Why Super Deserves Another Look

As Deadpool continues to clean up at the box office, Nathan Rabin examines another R-rated superhero film that's ripe for reappraisal.

by | March 15, 2016 | Comments


Over the course of the past two decades, James Gunn has made a remarkable leap from being the brightest light of those lovable scuzzbuckets over at Troma (where he made his screenwriting debut with Tromeo & Juliet, a gleefully stomach-churning gross-out comedy that took some liberties with Romeo & Juliet, the play that inspired it) to being the guardian of Guardians of the Galaxy, a pop culture phenomenon that, between its worldwide gross, home video and merchandising revenue, has probably made somewhere in the range of $1 billion.

Even more remarkably, Gunn managed to make the leap from the newfangled poverty row of Troma to the A-list without losing his voice or his audacity. The guy who made Guardians of the Galaxy one of the few Marvel movies that doesn’t feel like the product of an assembly line (a sleek, efficient, and effective assembly line, but an assembly line all the same) was the same dude who made his first mark on popular culture by mashing up Romeo & Juliet and The Toxic Avenger for the benefit of stoned idiots and the educated alike.

Gunn has always been brash and outspoken (graduates of Troma are not generally known for their coquettish ways and tasteful restraint), but when you make a billion-dollar movie that inevitably leads to another billion-dollar blockbuster (that would be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is already underway) the world tends to pay close attention to what you have to say.

“The film implicitly asks why we find some forms of violence exciting and fun, and others abhorrent and disturbing.”

So when Gunn laid into studios and the media on Facebook for learning all of the wrong, lazy lessons from smash success of the hard-R rated Deadpool (another oddball, overachieving member of the Marvel family), he found a receptive audience.

Gunn passionately argued, “Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.”

Original and good are both scary and unfamiliar to studio executives. They don’t trust either quality, as they’re both liable to scare away audiences. Subsequently, they’re most likely to pick up on the most easily copyable elements of Deadpool — namely, the fourth-wall-breaking, post-modern tone, the R-rated violence, and the swaggering, smart-ass attitude.

Gunn is among the hottest filmmakers alive. Deadpool’s paradigm-shifting early success almost instantly transformed the concept of an R-rated superhero movie from a massive risk into a tantalizing commercial proposition. I imagine that all over Hollywood, hacks are feverishly cramming profanity, sex scenes and pop-culture references into previous family-friendly superhero opuses.

Yet a mere half decade ago, Gunn wrote and directed a hard-R rated superhero movie (one that easily could have been NC-17) that failed to gross even a million dollars. Now, I’m no mathematician, but a billion is substantially more than a million — and even a million is substantially more than the sum grossed by Gunn’s blood-soaked, brain-splattering labor of love, Super.

According to the money-counting folks over at Box Office Mojo, Super made less than half a million dollars. That’s a pittance even given the film’s tiny budget, but I can’t help but feel like Super isn’t just a movie that didn’t make a lot of money — no, it’s a movie that couldn’t (and probably shouldn’t) have made a lot of money.

Super is less a conventional superhero movie than an alternately grim and goofy meditation on what Taxi Driver might have looked like if Travis Bickle had put on a homemade superhero costume and decided to channel his vigilante instincts into beating criminals to death with a giant wrench rather than going the gun-and-assassination route. That’s a big part of what makes the film bold and audacious, but it also explains its complete commercial failure.

In a role originally intended for John C. Reilly, Rainn Wilson stars as Frank, a sad-sack short-order cook who plasters crude, childlike drawings of the two happiest moments of his life — when he married wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) and helped police officers pursuing a criminal — in his shabby little home as a perpetual reminder that the world has more to offer than just misery, humiliation, and an endless gauntlet of pain and suffering.

Frank clings to his sense of morality, to his sense of how things should be, and his bond with Sarah as life preservers in a cold, cold world forever threatening to drown him in his sorrows. Then one day Sarah stumbles out of his life, seemingly permanently, after getting involved with a scumbag drug dealer named Jock (played by Kevin Bacon).

