Some movies have a great cast, a great story and great direction (see: X-men: First Class and shut up about all the timeline discrepancies).
Some movies strike out in all three categories, resigning themselves to the lowest level of Hollywood Hell: The Butt of Internet Jokes (see: Batman and Robin and its infamous Nipple Suit).
And then some movies have a great cast, a good director, and a shit-ton of potential and fall flat. Super is one such movie.
Super revolves around Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson), whose wife (Liv Tyler) is stolen by a ruthless local drug baron (Kevin Bacon). Tapped by God Himself (voiced by Rob Zombie) and the Holy Avenger (played by the always-awesome Nathan Fillion and a bad black wig), D’Arbo grabs a pipe wrench, fashions a costume, calls himself The Crimson Bolt, gets a young sidekick, Boltie (Ellen Page), and fights crime while attempting to get his wife back.
From that premise, the film becomes a bloody mess. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a film written and directed by Slither‘s sick genius would be bloody as hell, but some of the gore just seemed out of place in Super. For instance, the arms of God that slice D’Arbo’s skull open and drop its ideas into it seem like they were leftover SFX from Slither. The entire scene serves a hint to how messed up the rest of the movie is going to be. Whereas the gore and weird effects in Hot Fuzz didn’t distract from the excellence of the movie, the opposite tends to happen in this movie.
It’s also a mess as far as character development is concerned. Throughout the film, you are never quite sure whether Rainn Wilson’s character is completely off his rocker (he must be; nobody can sew that bad). This oversight, while in most movies would leave you guessing and theorizing with your friends, instead leaves you feeling ripped off. D’Arbo is not a likable character, and becomes less so as the movie progresses (especially so after an extremely unnecessary and uncomfortable scene with Ellen Page’s character). In fact, nobody in the film is likable, with the exception of Linda Cardellini’s character (beautiful and cute – cuteiful!) and the rabbit (cute, but in a different way) she attempts to sell D’Arbo, and they are only in the movie for a minute and a half.
And the plot has gaping holes, too. Not to give anything away, but certain things concerning Boltie are left unanswered, namely: Doesn’t she have any damn parents? Or family? Or anyone that cares about her?
That said, it’s not a completely terrible movie. There are many scenes that are genuinely hilarious, like when D’Arbo is changing into The Crimson Bolt in his (appropriately old-as-hell) car and inadvertently flashing his tighty whiteys at a small child. The action scenes are also enjoyable, and stylish as hell.
See Super, but only if you have a super hard-on for either superhero films or gory flicks. The two don’t often intersect, so when they do, it is something that is worth seeing, but not expecting to change your life.
Still stuck on James Gunn? Check out the trailer for his upcoming videogame, the gory-as-hell, wtf-tastic Lollipop Chainsaw below.