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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Super", the end of superheroes as we know them...


...and I feel so-so. Excuse me for that R.E.M. introduction, but I thought it was quite pertinent considering how peculiar is this film. Apocalyptic, seriously extreme... and frustrating.

As the amount of films on superheroes seems to never end, there's a tendency to show a different, more realistic approach. "Kick-Ass" or "Defendor" would be two very interesting examples of that tendency. Well, let's say "Super" goes one (or ten) steps beyond. This film is the most accurate portrayal of who would be a "real" superhero: an insane person. There are no superpowers here, or a fortune to create the most sophisticated weapons to prosecute crime. Instead, we have a lunatic with delirium going crazy and believing he is right to do what he does, battling criminals with his unorthodox methods.

In that sense, "Super" is brilliant. Crimson Bolt (Rainn Wilson) behaviour is erratic, demented and brutal. His motivations are a mix between his personal frustrations and a sort of religious visions. Can you imagine a president who ends his messages with God Bless You or by the Grace of God, even if he is declaring a war? I do. I bet that sounds familiar to you too. Well, our hero is that sort of lunatic. He believes he has a divine mandate to do it.

Director James Gunn is brave enough to take that unexplored path, and has no doubt on showing how violent and yes, ridicule, is all this "superhero" thing. You will laugh about what seems to be a mockery on the usual topics that surround the "superhero world": costumes, weapons, speech, the secrecy of identity, etc. But that fun part is mixed with the feeling our supposed hero does what he does and makes that sort of mistakes because he is not probably doing ok, right in his head, becoming dangerous. Extremely dangerous. Hero or psycho? That full circle idea is really stimulating.

The problem then is which side do you want to take, and my general impression is that Gunn takes all the wrong choices. As we approach the climax, craziness goes further, with the apparition of Boltie (Ellen Page, who plays her role perfectly, mixing vitality with an encouraging yet demented and violent attitude) being a major factor. It would have been the ideal moment to forget about making "fun" and become an ultra-realistic, even disgusting movie on violence and the weakness of the concept of a supposed "moral greater good". But the director keeps mixing both tones, and the result is confusing, to say the least.

The intriguing possibilities of characters (supposed to be heroic but acting as the worse kind of monsters) are replaced by scenes close to gore, and unbelievable inconsistencies blowing the tone of the film. We cannot switch how do we take the film, extremely serious or extremely funny, from a scene to another. And I'm very sorry to say that, but the end of "Super" is simply unacceptable. I can easily imagine four-five different endings that could save the film from that profoundly stupid, and seriously irresponsible end. Remember that silly president that decided to occupy a country because he thought he had to? Well, let's forgive him. He is responsible of "only" 30.000 innocent deaths, so it's not a big deal, right? NO WAY. 

An attractive, but "Super-failed" opportunity.

SCORE: 5,5/10

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