Sarah was a recovering addict who married Frank as one of those mistakes people sometimes make while they’re still in the fumbling, fawn-like early process of recovery. In a flashback, we see her weeping while they have sex, and it’s unclear whether she’s in tears because she’s so raw and vulnerable and open without drugs or alcohol to numb her emotions, or whether she’s crying because she looks like Liv Tyler and she’s having sex with a man who looks like a particularly pathetic Rainn Wilson.

“It’s a film that uses an insane comic-book plot to explore belief and morality and purpose and addiction and connection.”

The real villain in Frank and Sarah’s life and relationship isn’t a low-rent dope peddler, but addiction. Sarah seems to have gravitated towards Frank because he was so removed from the drug-fueled realm of decadence she needed to escape — a simple, honorable man who doesn’t seem to understand why people would ever use drugs when they’re illegal, let alone be driven by the compulsions that gripped his bride.

Frank can’t understand that Sarah is sick, and that sometimes in people’s sickness and disease and addictions, they make terrible decisions that hurt themselves and the people who love them and society as a whole. To make sense of the situation, his brain transforms Sarah’s selfish, drug-fueled withdrawal into something more palatable — he decides that Jock stole Sarah and forced her to use drugs, and he just needs to get her back to heal the massive hole in his soul.

Without Sarah, Frank is adrift; lost, a raw nerve just barely functioning in the world. He’s a man in need of a sign, in need of direction, in need of a purpose. Then, one curious night while watching television, God (voiced by Rob Zombie, in a shameless bit of typecasting) sinks His tentacles into Frank’s body, runs his enormous finger over Frank’s brain, and instills him with a sense of purpose: it will be his fate to fight evil and crime wherever he goes, to reinvent himself from a sniveling sub-human to a super-heroic crime fighter known as the Crimson Bolt.

Frank is aided in this revelation by “The Holy Avenger” (Nathan Fillion), a cut-rate Christian superhero in the vein of Willie Aames’ Bibleman, whose hilariously cheap, bible-thumping productions always seem to be on the verge of turning into pornography. It’s as if The Holy Avenger gang is intent on simultaneously filming their Christlike morality tales and an X-rated parody.

As a crimefighter, Frank is a distinct primitivist, and his fight scenes feel like deliberately cheap, artless throwbacks to Gunn’s Troma days, fortified with elements borrowed from the 1960s Batman. Frank is driven by a divine sense of purpose, but his efforts quickly devolve into a form of crime itself.

Frank brutally beats child molesters and drug dealers, but he also takes his wrench of rage to people who’ve done nothing more serious than cut in line at a movie. I remembered Super being stomach-churning in its violence, but re-watching the film for this column, I see less than I remembered. Gunn doesn’t need to pile on scene after scene of sickening bloodshed: the inhuman thud of metal smashing into meat and flesh as Frank clobbers one mortified bad guy after another indelibly conveys the sadistic, grotesquely excessive brutality of his actions. The film implicitly asks why we find some forms of violence exciting and fun, and others abhorrent and disturbing. The answer has a lot to do with morality, but Frank’s ideals are unstinting and unforgiving that he blurs the line between hero, anti-hero, and villain.

Frank has a child’s black and white worldview, and sense that evil is an uncomplicated entity that simply needs to be punished for good to prevail. But he reluctantly picks up a sidekick who calls herself Boltie (Ellen Page, in the kind of performance you imagine her agent having a heart attack over) who is, if anything, even more bloodthirsty and over-the-top in her violence.

She’s motivated less by a conventional sense of morality than a fetish for being a superhero that always has a sexual component to it (she’s getting off on the idea of being Robin to his Batman) but becomes assaultive when she rapes Frank while they’re both wearing their costumes.

Boltie is the demon hanging over Frank’s shoulder, urging him to give in to his worst, most brutal instincts. If he’s deeply troubled, she’s a sociopath. Together, they’re less a traditional crimefighting duo than a pair of delusional psychopaths feeding into each other’s madness and dysfunction.

Many elements of Super are campy and broad in outline. The protagonist is “touched” in the head, in both the metaphorical and literal sense. There is a delirious animated opening sequence where the Crimson Bolt and Bolty don’t just swiftly and ably dispense justice in a way they never do in the actual film, but also dance exuberantly, and some of the most unnerving violence is accompanied by comic book flourishes.

