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Super review
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A case for Super

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It would be easy to simply dismiss Super as the cheap, indy cinema, not-very-cool, Kick Ass wannabe that it appears to be. Easy but incorrect. Super asks the viewer the same question as Batman, Watchmen and Kick Ass, "What would happen if regular people took it upon themselves to become masked heroes?" Despite this premise, even those three films allow for impossibly powerful characters. Just look at Batman's wealth, or "Blue Penis Guy's" powers, or even Hit Girl's fighting skills. Super only allows for a regular person to don the mask and tights, which takes the level of realism to places the viewer may not really want to go!

Dwight Shrute... I mean Rainn Wilson plays the enraged man who has been dumped by his junky wife in favor of her drug dealer. This event - and possibly the years of pranks at the hands of Joker Jim Halpert - causes Wilson's character to "go Batman", or "Bat-shit crazy", as we would call it in the real world. He creates a costume, ruthlessly beats bad guys with a wrench, and even does his crime fighting research at the local comic book shop. Wilson is convincing as the borderline madman because our expectations allow him to play his character for laughs at the beginning, and as we slowly realize his intense dedication to crime fighting, we begin to question if he is actually the hero or the villain.

This philosophical question is studied from countless angles in the film. If it's OK to send someone to intensive care for mugging a woman in a wheelchair, without judge nor jury, is it also OK to similarly beat someone for cutting in line at the movies? How is one man justified to judge who is good or evil anyways? Would he be more justified to do so if God himself came down to earth and motivated him to do so? And just how far down the path of evil would a person have to go in order to defeat an even bigger evil?

That last question brings us to Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon's characters. Page is the comic book store clerk who becomes Wilson's sidekick, and Bacon is the drug dealer who stole Wilson's wife, and thus becomes his "arch enemy". The two are compelling characters because there are times when you have to question if Page's enthusiasm is actually a sick blood lust, while the supposedly evil Bacon character actually shows mercy occasionally, and even attempts to rationalize his evil acts as "unavoidable". Both performances, like Wilson's, are careful to tread the line between comic book "over the top" characters, and disturbed real world individuals, depending on your point of view.

Your enjoyment of Super will also depend on this point of view. As a comic book movie it is clumsy and horrifically bloody, as the characters compensate for their lack of any fighting skills, by brutalizing each other with skull cracking head traumas and multiple gun shot wounds. As a realistic study of heroism, the film is much more fascinating. If you are willing to look beneath the surface violence, and think about the actual difference between good or evil in society, this film may be in the back of your mind the next time you watch Batman or Spiderman gracefully knock out yet another evil henchman.

Added by Film Ninja
7 years ago on 20 June 2011 15:07

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