"Not Always So Super"
What You Need To Know:
SUPER has an appealing tightrope style that balances between good and evil, humor and seriousness, while offering some profound moments. The hero’s heart is with his wife and God. In fact, he speaks to God directly and movingly in one particularly passionate prayer scene. Despite this, SUPER has abundant foul language and graphic violence. There is also some lewd content and drug references. A positive ending is not enough to counter these problem areas in SUPER.
(Pa, CC, B, LLL, VVV, SS, N, A, DD, MM) Mixed pagan worldview with some obvert Christian content, including a powerful and serious prayer scene but, although hero follows Jesus, he becomes a violent vigilante who goes overboard when his addicted wife gets in the clutches of a drug lord; at least 90 obscenities and profanities, including numerous “f” words; numerous scenes of violent mayhem, including the everyman hero becomes a vigilante in a superhero costume when his wife becomes the victim of an evil crime lord, hero beats a man with a metal pipe for cutting in a movie theater line, lead villain and his henchmen beat the hero severely (which is the catalyst that pushes him over the edge into vigilantism), a couple of comical fight scenes as the hero learns how to be effective in his superhero efforts, in the final half-hour a mix of cartoonish but graphic violence and violence that’s disturbingly serious in tone, as the hero goes on a rampage against the main villain and his henchmen, killing them indiscriminately, even including men who are merely property guards, by means ranging from explosives to shooting to setting them on fire, before finally killing the lead villain in self-defense by stabbing him and allowing him to bleed to death, female sidekick takes unhinged delight in also taking violent revenge against an ex-boyfriend for his keying a car, sidekick laughs with glee after slamming a car into the legs of a bad guy and taunts him that he’s going to die, and character suffers a graphic gunshot to the head; strong sexual scene where female sidekick forces herself on the married protagonist, plus wife leaves husband for drug dealer; upper male nudity; casual drinking in a couple of scenes; hero’s wife is shown strung out on illegal drugs and her addiction causes her to leave hero for the lead villain; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes deception, anger and hero engages in vigilante justice but gives that up at the end, though he’s not sorry for what he did in bringing evil men to violent justice.
SUPER is one of the most unique, but often excessive, movies you may ever see, a sometimes shockingly violent yet ultimately sincere and eventually uplifting morality tale of a put-upon man, played by Rainn Wilson of TV’s THE OFFICE, who has spent his life being beaten up and humiliated by bullies and bad people.
When his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) abruptly leaves him for Jacques, a drug and crime kingpin played by Kevin Bacon, Frank reaches the end of his rope. He adopts a superhero persona called The Crimson Bolt to avenge social wrongs and eventually fight to regain his wife. His early efforts are played for laughs, mixed with surprising bursts of violence that are shown as frightening examples of his temper. Soon, Frank’s making the nightly news in his disguise, but a young woman named Libby (Ellen Page) recognizes him and begs to become his costumed sidekick, Boltie. Frank reluctantly agrees, only to find that Libby has an uncontrollable temper that occasionally causes more harm than good for his cause.
Ultimately, the duo team up to wage all-out war on the drug lord and his henchmen, killing them all in brutal fashion that is played in serious fashion with a tone that correctly shows the disturbing side of violence rather than glamorizing it or depicting it humorously. [SPOLER ALERT] In the end, Frank regains his wife for a few months and helps her get sober and her life back on track. She ultimately leaves him but becomes a wife, mother and educator with another man who is noble, and she and Frank stay on good terms. In fact, Frank eventually lives peacefully and doing as much normal, peaceful good as he can in the world. He says he believes he did God’s work in his superhero phase by eradicating evil men but now he does God’s work by being a peaceful, helpful ambassador of happiness to others.
SUPER is superbly done, with a tightrope-style balance between good and evil, humor and seriousness that offers some profound issues to ponder. The actors are all outstanding with Wilson in particular delivering a stunning performance as a man who wrongly feels that wiping out evil and regaining his wife justify incredibly brutal violence. The movie parallels the movie TAXI DRIVER in its complex view of the degradation of society and the lengths a person must go to fight darkness and bring light to the world. Frank’s heart is with his wife and God. He speaks to God directly and movingly in one particularly passionate prayer scene and feels (again, perhaps misguidedly) that he is doing God’s work as a sort of avenging angel. The final moments of the movie have a quiet, peaceful and even beautiful power as he reveals that he finally has found a way to feel loved in this world through the friendship of his now-ex-wife, her husband and children. At the end, he spends his days being a peaceful, smiling Good Samaritan to whomever he can possibly help.
Still, although peace, kindness and goodness eventually win out, the movie’s violence and foul language are excessive. There’s also a comical sex scene.