“Underneath the Troma-style wackiness is a fundamentally serious, even tragic film about a lost man in a lost world.”

But underneath the Troma-style wackiness is a fundamentally serious, even tragic film about a lost man in a lost world seeking transcendence and meaning in the worst possible way. It is a film that uses an insane comic-book plot to explore belief and morality and purpose and addiction and connection.

Gunn has wrestled with drugs and alcohol in the past (struggles that inform his haunting and poignant 2000 semi-autobiographical novel The Toy Collector, whose protagonist is named James Gunn) and Super’s treatment of addiction and recovery is one of the places where its intense sincerity is most powerful.

The film ends with its hapless hero retiring his Crimson Bolt persona and returning to normal life after he succeeds in freeing Sarah from Jock’s clutches and sends her on the path to recovery. With noble self-sacrifice, he helps a woman he realizes is much too good for him find herself and her purpose, a process that inevitably involves her leaving him for a man who is not so broken, not so damaged, and capable of giving her the life she’s always wanted, complete with a brood of adorable, apple-cheeked children.

The Crimson Bolt sets out to be God’s holy wrench of vengeance, but comes to understand that he’s not supposed to save the world. He’s not even supposed to save his wife. No, he’s supposed to give this good but sick woman the tools she needs to save herself. There’s grace in that. There’s transcendence. There’s beauty and purity and compassion in that sacrifice. After alternating between comic book comedy and aching tragedy for much of its duration, Super finds an elegiac, poetic tone as it reaches an incongruously beautiful and pure conclusion.

Wilson invests the film’s protagonist with total emotional investment, but I couldn’t help but think that Reilly would have been better in the role. There’s an ingratiating sweetness at Reilly’s core that makes it easy to root for him no matter how misguided his actions, and while Wilson is good, there’s a prickliness to his persona that’s a little off-putting. Then again, there’s a whole lot that’s off-putting about Super, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.

To quote Gunn on Deadpool (whose hero also wears a red suit and has some issues), Super is its own thing. It’s original, it’s damn good, and it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks. Yet it was precisely those qualities that kept audiences away, and will keep future filmmakers from cynically ripping it off. It turns out that — commercially speaking, at least — there’s such a thing as being too original and too risky. So Super will remain forever Gunn’s own thing. He’s made his blockbuster superhero movie for the masses, but he clearly made Super for himself, and for a strange, small subset of cultists uniquely turned into its strange wavelength — touched, as it were, not by the finger of God, but by the strangely earnest and deep vision of a profoundly talented filmmaker.

Original Certification: Rotten
Tomatometer: 48 percent
Re-Certification: Fresh

Follow Nathan Rabin on Twitter: @nathanrabin

  • Bret Osborne

    **Contains Spoilers** I really enjoyed the movie but with that said the most satisfying part was Ellen Page getting her head blown off. She’s not one of my favorites and she was especially insufferable in this movie so seeing a big hole blown through her face was rather gratifying.

    • Judas Peckerwood

      You seem to be in fine mental health.

      • Bret Osborne

        You do know it’s just a movie, right?

        • Judas Peckerwood

          Are you talking to me or to yourself?

  • My favorite moment in the film is Ellen Page forcing Rainn Wilson to have sex with her as it was just hilarious and has Page be very sexy in that costume.

    • Reese Witheredpoon

      My favorite part was when she got shot and half her head was gone.

  • Tony Gonzales

    This is easily one of my favorite super hero movies, thanks for highlighting it.

  • BPods

    Ellen page is exhausting now that she has to tell everyone that she’s gay, every chance she gets. I’m upset that she was in Inception. Totally ruins it now.

    Rainn Wilson is not a lead role. He’s hideous. Funny, but tough to look at for that long. Like Bill Hader.

    • Sharlto

      I’m sorry…Inception is ruined because Ellen Page came out of the closet? Fuck are you on about?

      Also, you’re really giving Rainn Wilson shit for not being attractive when the character not being attractive is an essential element to the film?

