Excerpt: My other favorite film of 2011 is James Gunn’s little-known darkly-comic film Super , which while turning the superhero genre on its head, also manages to connect with a touching and funny tale about a loser who’s on the road to change and self-discovery.
Excerpt: Time out. Oh, we haven’t started yet. Um, okay. Well, this review needs to detour before we even get started, because Super is brazenly bizarre, possibly confused, hilarious, and a total downer. Instead of review, which doesn’t even seem appropriate given the wide mixture of content, you’ll be provided with different spins on the viewing experience. Experiences that… well, let’s just get on with it. 1.
Excerpt: "Shut up, Crime!" The Film An ordinary guy decides to take matters into his own hands, fashions his own costume, and becomes a self-made superhero to fight the forces of evil. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? There's no denying that this high level plot summary of James Gunn's Super bears a strong resemblance to that of Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass . However, once you come in for a closer look you quickly realize two things.
Excerpt: It's really hard to make good comic book movies. Double-page drawings of men and women frozen mid-flight, muscles and capes rippling in the suggested breeze while engaged in fisticuffs with spandex-clad villains are thrilling. Real-life actors dressed in those same colorful, skin-tight costumes? Not so much. What works on the page doesn't always work on screen.
Excerpt: Unless you’ve ignored the film industry for the last decade, you’ve noticed the world completely obsessed with superheroes. Next year alone will see the release of The Avengers , The Dark Knight Rises , The Amazing Spider-Man , Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , and Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot. But while that’s been developing, it has also kicked off an entirely new subgenre: the average costumed hero.
Excerpt: At this point, the superhero genre has been so thoroughly worked over that the lesser lights of the DC and Marvel universes are getting their own nine-figure blockbusters and even meta-critiques have become a subgenre all their own. Just in the last five years alone, there have been four films— Kick-Ass , Defendor , Special , and the new psycho-comedy Super —about ordinary people who decide to fight crime in silly homemade costumes.
Conclusion: I'm still not quite sure how I feel about Super . It's gleefully perverse, excessively violent, and occasionally very funny, but it also seems unsure of what--if anything--it's trying to say. Is it a satire of superhero movies? An attempt to subvert audience expectations? A test to see how clearly mentally unstable and morally confused a character can be and still gain our sympathy? All of the above? None?