I usually don’t miss movies in the theater, but every so often one that’s not terribly wide released will slip through the cracks. With a strange, Kick-Ass-ian concept and a 44% on RottenTomatoes, I didn’t think that I had missed to much by skipping Super.
But I was wrong.
Super is a dark, twisted and rather fantastic film. It’s dismissed because it came out relatively close to Kick-Ass, and its costumes and concept looked quite similar. But there’s enough room for more than one “everyman” superhero film, and frankly I liked this interpretation far more than what Kick-Ass did with the concept.
The film stars Rainn Wilson, and if you can’t recognize him from the picture, you know him as Dwight Schrute from The Office. He’s a man suffering from a myraid of social disorders that make him a rather strange fellow, and his issues go all the way up to psychosis when he hallucinates that God wants him to be a superhero after his drug-addled wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a sleazy dealer (Kevin Bacon). He’s eventually joined in his newfound calling by a wannabe sidekick (Ellen Page), and his self-crafted hero, the Crimson Bolt, evolves over time, going from goofy to quite terrifying by the end of his journey.
It’s a tale of twisted morality that has the Bolt beating people senseless with pipe wrenches, which might be applause worthy when it’s a mugger or pedophile, but doing the same to someone butting in line? A little more questionable.
This is set in a more realistic world than even Kick-Ass where no, nobody has powers, but also no one knows elaborate kung fu, and a bullet to the face is a very real danger even if you’re wearing a costume. But it’s that realism that makes the film more authentic, and Wilson gives a surprisingly raw performance as the probably psychotic Bolt. Super is not perfect, as it’s oddly paced and its spinning moral compass can be a bit disorienting, but it’s the most refreshing dark comedy I’ve seen in a while, and the Crimson Bolt is a far more layered hero than any patriotic super soldier or Norse god in theaters recently.