      Damn, I bit the bait.

      • BurgundySuit

        On the bright side, it’s strawberry-flavored!

      • Pax Humana

        Well, that is what happens when you promote hate speech and intolerance, Sharlto. Ellen Page is just like Ellen DeGeneres, an overrated hack.

    • JaySBee

      If idiocy has a sound, I believe it to be similar to your voice.

      • BPods

        GFY. I’m not an idiot because I don’t like people throwing their sexuality in my face every chance they get.

        • JaySBee

          No one has thrown their sexuality anywhere near you and she has had plenty of chances to talk about it and not done so. Do you complain that George Clooney is “throwing the fact that he’s straight” in your face? Of course you don’t. Yet here you are crying like a baby that Ellen Page let people know that she is gay and that SOMEHOW that effected a movie where no one mentions it and she’s playing a straight character.

          Yeah. You sound like an idiot. And kind of a bigot, too.

          • BPods

            You sound like a closet hetero to me.

          • JaySBee

            I think it’s time I came out. At the risk of “throwing my sexuality in your face” I admit to being flamingly heterosexual.I have been to hetero events, am hetero married and can be seen brazenly holding my female life partner’s hand in public as we walk down the street. Hell, I even kiss her. In frigging public. Even at parades when I am really happy to be at a parade.

            You know what has never happened to me? Someone like you has never cried that I “forced my straight agenda” or was eroding their relationships by having straight sex with an adult. No one has told me that I’m bad at my job because I’m straight, either. Now that I think of it. And guess what? I’m an actor. I’ve even played gay characters.

            Yeah. Not all actors are famous. Funny how that works.

            You don’t have to be gay to see gay people as human. You have to be a decent person. Try that.

          • Judas Peckerwood

            You sound like an out and proud idiot to me.

          • BPods

            it’s pronounced troll

      • Pax Humana

        Thank you for admitting to being an idiot.

        • JaySBee

          Help me out. Tell me which of these is more tragic about your post.

          1) Your obvious inability to read
          2) The fact that it took a full two months after I posted for you to come up with a response that lame

          Take your time. I realize you have bathrooms to protect and pedophile Senators to forgive.

    • D-Man

      Never heard her mention she’s gay, then again I’m not stalking her every appearance. Sorry that your heterosexuality is so precious you can’t stand lesbian women having a strong role model. Maybe greasing up and tossing the vollyball around with the other bigots would make you feel better?

      • bfg666

        I’m guessing he’s a bit disgruntled because he formerly had a crush on her preteen boy’s body.

        • Pax Humana

          I am guess that you are just saying shit to him because your own life sucks and that you can not get laid.

    • Tewksbury_Resident

      If an actress coming out as gay is what ruined a movie for you, then you have some serious issues that you need to work out.

  • Mike Smith

    Do you know of a pretty bad superhero spoof? My choice is “Fearless Frank” with Jon Voight!!!

    • JaySBee

      I’m going with “The Specials”. Absolutely putrid.

      • GreginNJ

        I actually liked that movie.

        • JaySBee

          Well, I suppose someone HAD to like it. Somewhere in the world there’s also a person who thinks durian cologne is a good idea, too.

    • Reese Witheredpoon

      Superman Returns with Brandon Routh.

  • LemLemoncloak

    I guess I’m one of the lucky few that got to see this in a theater. I remember hearing James Gunn was directing a Marvel property, thinking back to the rape scene in this, and thinking, “Can’t wait to see which studio hack they get to replace him in a few months.” It was tough, eating my popcorn through a thick layer of my own words while watching Guardians. Though in fairness, I had the same reaction when I heard Edgar Wright had been brought on for Ant Man and turned out to be right.

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      Edgar Wright left Ant-Man early in the production.

  • Evan Rasmussen

    Highly underrated, such a breath of fresh air! Rain Wilson is great and so is Ellen Page.

  • David Jacob

    Yeeaaah, no it doesn’t.

  • Lapti Nek

    Great movie.

