Recommended Viewing Situation:
In your favourite superhero costume, pencils and paper ready to design your own superhero.
Running Time: 96 minutes.
Format: 35mm, D-Cinema.
Director: James Gunn.
Writer: James Gunn.
Cinematographer: Steve Gainer.
Awards: AQCC award at the Fantasia Film Festival.
After his wife falls off the wagon and into the arms of a drug dealer, Frank (Rainn Wilson), an everyday man, takes it upon himself to become the Crimson Bolt, a superhero alter-ego whose mission is to tell crime where to stick it. No superhero is really complete without their sidekick; queue Libby (Ellen Page), a 22-year-old who works in a comic book store and is super excited by the idea of a real superhero. She pushes Frank into thinking he needs Boltie, a fowl mouthed sidekick with a cackling laugh and a misunderstanding of disguises. With passion in their hearts and weapons in their hands, the two embark on their dangerous mission to get Frank’s wife back.
With his unforgettable catch phrase ‘Shut up, crime!’, the Crimson Bolt is the anti-hero I thought Deadpool was going to be. The good intentions of the everyday man fall flat, or rather, are graphically crushed, in an attempt to do the right thing. Right up until the end, Super never fails to shock in its explicit approach to justice and defeating evil. Watching this with someone who hasn’t seen it before, it seems the phrase ‘oh, it gets a lot worse’ comes out way too easily. The characters are hilarious but we are never laughing with them, always at them. The dialogue feels so believable, especially when the Crimson Bolt is dealing with ‘crime’; it is comical but still manages to uphold levels of empathy. The casting is flawless, whoever managed to get Kevin Bacon in as the drug dealer is a genius and Liv Tyler as Frank’s drugged-up wife, well, I mean she plays it well; she looks a mess (in the nicest way possible). Page is brilliant as Boltie; she is feisty and naïve and does a kick-ass job at showing how the everyday woman can also be a superhero (albeit a sidekick in this instance). There is nothing, however, quite so awkward as a strong queer actress, such as Page, acting out a heterosexual sex scene – I guess it’s okay, I can’t flaw Ellen Page in any sense, it’s beyond my nature, but I squint and screw my face up so much more in comparison to any of the violent scenes in this film when she utters the word ‘gushy’. Watch it… you’ll get it.
The occasional animation and comic book-style imagery really works great within the film. I enjoy watching films like Super: it’s a film which is full of adult content, but one of the main themes throughout is more often than not associated with children: comics and superheroes (a somewhat pleasurable contrast in themes and imagery). This film is a brilliant watch for when you think everything in your life is real mundane, you can take a look at someone else’s mundane life and the ridiculous misunderstood choices they make to try and make their life better.