“Don’t steal! Don’t molest kids! Don’t deal drugs!”
These are the true words the Crimson Bolt belts out when avenging crime.
Like Kick-Ass and Defendor before, Super is the kind of movie made for all those individuals who have wanted to fight crime under their own terms and help those who needed to be saved. In this dark comedy, we are introduced to such a hero who must save his wife from the depths of drug hell. Rainn Wilson takes top billing in this ravenous film where he antes up the adrenaline and is the perfect man for the task.
Frank (Wilson) flips burgers at a local diner all day. He is married to a beautiful waitress and ex-junkie, Sarah (Liv Tyler). But one day, his life crumbles when Sarah runs off with a new boy toy, drug kingpin Jacques (Kevin Bacon). Even before she runs away, Jacque sits down with Frank one morning over eggs but no bacon ironically and tries to keep things on friendly terms. Devastated, Frank wallows in pity, yearning for his wife to come back home.
After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting Sarah back, Frank studies the moves of the Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) who saves kids from the evil likes of Satan on the Christian channel. He then decides to fight for his right to claim back his wife which is one of the two things that are important to him. He soon becomes the Crimson Bolt, teaching a lesson to all those immoral characters who do not follow the code of conduct or in one instance, those who like to cut in line at a movie theater.
Frank then meets with Libby (Ellen Page) a comic book store clerk and mentor to Frank. She then tags along, becoming his kid sidekick, Boltie. With no super powers but only the use of handmade materials, the Crimson Bolt and Boltie head off to face Jock (Frank’s spelling of the French name) and his cronies. An epic battle ensues, and it’s every man for himself.
Super is not the kind of PG-13 super hero movie you usually see at the cineplex. The violence is extremely bloody and sarcastic. It does not mesh well with the subtle humor, but it is a trait that can be overlooked.
However, there are two reasons why this movie works. One is the actors, because they are the driving force behind this pop corn fared feature; second is the poppy energized soundtrack.
Wilson is superb as Frank. He has the look and charisma of the average Joe that is going to make a difference with his new-found hobby. Here, Wilson puts aside his comedic tongue and provides an outstanding transformation from zero to hero. Since Frank was touched by the finger of God, Wilson displays such humidity in a man who must rise above and protect all that need protection.
Page is literally hyped up on sugar, running full speed as the feisty sidekick yearning for the adventure. She imbues immaturity and craziness once donning the green mask of Boltie. This is both frightening yet hysterically compelling. This proves to be a great departure from Pageʻs character in Inception last summer. As always, she is the ultimate tomboy. When dressed up with the skin-tight feel of her costume, however, she is able to show off her feminine physique. Frank immediately deems the outfit to be inappropriate for the rescue mission, but it is gut wrenchingly funny to watch the awkwardness between the two when they try to establish their roles.
Kevin Bacon is quite the formidable foe for our hero, drenched as a complete slime ball and surely having fun with it. Meanwhile, Liv Tyler is yet again the sexy damsel in distress and the perfect arm candy for Wilson’s doe-eyed Frank. You won’t find an elfish princess in this movie.
In the trailer, rock band Monster bellows in the second half with their hit, “God Knows My Name.” Closely similar to The Clash, they have that same bombastic attitude that works well with the story. We are also introduced to Tyler Bates who composed the talented score to the movie. His tracks, “Two Perfect Moments” and “Aftermath and Resolution” are pop infused singles providing a sugary beat during some dark circumstances. The album consists of other great indie fair such as Cheap Trick, The Ark, Eric Carmen and Tsar who performs the opening sequence, Calling All Destroyers. It’s a cartoon illustrated number where super hero’s reign supreme.
In some spots the movie can be a bit slow, especially after the first few scenes of mayhem with Frank and Libby. In the second act of the movie, the Crimson Bolt literally fights to the death for the women he loves. All his training and mentorship with Boltie comes full circle with a diabolical climax. And this is where the movie picks up the pace. Above all else, Super is exciting because Wilson is the perfect leading man and the supporting cast are amazing to watch. Enjoy the sarcastic humor and poppy soundtrack that makes this movie a treat for all the underdogs out there who might have a mask and body armor all of their own, just itching to rid the world of evil.
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