Super Review

Time out. Oh, we haven’t started yet. Um, okay. Well, this review needs to detour before we even get started, because Super is brazenly bizarre, possibly confused, hilarious, and a total downer. Instead of review, which doesn’t even seem appropriate given the wide mixture of content, you’ll be provided with different spins on the viewing experience. Experiences that… well, let’s just get on with it.

1. Rainn Wilson is unloved, but finds a woman to marry him, only to have her taken away by a devilish Kevin Bacon. Wilson turns into the awkward Crimson Bolt, smashing in the face of evil doers like line cutters with a pipe wrench, finding a sidekick, and taking on the entire Bacon entourage in this delightful super hero parody farce.

2. Rainn Wilson becomes increasingly delusion after his wife leaves him, suffering from visions that include tentacle rape. He takes out his frustration under the guise of a superhero alter-ego, smashing people’s heads in with cinder blocks. Then, he attacks the source of evil head on, utilizing pipe bombs, razors, and shotguns in a bloody massacre that might be the new king of revenge movies.

3. Rainn Wilson is a demented sociopath, delirious after his wife becomes addicted to heroin. He slaughters a couple who cut in line at the theater, practice for his upcoming murder spree at a drug lords house. In-between daylight and nighttime raids, he picks up an equally psychotic sidekick, begins to suffer mental breakdowns, and ends up being the result of countless murders, some not even by his own hand. In the end, his insanity still exists as we close on Wilson holding a bunny… a bunny without a bright future.

4. In this dramatic tale of redemption, revenge, and sacrifice, Rainn Wilson risks it all, including his own dignity, to clean up the vile streets while searching for the man who took his wife. He’ll encounter resistance, battle low level thugs, all while trying to find himself and a purpose to his own being. He’s struggling to connect, but finds a young girl at the comic shop who shares his own interest. In their disturbingly romantic fling, they find killing people is an equal opportunity outlet… one they may never be able to escape from because of their tortured pasts.

Yeah, Super is like that, a movie that no one will likely see the same way, and one may see it twice and come to different conclusions. It’s a super hero movie with an evil streak, defiantly ripping apart the core concepts, crossing all lines of what’s morally acceptable, and relishing the opportunity to do so. Sometimes it truly is brilliantly comedic, other times it’s an emotional downer, and yet another time, it’s taking a moment to bring tentacle rape into the era of computer generated imagery.

Going against all critical creeds, you have the information. You know you’ll come away with one of those four experiences, or maybe a mixture of all. It’s not possible to recommend Super. It creates a wildly divergent audience that will spread generations and split superhero fans. Super is one of those rare films that you must see for yourself, but only after you know what you’re getting into.

Movie ★★★☆☆ 

Super comes from the lens of the Red One, apparently a 4K source that on Blu-ray is actually pretty impressive. The Red has a rare moment of success as far as the black levels are concerned, this digital shoot providing everything needed to keep successful depth consistent. The brutal contrast and over exposures¬† don’t hurt either, shining across the image with plenty of bite.

Not always carrying a definitive sharpness (some focal issues marring the ability to make general statements here), Super still maintains a rich, distinctive presence. Wislon’s close-ups are always spectacular, filling out the typical array of pores, markings and minor stubble superbly. The clarity digital provides produces a natural air, not the typical overly glossy appearance seen in other digital productions.

The movie will carry its indie cred over into the color, generally unsaturated and drab, as minimalist as possible. The Crimson Bolt’s outfit, a blazing red, and gratuitous gore effects mark the highs for the palette. There’s a definite attempt to accentuate the character, the outfit, and the mindset when he’s dressed in full garb.

MPI pushes out an AVC encode that keeps to itself, a sequence of chroma noise around nine minutes in possibly even a source issues, not the transfer. Noise is kept at bay, at its worst creating an image with a little texture, not an irritating digital quality. It actually seems to fit despite being an artifact, and never intrudes where it would be unwarranted.

Video ★★★★☆ 

A boisterous credits sequence sets up a high expectation leading into the main feature, the surrounds here used to fill in the blanks per se, and the fronts blaring the breezy tune. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint much at all, especially for a low budget indie effort. Fight scenes prove aggressive sonically, spreading the fronts wide and blows to villain’s heads are viciously accentuated by the subwoofer.

Dreaming, Wilson’s character imagines his ceiling being ripped off his own home. Wood cracks and splinters in the surrounds as the camera stays in tight on the demented lead, the effect totally convincing prior to knowing what’s going on.

The finale, a spirited bit of design, wraps gunfire around, some roof hopping action, shattering glass, and a natural echo throughout the soundfield. Intermixed is the dialogue, balanced beautifully and recorded tightly. Super certainly ends up filled with downtime and never produces any exceptional ambiance, but it’s always a very personal narrative, the sound design reflecting such an ideal.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

A behind-the-scenes feature pushes the 20-minute mark, a nicely put together effort that avoids the usual pitfalls like endless thanks. A sole deleted scene doesn’t offer much, while a making-of concerning the title sequence details the studio who worked on it and why. How to Fight Crime at SXSW has Rainn taking to the streets during the show to fight crime in character, bewildering passers-by. Finally, you can enjoy a commentary from director James Gunn and Rainn Wilson (there are a couple of trailers too if you so wish).

Extras ★★★☆☆