SUPER Movie Review [Philosophical Monday]

It seemed that I kept on reading about this indie movie, SUPER, starring Rainn Wilson (best known as Dwight Schrute from THE OFFICE) and Ellen Page (a now-perennial favorite of mine). But I hadn’t bothered to watch the trailer or even read any of the SUPER-related posts, so when my husband asked me if I wanted to see this movie last Friday for date night, I thought, “Sure, why not?” It’s so rare that I get to go into a movie knowing very little about it. And all I knew about SUPER was that it had been getting somewhat strong buzz from two of my favorite sites Jezebel and i09. So, of course, this feminist sci-fi nerd was in.

What’s it About: Frank, a sad sack diner cook has only two joyful memories: his wedding day to his recovering addict wife (Liv Tyler) and the time he pointed a police officer toward a purse-snatching criminal. When his wife gets turned out by a strip-club-owning drug-dealer (Kevin Bacon), Frank decides to become a pipe-wrench-wielding superhero dubbed the Crimson Bolt. Call it KICK-ASS with way more motivation and grown-ups.

What Make it Different? You know how a lot of movies have gore and violence, but the violence in this movie is extremely verite. I think the majority of the budget might have gone toward make-up — specifically making it look gruesomely real when someone got whacked across the head with a pipe wrench or hit over the head with a glass vase. Respectively we see skin split open as blood comes rushing out and glass embedded in the face of an attackee. No one ever passes out in this film. When hit they scream and writhe in what looks like very real pain. This makes for a lot squirm on the viewers part. Also, Frank is very human. When the odds turn against him, his modus operandi is simply to run away as fast as he can.

Five Things I Loved

1. Ellen Page’s character is wildly complex. I don’t want to give anything away, but she’s basically the best female I’ve seen in an action film, since KILL BILL.

2. It basically has the same plot and structure as Mike White’s YEAR OF THE DOG. And it will similarly stick with you. But it’s way more fun to watch. Sometimes it’s best to put big, complex character work in a high-concept package.

3. It’s very well-written and acted. Rainn Wilson should get an Oscar nomination for his work in this, but sadly, he won’t. In any case, there was just amazing character development all-around for (gasp!) both the men and the women. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed that in movies recently.

4. Kevin Bacon AND Nathan Fillion! In. The. Same. Film.

5. The ending. Again I don’t want to give too much a way.

What I Didn’t Like: Took even longer to “get started” than KICK-ASS. But I forgave this, b/c unlike KICK-ASS, it used that time for some really great character development.

And now for a NEW SECTION that I’ve decided to add to all of my movie reviews for my fellow nerds of color and any white nerds that feel that diversity in movies might actually be a good thing. I was inspired to add this section after watching PAUL two weeks ago, a sci-fi homage movie that went from ComicCon to the the middle of the country and back, but somehow managed not to feature even one person of color in a speaking part for its entire 100 minute running time. For that reason I’m calling it…

The Anti-PAUL Report

Were There any People of Color In It? Yes. Several blacks and one Latino kid.

Did They Have Speaking Parts? Yes.

How Many of Them Were From THE WIRE? Just one. Frank’s fellow diner cook, Hamilton, is played by Andre Royo (Bubbles).

Were any of them Drug Dealers? Sadly, they all were except Hamiltion, a party-goer, and the Latino kid.