Sunday, May 1, 2011

Not Quite 'Super', But Better Than Most

By Waggs O'Neil, Top Critic
San Francisco, California

“Average Joe Mainstreet dons a cape and decides to fight local crime on his own. Hilarity ensues”. Sound familiar? It should. It’s basically the logline for a slew of indie superhero flicks, namely Mystery Men, Special, Kick-Ass, The Defendor, and arguably even Scott Pilgrim. And now, you can add James Gunn’s Super to the short list of remarkably similar films that aim to cash in on the ideal that inside each of us is a costumed avenger yearning to break free. Is it somewhat derivative? Yes. Is it still worth seeing? Definitely, yes.

Super stars Rainn Wilson as your blue-collar working class guy who basically goes batshit insane when his wife falls off the wagon and runs away with a drug kingpin. He suffers a hallucination which he attributes to God choosing him to clean up the “mean” streets of his middle class suburb. It’s not as cutesy as it sounds – our hero, the Crimson Bolt, uses a pipe wrench to bash ne’er-do-wells over the head, whether for dealing drugs or for just butting in line. He picks up an over-zealous sidekick (Ellen Page) before finally facing off against his wife’s kidnapper and his evil henchmen.

It may not be the most original plot ever immortalized on the big screen, but it has its moments. From the well-executed title sequence to Wilson’s wacky Jesus hallucinations, from a truly awkward sex scene, to a truly moving conclusion, Super combines all of the very best elements of its indie brethren – plus Kevin Bacon.

Summary: Honestly, who wouldn’t enjoy seeing Ellen Page get shot in the face?

Wags: 3/5

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