Review: Super DVD

STUDIO: IFC/MPI | DIRECTOR: James Gunn | STARS: Rainn Wilson, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Ellen Page, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Nathan Fillion
RELEASE DATE:
8/19/11 | PRICE: Blu-ray $29.98, DVD $24.98
BONUSES: commentary, two featurettes, deleted scene
SPECS: R | 96 min. | Comedy action | widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Super

Rainn Wilson patrols the streets in his homemade costume in Super.

You may have seen superhero spoofs before, from Meteor Man to the recent Paper Man and Defendor, but it’s unlikely you’ve seen a superhero spoof like Super.

That’s because the film has an unexpected, jarring edge that shakes you up even though the poor schnook as a superhero storyline is something everyone’s seen before.  ‘Are these characters — and actors — really doing this stuff?,’ you ask.

The poor schnook in this case is Frank (Rainn Wilson, TV’s The Office) whose wife Sarah (Liv Tyler, Armageddon) dumps him for a drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon, Sleepers). So Frank dons a superhero costume, calls himself The Crimson Bolt and joins forces with comic book geek sidekick Libby (Ellen Page, Peacock), who christens herself “Boltie” in order to stop Jacques and his crew, as well as any other annoying people who get in their way.

The film mixes laughs and ultra violence in a way that may make audiences uncomfortable, but that seems exactly what writer-director James Gunn (Slither) is going for. He seems to be out to shatter myths about superheroes and comic books in general, and with the typical “Biff!, Bam! and Socko!,” you get “Aaargh!, Ahhhhh! and Yukkkk!”

Along with game leading performers, the film is also helped by a terrific supporting cast that includes Michael Rooker (TV’s The Walking Dead), Gregg Henry (Body Double) and Nathan Fillion (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) as the religious TV champion that inspires The Crimson Bolt.

Super? Let’s just call it weird, irreverent and familiar, yet original at the same time, and leave it at that. After all, we don’t want to get The Crimson Bolt angry.

Wilson and director Gunn offer up a fun commentary on the DVD that’s worth a listen.

The disc also includes a couple featurettes. The standard making-of is, well, standard, but there’s also a slightly more enthusiastic one about the creation of the film’s animated opening titles sequence.

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.