Monday, May 28, 2012

My Thought Process While Watching "Super" (2011)

Director: James Gunn
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page

This is the best representation of my thought process while watching Super. I hope you enjoy it.

I was excited for this one, as it looked sort of like Kick-Ass except even weirder and darker, which is always something I like. But man, was this a disappointment. I haven’t seen an ending ruin a movie like this in…well, since Identity, pretty much. The basic premise is that this dorky, socially awkward man (Rainn Wilson) who most likely has a mental illness loses his girlfriend to a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), so he decides to put on a costume and start “fighting crime,” or rather, going up to drug dealers and, wait for it, people who cut in line, and bludgeoning their skulls with a wrench. He teams up with an even crazier, more morbid soul in Ellen Page’s character, who laughs cutely while cutting open peoples’ chests with hand-made Wolverine-style claws.

…sound charming yet? This is a really screwed up movie, and I liked that for most of the runtime. In fact, my exact thoughts – the exact post I made on Facebook while watching the first half hour – was as follows:

so far Super is an incredibly disturbing film about a mentally ill man who puts on a costume and beats people savagely with a wrench. If that's it's intention I like it. Weird commentary sort of thing.

Yeah, this movie wasn’t exactly clear on its real intention at first, which made me think “Oh, good, a film that is morally ambiguous while also having a really dark sense of humor – good!” Like a couple of scenes where Rainn Wilson is preparing to become a superhero, praying to God to let him save his wife – a rather chillingly pathetic and revealing scene. But then you get this image right afterwards:

Confusing, right? Oh well. Most of the movie is still pretty good so far. The scene where he brutally bludgeons a man and cracks his skull – like you actually see blood coming out of the split in his head up close – for CUTTING IN LINE kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but hey, it’s a dark comedy. The fact that this guy actually thinks he’s doing good, and doling out some kind of “justice,” should make for some really macabre humor later on, right?

Oh, and Ellen Page is in the movie now! She is way too excited about her new position as Wilson’s sidekick. She persuades him to go over to this guy’s house where they beat him up for, supposedly, messing up one of her friend’s cars. Then after Wilson nearly beats him to death in his own home, with almost no provocation, Page blurts out “I THINK this is the guy who did it!” Gee. This movie is actually getting really disturbing now. Where can it possibly go from here? What crazy things will Ellen Page do next?

The final battle comes around where we get to see Kevin Bacon and his minions in their big country ranch mansion. Wilson and Page ambush them from outside and slowly kill off the guards like it’s a slasher movie – note here how Page kills one guy in cold blood, quite happily, with some Wolverine claws. Note her apparent lack of any kind of empathy or human emotion at all – what kind of psychological disorder does she have? What was her past like? Well, we’ll never find out because she gets killed off and Wilson never even mentions her again. Another of his own mental failings? Maybe.

So he saves his wife and…I’m not going to lie; the ending is complete, total horseshit. You will be insulted beyond your wildest dreams. What transpires, in so many words, is this – Wilson takes his wife, who has had maybe 4 lines in the whole movie, back home where she of course instantaneously gets clean, and the epilogue is basically his revelation that he was “working” under God’s plan the whole time to save his wife, who apparently goes on to have a normal and productive life. What about the struggle of getting clean from drugs? What about Ellen Page? She’s never even mentioned again! What the hell were these writers smoking? This whole thing is played off so moralistic and cutesy that it’s like they forgot what movie they were making! I mean, hello, THIS IS THE MOVIE WITH BRUTAL BLUDGEONINGS FROM A CRAZY MAN IN A SUPERHERO OUTFIT.

I’m sorry; this movie is just so frustratingly inconsistent. The ending doesn’t fit at all with how it started or what the tone was throughout the film. These two characters, Rainn Wilson’s and Ellen Page’s, are deeply disturbed. They need help. The movie trying to play it off like they’re just quirky and silly DOESN’T WORK. You can’t have a happy, fluffy ending with characters like this – these are people who have no problem with cracking someone’s skull just because he was mildly rude to them. I want to see some psychological character development here! I want to delve into their psyches! Hell, I at least want some kind of more morbid humor in here than what we ended up with! And this movie actually has the gall to try and teach us a lesson with THIS SHIT in it?

Get real. Super is crap, and I can’t think of a worse missed opportunity in a film in recent times. It has no idea what it wants to be and fails horribly at absolutely everything it tries. Kevin Bacon is great and Rainn Wilson is actually very good himself, but even they can't save this mismatched pile of confusing nonsense in the end. Go watch Kick-Ass instead; at least that movie is actually good.

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