What You Should Have Watched: Super

Way back when in 2010 (hey, that rhymed), a small film was released with big names and an even bigger story.   It was a dark comedy about a guy who had been wronged too many times in his life and decides to stand up and do something about it.  This ordinary loser of a fellow had decided to be extraordinary and become a superhero.

No, I’m not talking about Kick-Ass, though released at the same time and arguably the same concept.  I’m talking about Super, the 2010 James Gunn film produced by IFC.  It’s a shame Super was swept under the rug – granted it had a more independent release, but it really deserves more attention.  At least, that’s my opinion.

Let’s see…”Shut Up. Kick Ass.” Okay…

…Oh god, they have the same tagline.

All you need to know about Super is in the first five minutes of the film: brutal, raw and weird.  And with an opening like this know you’re in for a funky ride.  The story follows Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson), a man forever destined to be a loser – whose only solace came from marrying Sarah (Liv Tyler), a recovering drug-addict.  When Sarah runs away with a sleazy dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon), Frank receives a message from God (with help of the Holy Avenger, played by Nathan Fillion) telling him to become the Crimson Bolt and stand up for what is right.

Remember when I said this film is brutal, raw and weird?  Such is Frank’s transformation to the Crimson Bolt.  Wielding nothing but a spray-painted pipe wrench, he happily cracks the skulls of anyone disobeying any common law – he gets the drug dealers and child molesters, but then he almost kills a man for butting in a line.  At first this is satisfying for anyone who has had this happen to them, but then the reality of the blood-spray hits you and then you just feel a little dirty.  What’s even more crazy is that there’s someone out there more psychotic than Frank.  That would be Libby (Ellen Page), a girl who works at a comic shop who convinces him to let her be his kid-sidekick, Bolty.

Bolty makes this thing brutal.


Sure she looks really cute and fun, but this girl is a hot slice of crazy ready to rip your face off and have sex with your entrails.  Libby is indeed a character to behold: she’s living her dream of vigilantism but enjoys it a little too much, so it’s kind of hard to sympathize for her.  That doesn’t mean she’s any less fun to watch.

So if you enjoyed the brutality of Kick-Ass, Super is something to definitely check out.  And believe me, it takes everything a step further.  In fact, using Kick-Ass as a basis of comparison is really just unfair, because they’re very different films.

Oh yeah, way far out there.

This has been my first crack at What You Should Have Watched (WYSHW), my new segment on movies that received little recognition, or that I thought were way better (sometimes both).  Next time I’m going with a dirty little period film no one saw.  See you there.


About reelgirl

Film lover, kitsch enthusiast, and all around neat gal. You can read what I'm up to at Reel Girl Reviews!

Posted on May 17, 2012, in Feature, What You Should Have Watched and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great movie, great review, impressive use of the layout here on wordpress, Reelgirl. http://simplyfilm.wordpress.com/ just reviewed Super as well — check’m out.

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