Super (2010 Film)

I loved the first Kick-Ass, and I like Rainn Wilson’s work in The Office, so I had to watch this super-dark, pseudo-realistic take on costumed superheroes. Wilson plays an awkward, delusional man whose solipsistic junkie wife (Liv Tyler) has run off with a sleazy drug dealer (Kevin Bacon); unable to make sense of the world, he becomes the Crimson Bolt, a superhero who hits evildoers with a wrench.

The movie is dark, the violence is pretty brutal (gruesome fantasies progress to gruesome reality), there’s a rape scene (though not what you think), and watching Wilson’s confused, out-of-his-depth character can be quite sad. There’s no Hit Girl to save the day here – well, Ellen Page turns up as a a comic book store employee who wants to join Wilson, but is awkward and unhinged in her own way. I’m not a fan of Nathan Filion – here he plays a TV religious superhero, in some fairly superfluous scenes.

The intro sequence is a cartoon idealisation of the Crimson Bolt and his achievements (though very cartoon-gory); it ties into the post action-climax ending, where a character idealises a pretty depressing outcome.

Anyway, I really loved the movie. The acting is great (you’re not sure just how exaggerated Wilson and Page are, or if they are just deranged), there are some realistic touches (eg Bacon is a bit sympathetic to the bereaved husband; people just gasp and stare when Wilson starts smashing a drug dealer with a wrench); some wish-fulfillment (Wilson smashes a guy who cuts in line, also Ellen Page in a tight costume); some demented action (the final confrontation); and lots of crazy, idealistic, funny lines. It’s a story about a misfit trying to make sense of his miserable life where most of the people around him treat him badly, and good things don’t happen to good people.

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