Brightburn (2019)
May 28, 2019 5:48 AM - Subscribe

What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?
posted by Faint of Butt (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I thought it was pretty good. Some very creepy, even a little disturbing imagery.
posted by triage_lazarus at 7:46 AM on May 28, 2019

Me, I thought it was okay. I've seen the premise plenty of times before, and although it was atmospheric and well acted, Brightburn didn't bring much new to the table. That said, my opinion shot up at the very end.


First, the downer ending. The bad guy wins. Everyone who knew Brandon is now dead or (presumably) too traumatized to expose him, and when he destroyed his house, he also destroyed the spaceship, the only known material that could harm him. I appreciate any movie that doesn't bring a heroic deus ex machina out of nowhere just for the sake of a happy ending.

But my favorite part of all was "The Big T," the Alex-Jones-styled conspiracy vlogger played by Michael Rooker. He rants about the dangerous Brightburn entity, and compares it to other beings on which he's "reported" in the past: a humanoid sea creature that sinks ships, and a woman who kills with a rope or cord. I am convinced James Gunn has launched the first salvo in a whole planned evil Justice League franchise.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

> a humanoid sea creature that sinks ships, and a woman who kills with a rope or cord

All it needs now is an evil Batman figure, and shit, how hard can that be?
posted by Naberius at 6:00 AM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

All it needs now is an evil Batman figure, and shit, how hard can that be?

The Batman in the Brightburn universe is the ‘good’ Batman and the one in Batman vs Superman and Justice League who kills people with guns is the ‘evil’ one.
posted by vocivi at 6:32 AM on May 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

I can imagine "The Big T" starting a career as a costumed vigilante to combat these threats, and there's your Batman.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:47 AM on May 29, 2019

Honestly, I will watch Michael Rooker in anything. All you have to say is "Michael Rooker" and I'm in. Rooker And Gunn have a good working relationship starting with Slither and continuing through the Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:45 AM on May 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Just saw it, did not care for it. The idea (what if adopting a strange visitor from another planet goes wrong) has potential. Look what Alan Moore did with Young Miracleman. But at the end, there just didn't seem to be any point to this story, unless the point was "if it's alien, kill it with fire." It's not without its moments, but in the end it doesn't really tell a story
posted by SPrintF at 3:36 PM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ok I just watched this and felt like I was watching "8 Chan - the Movie" entitled white dude feels entitled, breaks girl's hand, kills mother. I know I am generally a big scary movie/monster fan - and maybe the last coupla years have been wearing on me. But seriously, that's all I could see here.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 4:03 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I finally got around to this and give it a "just okay." I guess it's a good movie to make in a world where superhero movies are now not just for the comicbook lover, though as said above in that world we've seen this a whole lot. Maybe if you want to see that done in a "realistic" sort of setting this is okay, though it's unclear to me how his parents faked up a birth certificate while sticking with the "we used an adoption agency" lie. The classic "mom hid the pregnancy then delivered at home during a snowstorm in a rural area that will issue a certificate later" exists for a reason and it's a weird thing for an otherwise grounded movie to gloss.

This is actually a time where I feel like a sequel has a chance at being a lot more interesting. Brandon was an okay kid till his powers & puberty kicked off this descent. Now he's wilding around doing whatever the hell he wants, but when you have this level of power and you get older... what exactly do you want? He still cared about human connection till near the end of the movie, will he continue to? He's lashing out at anything that pisses him off now, but at some point that blunt instrument doesn't work while maintaining a secret identity. Does it escalate? Drop off? Does he come to feel guilt about what he's done as he matures? Stop caring about anyone else as he commits more atrocities?

This, on the other hand, went about exactly the way I felt like it had to. I felt like dad was a little variable about Brandon in a way that didn't work for me. I liked the difference in how they reacted to him, but "he's a thing we found in the woods" just was farther than I can see any parent going. Having him push over that line and never seem too put out by it was just too easy. Not to mention I think it would have been a way better movie if he's seemed more conflicted/attached.
posted by phearlez at 1:46 PM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Every other scene begins with someone waking up in bed. It eventually became very distracting. A mildly entertaining movie as long as you don't try to look behind the curtain. He must have had a religious exemption from vaccinations. Can his hair and fingernails be trimmed? Why was he obsessed with anatomy?
posted by Brocktoon at 5:01 PM on January 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Just watched this, many months after everyone else. Though the subject matter is in my wheelhouse, as someone who loves superhero movies, horror movies, and James Gunn, I didn't watch this earlier as I didn't think this movie would say anything interesting that Alan Moore hadn't already said with Kid Miracleman. I was right!

Brandon winning at the end was a bracing twist, sure, but it ran into the issue that too many stories ignore, which is "What does the bad guy want?" Brandon's secret instructions are to "take the world," but his sketchbook shows him destroying the world with his heat vision. And once he's free of morality (in the end credits scenes) he's... Destroying an office building? Making a crop circle? What exactly was the alien plan in sending him here?

Though for all its flaws, this was a better Superman movie than Man of Steel.
posted by ejs at 7:57 PM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was disappointed by this movie. It had nothing to say. We don't spend enough time with the parents, the other school kids, or Brandon to feel anything or be invested in the transformation.

A better movie would be "about" something. Some options off the top of my head:
  • the horror of the parents as their child changes, and the parents having to decide to turn against him... or not
  • one or more school kids discovering Brandon is dangerous, investigating, no one believing them, being hunted down by the alien while only having kid resources, etc.
  • the horrors of structural failures as the school, police, church, etc. fail to see the blindingly obvious truth about Brandon and when they do, take only ineffectual actions that ultimately betray their community
  • Brandon's own horror at his body and mind changing in ways that he doesn't agree with (as an allegory for puberty, or aging in general, with a focus split between body and psychological horror, and with the theme echoed by other characters who are entering middle age, struggling with disabilities, whatever)
  • exploring the parasitic wasp metaphor more completely, and communicating the horror of our entire planet and species being incapable of defending ourselves against a single alien egg lobbed into it that we stupidly raised and protected during its most vulnerable stage
The movie isn't "about" any particular theme, and it's not "about" any particular character. We spend time with different people, but none of them are a strong viewpoint and it's not directed like an ensemble movie. We just move between locations and characters without purpose or intent.

Brandon isn't sympathetic, and he's not particularly interesting. He doesn't even have the normally strong appeal of an evil child character, because he starts out clearly not being evil and then transitions to being evil without any sort of real narrative weight or justification for it. He's not a cypher, or enigmatic, just not well developed. His bullying at school has no teeth. Nothing has any teeth.

It looked good, but it was empty and struggled to hold my attention because it was so empty.
posted by Number Used Once at 8:41 AM on February 13

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