.”)

After this outpouring, Frank’s roof parts and giant red tentacles creep
in, slicing his skull open so that the “finger of God” can touch his brain.
(Yes, you see it all.) Frank doesn’t know what it means until he catches
a PSA from the Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) warning kids to ignore the temptations of Satan and not slack off or give in to
their horniness. A couple of visits to a comic-book store later, and Frank’s armed with examples of superheros without
powers, as well as an unwanted friendship with a young clerk named Libby (Ellen Page). Libby first questions Frank’s interest
in the Holy Avenger - “I have to warn
you that this is pretty fucking stupid.
I mean, unless you’re laughing at how
gay it is. Then it’s awesome” - but
once the Crimson Bolt becomes a
hot news item, she catches on...and
wants in. Boltie is born.
Super’s mix of humor and
bloodletting is Pulp Fiction-perfect.
“Shut up, crime!” is the Bolt’s
catchphrase, and he dispenses
advice to criminals like “Don’t deal
drugs!” and “Don’t molest kids!” after
he beats them to within an inch of
their lives with a pipe wrench. Wilson,
excepting a crying jag or two, is as
deadpan as his character on The
Office, Dwight Schrute. But while
Page’s hyper (and amusingly
ungraceful) Boltie just wants to
bludgeon and kill the bad guys,
Frank’s mission is to get Sarah back.

The film, like Kick-Ass, builds to a
hyperviolent end, but Super doesn’t
exchange its heart for shoot-outs
and big explosions; it ends on
melancholy note, lending the
narrative a more realistic, if sinking,
oomph. Its sentiment is surprising—
almost as much as the first time
Gunn counters a laugh with bloodied

Super is another one of those
movies that actually gets better once
you’ve been exposed to the off-the-
wall comic madness and given it a
few hours to sink in… It’s definitely
not for the squeamish and will
probably go down like a gallon of
battery acid if you’re expecting the
feel good comedy of the year – it’s
dark and powerful.