Super (2010)
By: Devon B. on May 7, 2012 | Comments
Roadshow | Region B | 1.85:1, 1080p | English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 | 95 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker
Screenplay: James Gunn
Country: USA
When I started watching Super I figured I'd be drawing comparisons to other superhero satires like The Tick, Kick-Ass and The Venture Bros. I didn't think I'd be comparing it to the much more serious The Watchmen, but by the time the movie had finished, I'd forgotten all about a Batmanuel analogy and kept thinking about the brutal street fight in The Watchmen.

Rainn Wilson stars in Super as a guy who has lead a disappointing life. The only two things he thinks he did perfectly were marrying his wife and lending minor assistance in a police chase. When his wife leaves him he has a crisis and decides to revisit the other great moment in his life. He gets Legend of Overfiended (I think) and decides to become The Crimson Bolt. The only problem is he's not super, or even above average. Realising he needs something to give him an advantage in a scuffle The Bolt chooses a wrench as a weapon, so he is literally throwing a spanner in the works of crime. Along the way he meets a comic book store employee who displays psychopathic tendencies and is obsessed with the mysterious Bolt. They begin to work together on The Bolt's main objective: to win back his wife.

I'm a sucker for superhero satires, but did approach Super with caution thanks to inconsistent reviews. Super switches tone in a somewhat fractured way and maybe some people couldn't go along with the film, but I thought the tone shift worked. It's kind of like Man Bites Dog where the comedic elements get pushed further and further back, and suddenly you find yourself watching a sombre film. The overall bleak tone of Super and its often very dark humour are what make it special, and a far more satisfying film than the much more publicised Kick-Ass which had some similar themes. Super's transition from zany comedy to grim drama may have put some people off, but it enables Super to look at things like the social dangers of vigilantism, mental illness leading people to become caped crusaders for justice and the consequences of violence. When the lead character truly does become a hero it's not by beating up villains but rather through making a painful sacrifice for the good of those around him, which further enforces the idea that Super is more of a serious work than a goofball comedy.

Super is by no means perfect, though. As I said, the narrative is a bit fractured, and it has some lulls early on. But it also has moments of absolute hilarity, which makes up for any dry periods. Despite being low budget, the film has an ensemble cast that ranges from Hollywood stars like Kevin Bacon and Liv Tyler to cult icons like Michael Rooker and Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of The Toxic Avenger. Stephen Blackeheart, one of the better actors to come out of Troma, is also on hand, and the always fantastic Andre Royo has a bit part. I've read a lot of reviews that Juno's Ellen Page steals the movie, but I disagree. She gives Super a sense of innocence that really helps the film, but pretty much everyone involved does a good job, and it was actually Rooker that I was most impressed with. Rooker doesn't always have a lot to do here, but I thought he was perfect as a sleazy henchman who shows just a touch of conscience.

Darker in tone and more brutal than other super satires, Super's splintered nature may put some viewers off, but is ultimately worth the effort.
Video
Super looks clear and sharp, and aside from a bit of digital noise in two scenes, I noticed no flaws with the transfer. Sometimes the lighting looks a bit weird, but I think that's do with how the film was shot, not the transfer.
Audio
Super's soundtrack blasts, and the surrounds kick in nicely whenever the action heats up on screen. The film is dialogue heavy, but the viewer is suitably immersed in the soundscape when Overfiend-esque things attack and bullets go flying.
Extra Features
The trailers for Abduction, Warrior and The Inbetweeners Movie play on start up. There's also an 18 Minute behind the scenes that is worth watching and made me wish more of the extras from other releases had made it to our shores.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Super as a film is worth seeking out, but sadly this Blu-ray release is lacking special features available overseas. Normally I care more about the transfer than anything else, but I would've really liked to check out the commentary track because it sounds like Super faced a lot of trials before making it to the screen. If you don't care about extras at all, then this release sports a very nice transfer, but I'll probably look to upgrade with an import.
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