Super (2010)

Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Nathan Fillion, Linda Cardellini, Gregg Henry
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Frank (Rainn Wilson) has a pretty crappy life. The only thing he really loves about it is his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler). And then Sarah leaves him for the shady Jacques (Kevin Bacon) and Frank’s life completely falls apart. While watching some religious propaganda, Frank has an epiphany: he will become a superhero, save Sarah and win her back that way. Thus Crimson Bolt is born, despite Frank not really being the heroic type. So it comes as no surprise that things start going wrong very quickly.

Super is a to me rather controversial movie. It’s like Kick-Ass but with a morale I can agree with even less. If it wasn’t for the ending – and the way the audience around me reacted to it – I’d say that it’s pretty damn perfect. But as is, I have to show some more restraint.


Frank is a complete psychopath – and James Gunn leaves no doubt about that. He bashes some guy’s head in for queue jumping – that is not healthy behaviour. He also shows some pretty serious psychiatrical symptoms when he hears/sees god. And in the beginning, they do a good job showing that Frank is not a person to be followed. He is not an idol or a hero: he is a guy who’s had a psychotic break.

And then they go ahead and ruin things by having Frank win. He not only kills all the bad guys, he gets Sarah back, too. Even if it’s not a win without losses – Libby/Boltie (Ellen Page) dies and Sarah does leave again – he shouldn’t have won at all.

Despite that fucked up ending (that just stands out so much because it is otherwise a very intelligent movie) and the fact that the audience did worry me a good deal (seriously who laughs at a rape scene? So what if it’s a dude getting raped as in this case, it’s still not funny. And that’s not the only time I thought the audience’s laughter entirely inappropriate. Maybe I’m one hell of a party pooper. Maybe people are fucked), I did enjoy the film.

The cast is great, and I do mean the entire cast, though I particularly liked the parts with Nathan Fillion since I enjoy a good piss-taking at religious nuts. The pacing is good and there are jokes in it that are actual jokes and work nicely.

Summarising: Very worth seeing – just don’t forget to bring your brain.


  1. This is the movie where I totally fell for Ellen Page. “I’m Boltie!” And she was even more fucked up than him. At least he had a reason for going crazy, she just seems bored ;-). Anyway, I didn’t take the movie too seriously, and thus had a lot of fun with it, and didn’t find it troublesome at all. Then again, I might just be fucked up :-p.

    Ah, and concerning the rape scene – you’re not refering to “Boltie” and Frank, are you?

    • Regarding the rape scene, I have to admit that I don’t remember details anymore, but yes, I do believe it was the scene with Frank and Boltie… I’d probably have to re-watch it to be sure, though.

        • If I remember correctly, he says no repeatedly and she ends up jumping him anyway. If that’s not rape, I don’t know what is. Wikipedia, imdb – in their plot synopses everybody talks about how she rapes him.

          • “If that’s not rape, I don’t know what is”
            Ahm… yeah… better let’s not get into this ;-). Let’s just say, while I would agree on the term “sexual assault”, I can’t bring myself to see him as a rape victim.

          • I thought about leaving things be like that but I can’t. This is just a really important topic. I’d ask you to seriously examine why it is so difficult for you to accept that he was raped.

            1) What is the difference between sexual assault and rape for you? [Usually, if people make the distinction, it’s somewhere along the lines of “It’s sexual assault until there’s been penetration, then it’s rape.” In this case, there was penetration, so I’m curious about your definition.]

            2) What makes sexual assault any better than rape?

            3) Since you write that you can’t see him as a rape victim: What does a rape victim look like? Honestly, the only thing rape survivors have in common is that they were raped. They come in all shapes, sizes, forms, ages, genders, etc etc etc.

            [I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. To me, it just feels like you might be stumbling over your privileges a bit, so I’m calling you out on it. No harm meant.]

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