  • AcuraT

    I actually just saw this on Netflix last week. It is surprisingly good. Kevin Bacon was a good villain, Rainn Wilson makes a believable “semi loser” hero, and Ellen Page is “over the top” in her zeal to be like Frank (Wilson). There are surprises and the ending is not exactly what you would expect, but surprisingly it is an entertaining film. “Guardians of the Galaxy” it is not – but no one should think it is trying to be. Just a down and dirty small film which keeps you entertained for about 90 minutes.

  • Grant Goble

    Great film, I remember people trying to say Gunn was ripping off Kick-ass (also great) and Vaughn saying no fuck that noise. Easily a great odd comedy, that showed the seriousness of violence up without any judgement, just let you make up your own damn mind.

  • Josh Shepherd

    I think its apt to compare “Super” to “Kick-Ass.” I enjoy both movies for their willingness to be very dark comedies exploring the unhinged side of people dressing up as costumed crimefighters in a world closely approximating the one we inhabit. But I respected “Super” more for its willingness to go to the place that, in its second and third act, “Kick-Ass” intentionally avoided. I was always disappointed at how, in a movie that alleges itself based in reality, that the filmmakers of “Kick-Ass” chose to make “Hit-Girl” far too polished a fighter and too easily able to distance herself emotionally from the murderous acts she commits. That they made Nicolas Cage’s “Big Daddy” character sympathetic struck me as a serious problem. By contrast, Gunn is completely honest and unsympathetic about the serious flaws in Ellen Page’s character. “Boltie” is a sociopath who gets a huge adrenaline rush from a miss-placed sense of power that comes from putting on a costume and brutally attacking people. She’s a disturbed geek, having felt awkward and powerless all her life, imagines that her costume gives her permission to cross the line and live out her most violent anti-social fantasies. I recall vividly the scene in which she lets out a joyful squeal at having maimed or killed her first “villain.” Unfortunately, black comedy as dark as James Gunn pitched it does not have mass commercial appeal. But I still can’t help but think that the Marvel folks saw “Super” and knew he would be ideal to make an offbeat super team composed of profoundly sad and lonely characters.

  • Juegaloo

    And so does Kick-Ass which is much more similar to Deadpool as they actually had fun with it

  • Steven

    Honestly, not to say that Deadpool wasn’t good because it was, but I liked Super much better. I think Ryan Reynolds overdid it with the constant barrage of jokes, many of which just weren’t very funny, and it got tiring. Even if they changed him a bit from the comic, Deadpool could have been more than a character that can’t go 10 seconds without making a crack. Give the audience a break and give the character more layers to his personality.

    • Reese Witheredpoon

      I disagree, both movies were awesome, just in different ways. Deadpool was polished and slick – exactly what you would expect from a big studio film, and Reynold’s depiction of the character was very true to the comics. The movie kept you entertained and glued to the screen the entire time. Super is a raw view into the life of a true sad sack. Watching Rainn Wilson’s character become increasingly unhinged in his quest for revenge is ultimately tragic. The fact that he is often quite funny is almost an expected side effect of the insanity of what he’s doing. He has to be able to laugh at it or he will truly lose his grasp on reality.

    • Bryan Dunn

      Clearly you don’t know Deadpool in the comics. Try and at least do a little research before you make ignorant blanket statements. Super is definitely a cult classic i have seen it 3 times now but Reynolds was spot on with Deadpool and it was a better movie. Read some comic books guy

    • Cthulhu0818

      Dude, Deadpool’s nickname is literally, “The Merc with the Mouth”. What did you expect him to be like?
      HIs entire shtick is a babbling, run on stream of consciousness, USUALLY unrelated to the minions he’s currently eviscerating. He has no filter, no On/Off switch. That’s literally the character.
      WTF were you expecting? Spiderman?

    • Saul Till

      I much prefer Super too.
      Deadpool was good – funny all the way through, but not really laugh-out-loud funny except for one or two moments. Frothy fun, and I’d watch it again, but the way some people talk about it you’d think it was extraordinary; even ‘game-changing’. And you’re right that the gags kind of bounce off you after a while, partly because they’re never THAT funny. They couldn’t just’ve dropped Deadpool’s gobshite chatterbox schtick – that’s the whole point of (a) the movie, and (b) Reynolds being cast in the role – but they could’ve aimed for a little more quality control. Still a good watch though.

