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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Review: Super (18) ★★★★★
After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills.

Its difficult to breath new life into the Superhero genre at the moment.
The trick seems to be, to make things more grandiose and spectacular. Cramming the screen full of bad guys also seems to be quite popular. The trouble with this is that each superhero movie seems to be just like the last one. You have the odd exception like X-Men: First Class but generally things remain the same.

But then you get something like Kick-Ass which genuinely tries to do something different and is a great film for it.

So now along comes Super, a riff on Kick-Ass but with a much blacker heart, and you know what, it could possibly be one of the best superhero films I've ever seen.

Be warned, Super is dark. There are scenes of absolute shocking violence which hit you right out of the blue. The central protagonist is a damaged man, a man who has his own deep personal issues which lay way deeper than most hero's of the genre. He's a man who feels the world has let him down, and let him badly so his retribution will be absolute and final.

Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) is at one point is pretty happy with his life, a beautiful wife and a steady job are all that this simple man considers complete. Then his wife is lured away by local drug dealer Jacques (Kevin Bacon) which sends D'Arbo spiralling into depression and thus to compensate comes up with his alter ego The Crimson Bolt. The Bolt is out to tackle any wrong-doers who cross his path, delivering justice with a heavy wrench to the face. Literally. Weed dealers, pimps, even queue jumpers feel the Bolt's wrath. But this is just the beginning, The Bolt is leading up to tackling Jacques and taking back his wife.

In order to do this however he needs a sidekick and who better in the form of local comic book girl Libby, or Boltie (Ellen Page) as she becomes known. An almost psychotic, unhinged individual who gets caught up in every moment seemingly infatuation with the violence The Bolt dishes out. The proverbial two peas in pod.

Throughout the run time of Super your never quite sure where things will take you, every time The Bolt and Boltie come across anyone that they feel is an evil doer (the line does become blurred to them) your unsure of the level of violence your about to witness. Again I stress this is unflinching and often unsettling, certainly nothing like you've seen in this type of film before.

This all leads to a climatic end battle scene with Jacques and his army which, although seems quite Hollywqood-ish to the rest of the film, still fits the aesthetics of the movie itself.

Wilson, channelling Travis Bickle tendencies throughout, and The Bacon really are on top form but Ellen Page as Boltie is the surprise here. Her enthusiasm and eccentric behaviour is such a switch from anyone else that she shines throughout. I was sceptical when I saw here on the cast list but she won me over with aplomb.

I gave Kick Ass a solid five star rating and while Super is done in a similar vein it's an altogether different film yet can stand alongside as an equal in every respect.


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