Super (2010)
June 29, 2024 7:56 PM - Subscribe

After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills.

Starring Rainn Wilson, Kevin Bacon, Elliot Page, Liv Tyler, and Nathan Fillion. It's between James Gunn's earlier superhero spoof The Specials (wrote, not directed) and his work with the MCU and DCU, and that's also about where it is in terms of quality. It came not long after the so-called real-life superhero "movement" of the aughts, and although it would be kind of a stretch to call it super-realistic, it does make one wonder how many of the would-be real life superheroes tried fighting real crime and how far they got.
posted by Halloween Jack (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not everything in this movie works, and that's worth noting because the things that don't work are gross and bad. There's a homophobic prison rape joke, and worse there's an Evil Black Foreign Other Rapist, and that is just problematic as hell. These are things that have kept me from recommending this film to people I think would otherwise really love it.

And there is so much to love here about Rainn Wilson's portrayal of a person we would now identify, I think, as neurodivergent, a well-meaning man with a strong sense of right and wrong, a sense that doesn't quite match up with the ugly and complicated world around him. His pain and anguish are so palpable. Gunn writes characters who seem neurodivergent well, and gives them moments of real pathos (I'm thinking here of Drax and Vigilante), but they are generally comedic characters in a way the Crimson Bolt is not. Some of the most emotionally wrenching things I've seen in modern mainstream films are in this movie, and most of them involve this weird, pitiful, consummately sympathetic man feeling sorry for himself.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:28 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]

This is pretty much the movie where James Gunn is transitioning from a prickish edgelord/ to a filmmaker with empathy and things to say. As a consequence, this film has some of both.

It's worth seeing, but all of the reservations noted above are fair and well-noted.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:50 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]

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