    • DrMichael

      I have to disagree with that. I know many people just like Deadpool when it comes to continually cracking jokes, and some of us actually appreciate that kind of wit. Not to mention, when people are continually spouting humor like that, it’s usually to cover up all kinds of experience and pain, and there are more depths and layers to be found with someone like that than in your average Joe.

  • DrunkSpock

    Super was excellent, criminally under-rated. Thanks for shining a light on this gem.

    • Pax Humana

      …and I should take advice from a drunk for WHAT reason now?

      • DrunkSpock

        I’m not half as think as you drunk I am!

  • Rob

    Easily the best movie of 1997.

    • DrunkSpock

      It came out in 2010

      • Transmute!

        Which makes it even more impressive

  • DrunkSpock

    This had a few similarities to ‘Defendor’, which is another great ‘bad comic book movie’ for anyone looking for more like Super. That spelling is accurate btw, the typo is intentional.

  • Officer Serpico

    extra points for paige’s “it’s all gooshy” line.

  • mark stickney

    I was really pissed that I missed this in theaters, but saw it not long after it’s home release. This may be my favorite “super-hero” movie. I disagree with your casting conflict of Wilson and not Reilly. I love Reilly, but I was not at all disappointed in Wilson’s performance. I think he plays off desperation better than Reilly, and this role needed a lot of that to succeed. Anyways, wonderful film for those that can stomach it.

    • Marek Yanchurak

      Well said, re: Reilly/Wilson. Spot on.

  • Reese Witheredpoon

    Super is an awesome movie. I’ve watched it four or five times now and could go home and watch it again right now. It is violent and raw, but also heartbreaking at times. It deserves to be a cult classic.

    • JaySBee

      I loved it and suggest it to others, but I couldn’t watch it twice. The final conflict had an image that hit pretty hard and I can’t close my eyes without seeing it when I think of the movie. It’s weird, but this movie actually sensitized me to violence. I like some pretty gruesome and violent films, but this one personalized a lot of the violence and that is a good thing.

      Great movie.

      • Reese Witheredpoon

        Are you referring to the ultimate fate of Boltie?

        • JaySBee

          At the risk of spoilers, yes.

  • Albert J. Brown

    Galaxy felt exactly assembly line.

  • Jb223

    I personally hated Super. It tried to blend gruesome violence with dark humor that did not come off as entertaining or funny to me. And it was just way too unsettling. Luckily James Gunn redeemed himself with Guardians of The Galaxy.

  • Rocky did not die YELLOW

    Super is a top film, did not realise it did not make much money at the time. I can definitely see Reilly in the role as well. Shut Up Crime.

  • D-Man

    love this movie, probably my favorite in the genre

  • TheBlanton

    I always see movies come out in pairs. Super’s twin was Kick-Ass.

    • Obi-Wan

      Defendor could also be considered a twin to Super i think

  • SnarkyRichard

    Poor Boltie , she did not deserve that cruel violent ending and it just did not fit with the rest of the movie . However hearing that Gunn is a Troma alum now it makes some sense . Also pretty much neglected was the 2009 movie Paper Man which starred Jeff Daniels as a depressed sad sack who imagined a super hero named Captain Excellent played by none other than Ryan Reynolds . Has anyone played more different heroes in movies than Reynolds ?

    • Thanks for the tip – I’m going to check this out!

    • ´she didn´t deserve that ending´

      Isn´t that sort of the point? that you don´t get to survive because you´re ´the good guy´?

    • I thought Boltie got exactly the ending she deserved. She was clearly as villainous as any of the other ‘villains’; just prettier and called herself a hero.

      • Bret Osborne

        She deserved that ending simply because she was an annoying twat in the movie.

        • How about because she raped Frank?

