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James Gunn's 'Super' is not so super

Super

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An interesting premise and a terrific cast does not a movie make. Unfortunately, this is the case with "Super", playing this month on Showtime and Showtime On Demand, Rainn Wilson and Liv Tyler are a married couple, Tyler has had a history of drug problems before meeting Wilson. One day she goes missing (along with her clothes and everything else) and Wilson springs into action. Wilson has a lead and thinks she's been taken against her will by a drug dealer/small time mafioso (Kevin Bacon).

Rainn Wilson is the Crimson Bolt in "Super
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Yet another movie that asks the question, "What if superheroes existed in real life?" and I swear if the question is asked again in a poorly executed, slapdash fashion, such as this, I will scream. Wilson becomes The Crimson Bolt, who fights crime with his trusty wrench. Sounds funny, right? It starts well so what could go wrong? Well it takes a very dark, ugly approach to the material. Many had thought the similar themed "Kick Ass" took a dark approach but that's child's play compared to "Super". That's not a compliment by the way. The Crimson Bolt fights all kinds of crime and in the exact same manner. From line cutters to drug dealers to child molestors, they all get the trusty wrench bashed into their skulls. That is another key difference between this and "Kick Ass", the violence here is not really funny but deadening. It's almost as if this were some slasher flick with the superhero being a slasher. You may finish the film wondering if Wilson's character is psychotic. He very well could be. There's no reason to "root" for him while he's fighting bad guys. When the focus is on his main objective trying to get his wife back, it's better because we feel he's been wronged.

Along the way, The Crimson Bolt meets a comic book seller (Ellen Page) who becomes his kid sidekick (even though she's 22), Bolty. Page is good but her character is like a 2 year old. Her character doesn't make sense and her ultimate fate is disappointing. The film lacks comic timing as well as a sense of being making it superfluous to the much better film, "Kick Ass". "Super" also wants the audience to just accept everything without question with a preachy and pretentious ending. James Gunn has done fine work in the past with "Slither", a smart, sly take on horror movies. Gunn makes a tremendous misstep here. Wilson is also to blame as one of the executive producers of the film. It's too bad that the film wastes so much talent and so much promise.

Bottom Line: "Super" might have a lot going for it but it's crushed by it's own weight. Dark comedies need a fine hand to make them work, one thing out of place and it all falls apart. Skip this.

"Super" is not only playing on Showtime and Showtime On Demand. It is also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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