Movie of the Week: Super (2010)

Rainn Wilson... on his way home from the office

If you are one of the twelve people on the planet who think there need to be more films deconstructing the concept of “what makes a super hero”, then Super is for you.  If you are one of the seven billion others out there, you may want to pass on this remarkably dark, and oftentimes disturbing, comedy.  I watched this at home a month or so ago and have been debating whether or not I liked it… I’m leaning towards yes, I enjoyed it… but enjoyment is not quite what I experienced while viewing this one… more like something akin to watching a horrific train wreck or car accident.  You know you probably shouldn’t stare, but some force propels you to keep watching.  Super is similar.

Rainn Wilson plays Frank, a strange and goofy guy much like his character from The Office, Dwight, has just been dumped by his ex-drug addict girlfriend Sarah, the lovely Liv Tyler.  OK… now think about this for just a moment.  Rainn Wilson… Liv Tyler… a couple.  Now that you have that image burned into your brain, imagine her leaving him for a drug dealer, played with greasy malevolence by Kevin Bacon.  Do you have this image?  Liv Tyler… from Rainn Wilson, to Kevin Bacon.  Pause… shudder… continue…

Frank is distraught.  He turns to watching a religious superhero show, The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion)… and through The Holy Avenger, and a convenient message from God himself, Frank becomes The Crimson Bolt!  Yes, Frank is delusional.  Frank is, for lack of a better term, batshit fucking crazy.

Perhaps you are already thinking, “this sounds an awful lot like Kick Ass”… it has it’s similarities.  Both are about a regular Joe becoming a superhero, both show the shortcomings of regular Joes trying to be a superhero, and both feature disturbingly violent and crass younger female co-stars.  In this case, we get Ellen Page as comic book store geekstress Libby.  Later to become, Boltie!, side-kick to Frank’s The Crimson Bolt.

Whereas Frank is delusional… and fights ‘crime’ with a large plumbers wrench, ‘crime’ being things like cutting in line… and really, who hasn’t dreamed of clocking someone over the head with a wrench for the crime of cutting in line (actually, when you see this done, you will never wish that upon any human… it’s disturbing), Libby is completely psychotic… and a bit kinky.  This truly is Ellen Page as you have never seen her before.

Eventually we get the outline of Frank’s delusions and, as you can imagine, he goes hunting for his ex in an effort to save her from herself.  This is not a perfect movie… not by a long shot.  But there is something here that has kept it on my mind for a month or more.  Strangely believable, ridiculous in its violence, over the top in every way… but compelling nonetheless.  Super is neither for the squeamish nor for the overly serious among us.  I don’t know if there was any message we were meant to glean from this film… but The Crimson Bolt’s catch phrase is quite awesome… “Shut up crime!”

If you enjoy very dark comedies that dance around the intersection of disturbing and fucked up, then check this out.  If none of the above sounds interesting to you, skip it… by all means.  There are only so many hours any of us have in our lives, don’t waste them watching weird shit because some goof-ball on the internet said so.

Shut up internets,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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