Super it isn’t

Friday June 24th 2011

James Gunn’s new crime-fighting comedy Super was actually written five years before Mark Millar published his Kick-Ass comic book series, but after the massive success of the 2009 movie adaptation, it’s hardly surprising that the two are now being compared. But while Matthew Vaughn’s take on the ‘unlikely superhero’ genre might have been far from brilliant, it’s LITERALLY CITIZEN KANE compared to Gunn’s so-bad-it-must-be-an-art-statement mess of a movie.

Plotwise, Super is even more confused than Kick-Ass was. Yes, more confused than the movie where the kid fought crime and there was a mob boss and a little girl with Nic Cage and a comic book for some reason and they’re on the TV with the lights off and the YouTube hits are going up at the same time and here’s Mark Strong from Sherlock Holmes. More confused than that.

Rainn Wilson off of The US Office plays the Aaron Johnson role: a well-meaning loner trying to win the affections of a girl by donning a cape and fighting crime. In this case the girl is in fact his wife, a relapsed drug addict played by Liv ‘not really getting the roles any more’ Tyler.

Ellen Page fills in for Chloë Moretz as the sadistic female sidekick who can, like, totally hold her own against the guys. She’s woefully miscast (that’s a phrase journalists use, right?) and spends most of the movie doing a slight variation on Juno in an attempt to drag some semblance of personality into a script that feels like it was jotted down at random intervals over the course of a decade and never revised. She wears quite a tight costume throughout and I think she says ‘cunt’ at one point, but to be honest I can’t see Chris Tookey getting too upset over this one.

Like the rest of the cast, she’s also tasked with being as edgy and shocking as possible for the movie’s duration, presumably in the hope that the audience will mistake transgression for comedy and get some word of mouth going. Cos, you know, you’re not meant to use ‘gay’ instead of ‘bad’ and ‘mongoloid’ instead of ‘stupid’ so that’s funny, right? And excessively graphic comic violence is what made Observe and Report work (isn’t it?) so let’s chuck a bit of that in too.

Super has apparently been playing well with its target audience of Harry Knowles-a-likes, for whom the idea that a film has been made ‘for them’ is somehow enough to render stuff like plot, character and dialogue irrelevant. But don’t be fooled by the swell of support arising from the blogosphere: this is ‘unapologetically subversive’ filmmaking at its most unapologetically crap.