Super (UK - BD RB)
Our Marcus suits up and takes on crime in 2011's best superhero movie on BD
Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) only has two good memories in his life. One was marrying his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) and the other was an incident in which he directed some cops to catch a purse snatcher. Now his wife has left him, seemingly run away with local criminal Jacques (Kevin Bacon), and Frank can’t take it anymore. This world needs a hero and after a bizarre vision in which God has chosen Frank to become this hero, Frank becomes the Crimson Bolt and goes about stopping crimes by brutally beating the criminals. Frank is just about cutting it as a costumed hero but after getting shot in the leg, local comic book shop employee Libby (Ellen Page) steps up as his sidekick ‘Boltie’ and the dynamic duo try to make a difference.
Super is currently sat at the top of my best of 2011 list and watching it again here on Blu-ray has proven once again that it deserves its place at the top. Everything about this lo-fi superhero adventure works for me and in a time where most superhero movies insist on following exactly the same structure and the overkill of origin stories killing my buzz at the cinema Super’s more extreme and real world approach was like a breath of fresh air. But what about Kick Ass? I hear you cry. Seriously Kick Ass gave up its real worldness about half an hour in and any movie that ends with a school kid on a jet pack with machine guns is as unlike real life as Spider-man in my book. I liked Kick Ass but there’s a distinct point where I get bored. Super never drops the ball with its realism as far as I’m concerned and not once does it ever become boring.
This is thanks in large part to its characters. Wilson’s Frank is a guy you want to see win, even at his most extreme. The Crimson Bolt is a terrible superhero—in fact he's bordering on completely unhinged—but it works and Frank’s journey grows like any good origin story without ever falling into 'that could never happen' territory. Kevin Bacon is a better villain here than he was in X-Men First Class and has a smarminess you want to see punched in the face (only to enjoy him getting up and carrying on being smarmy). He treads a fantastic line between darkness and comedy and seeing Bacon in more of these roles would be fantastic in the future. However it’s Ellen Page who steps up, steals the movie, rolls it into a ball and eats it like sweets.
Boltie is just about character of the year for me so far and being around her puts a grin on my face. Page plays this with a manic enthusiasm I just can’t help but fall in love with. Her enjoyment with being a superhero is infectious and she lets out one hell of a crazy laugh in her most manic of moments making for the most insane Robin-esq sidekick you’ve ever seen. Without going into spoiler territory (because you need to see some of this stuff to believe it) Boltie comes with at least two incredibly shocking moments and one of these really shouldn’t be as enjoyable to watch as it is. She gets progressively more extreme and her part in this gives an already great film an x-factor that you just couldn’t see coming from a superhero film or even Ellen Page, despite her mixture of roles so far. Honestly she’s a blast in this movie and I want a Boltie sidekick!
Super is the most fun I’ve had with a superhero movie in quite some time. The combined might, budget, publicity, history and sheer scale of Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern (okay there’s no might in Green Lantern) and even the X-Men were not enough to outdo this lo-fi gem and not one of them were this enjoyable a watch either.
Don’t Molest Kids!!
I don’t know what I was expecting from this low budget flick but whatever it was it, this Blu-ray release is much better. The transfer is terrific. Rich, warm and bright colours fill the screen in this presentation and while the image isn’t the sharpest I’ve ever seen it’s incredibly clean and vibrant.
The opening animated credits literally pop off the screen with all its feel good awesomeness. Flashing colours, a wrinkled paper background and as the film continues any little bit of animation that pops up also jumps off the screen. As for the real world visuals, it all feels a little like an overcast day with its lighting but the style fits the mood of the story well and there’s a lot of detail to be found in the close despite the slight softness to the image as a whole. The costumes for Crimson Bolt and Boltie also have a nice bit of pop against the duller backgrounds in the film and really do stand out as larger than life characters in this real world setting.
Don’t Deal Drugs!!
The DTS-HD Master Audio track is a nice clean presentation but outside of the music selections there’s not a great deal for the track to do. There’s a pretty aggressive gunfight (with bombs) in the last act that rocks the track a bit and offers up a good bit of power in the bass but generally speaking this is a movie about the dialogue and the odd hard impact to criminals skulls it’s not exactly the usual stuff you’d expect from a superhero movie but it’s enough considering the low budget nature of the movie.
You Don’t Butt!!
Extras wise, the UK release only comes with a ‘Behind the Scenes’ (18:39 HD) featurette but it’s still a great insight into the making of the movie with the cast and crew offering up a great deal of information and enthusiasm for the film as well as plenty of laughs. The only other extra is the trailer (02:08 HD).
“SHUT UP CRIME!!!”
This disc has a fine combo of A/V despite its low budget and while there seems to be more extras on the US release, the 20 minute featurette here is still good and with some very low prices online it certainly makes for a good option.
Super is a fantastic little superflick and has more bite than all the other superflicks this year put together. The Crimson Bolt and Boltie are a duo like none other and despite Super’s dark comedy and violence there’s some real heart in this movie and a line up of some really great characters in a feel good/feel uncomfortable comic book romp that will probably get the most rewatches out of all the movies I’ve seen in 2011 so far. I can only hope the rest of the year offers up movies that I love as much as I love Super.
* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Extras: Behind the Scenes, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 92 minutes
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