          God, men are amazing. Women cannot have conversations about rape without some dudebro coming along going “MEN ARE RAPED TOO”, usually implying that women are doing all the raping of same (not true by a LONG shot). But when a female character is shown raping a male character in a movie and then gets her comeuppance later, dudes are all like “Aw, poor Boltie, she didn’t deserve it”… “Yes she did, she was annoying…” WHAT???

          I’d love to Boltie every damn idiot dudebro I ever run into from now on who pulls this crap. Start caring about yourselves. Even in fiction. We’re not your social justice janitors.

          • Bret Osborne

            Don’t you have 12 cats you should be petting?

  • axeofgod

    Probably the most sincere and thought-provoking movie review I’ve ever read… I watched Super a few years back, and couldn’t quite figure out why it was so disturbingly off-putting… BUT YOU NAILED IT… In retrospect, it’s probably one of those DVDs which I must purchase and add to my library.

  • Michael Skehan

    Same here loved the movie, loved both Wilson and Page in this…Liked Page the most

  • Tom_Tildrum

    Added to my Netflix queue. Thanks!

  • balashi

    SUPER is one of the single best “disturbing” movies I’ve ever seen. You rarely see violence conveyed this realistically and with its true, non-stylized consequences. When he goes off on that guy with the wrench, you really feel it! Man!!

  • bart007

    This movie and others like Defendor and Griff the Invisible are great examples of “real life” super hero movies. Kick Ass is in a similar vein but it was still a comic book property. This is one of my favorites.

  • Ken McBreairty

    48% on the meter? That’s a least high 70’s. I love this movie for all the themes brilliantly stated in this article.

  • Glad for this article, will watch it on Netflix today.

  • Fracassi

    Good movie, but it’s hard to watch a second time – way too traumatic the first time.

  • I hated it. A horrible, ugly movie, both visually and morally.

    But, as one of my friends said, I might have felt differently if I hadn´t watched it after seeing a trailer that shows the 3 funny bits and plays it as a wacky fun movie starring that guy from that nice network sitcom.

  • that_won’t_fly

    So far I think it’s better than Batman vs Superman. Heck, the Tixic avenger is better

  • Christopher Nadeau

    Guardians of the Galaxy “doesn’t feel like the product of an assembly line.”
    More clueless words have rarely been written.

  • Aurelas

    This is a movie I will never be able to watch due to the violent content, but I enjoyed reading the review and found it very interesting just the same. Now I feel that it is a movie I would like to be able to watch, whereas before reading this I thought it sounded truly awful. I wish it were a novel so I could read it.

  • Yes Stradamus

    They’re cannot anyway at once. Didn’t it?

  • Sturgeon’s Law

    This movie, and the similar Woody Harrelson flick Defendor, both are better than critics and audiences believed, and should have a long life as cult favorites in the superhero genre. They always struck me as attempts to redefine Bruce Wayne’s quest for justice, but by men without Wayne’s wealth, training, or intelligence. This made their struggles much more quixotic than were the efforts of The Batman.

  • Gilbert Lavery

    No, this movie deserves its 48%. I did not like this movie at all, and I wanted to like this so bad. I love all the actors involved and the idea of a dumb vigilante doing what he think is right was awesome. Instead I got a really boring, meandering flick about some (I think autistic) shlub who’s “wife” leaves him for drugs and Kevin Bacon and he’s suddenly indoctrinated by a lame Holy superhero show to go tell crime to shut up. He then goes on to be a danger more than a saviour, and Ellen Page feels wasted in this flick (just like in Inception and X3) along with the excessive need for gore in spots. I was thoroughly disappointed by the end and felt like it was an all around shit heap of a wasted concept. Also not to sound like an SJW or Libtard but was this movie trying to portray mental illness in a good light? Because if it was then it failed horribly. I would not recommend this film to anyone. If you want a good R-Rated Superhero flick, stick with Watchmen, The Crow, or even Kickass.

  • Watching Super made me a better human being. There are not many movies I can say that about.

  • Michael Dwyer

    Ok…fine. Whatever man. That movie ‘Hard Candy’ is fucking terrible…terrible, really fucking terrible! I’m rootin for this Bibleman guy to turn that movie into a porno.

  • Michael Dwyer

    …fuckin know-it-all film school geeks.

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