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Super (2010)

Film review: Super (2010), written and directed by James Gunn

super2012And in the category “films we saw ages ago that I’m SURE I reviewed but I can’t find said review anywhere so apparently I never got around to writing about it even though I thought I did”: superhero black comedy Super, as recommended by one of our friends.

Frank Darrbo (Rainn Wilson) is your average Joe loser. The only highlights of his life so far was marrying a recovering drug addict, Sarah (Liv Tyler), and helping the police catch a petty thief. Sarah decides to leave him for charismatic strip club owner / drugdealer Jacques (Kevin Bacon), making Frank a very sad man indeed.

But not for long!

Frank has a vision about a superhero character from a Christian TV network, the Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion), telling him how God has chosen him to become a crimefighter. So Frank goes to his local comic book store for inspiration, and assumes the secret superhero identity of the Crimson Bolt.

As the Crimson Bolt, he’s a fearless crimefighter, armed with a pipe wrench, with which he leaves criminals (and “criminals”) beaten to a pulp. Society soon depicts him as a violent psychopath rather than a masked vigilante superhero. Except for comic store clerk Libby (Ellen Page), who becomes his biggest fan and wants to be his sidekick.

Can the Crimson Bolt save Sarah from the evil clutches of Jacques and his drugs?

There are many things to like about this film, if you’re into comic book superheroes and black comedy and any of the actors. We found much of it laugh-out-loud funny, and Nathan Fillion’s small part as the Holy Avenger is hilarious. It’s as cheesetastic as a Camembert – or Capain Hammer, if you prefer! – and he’s utterly adorkable.

“Utterly adorkable” is a description fitting both Libby and Frank as well. Libby is a bouncy, young girl who loves superhero comics and Frank … well, he’s a dork that you feel sorry for and want to give a kitten to or something in order to cheer him up.

Dark comedies are our favourite kind of comedies, really, and this film goes into some very dark places. Drug addiction, female-on-male rape (!), beating people to a pulp because they’re bad guys, etc. etc. It’s dark, but it’s also very, very funny.

And Kevin Bacon’s in it.

Not that I feel fangirly toward him, you understand, but because we have what you could call a meme going on in our roleplaying group, which states that any film where you can’t think of the actor’s name, it’s Kevin Bacon, even if it isn’t. That way, we were hoping to avoid the otherwise inevitable half-hour long discussions about “you know, THAT guy, who played [character] in [film] … gah, what’s his name?!” Simples, Kevin Bacon, sorted, let’s move on. Of course, since then, every time we see anything relating to Kevin Bacon, we get very excited. (Don’t get us started about those EE ads on telly, where he’s the centre of the universe! We totally feel like we made those happen! :D)

I do like Ellen Page a lot, Nathan Fillion I can’t ever mention without using a lot of gushing superlatives (because he’s AWESOME!), and Rainn Wilson … sir, you are crazy fab.

5 out of 5 childish drawings.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

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