SUPER. A Hero that Makes Weepy Batman Look Like a Wimp

*Super* is one of those films where I don’t know what I like best. In this case, there is a lot to admire – black humor, script, acting, characters.


4 June 2024


The production of the film Batman Begins directed by Christopher Nolan cost $150 million. The sequel, The Dark Knight, consumed $185 million, and the budget for the final chapter of the new Batman saga amounted to $250 million. This gives a total well over half a billion dollars. A relatively unknown at the time James Gunn did it better for a modest $2.5 million. Additionally, in a style that at times verges on absurd black comedy with a distinctly hipster vibe (!).

Sounds unbelievable, right? Oh, I also approached this production with skepticism. First, you can already sense the director’s alternative tendencies from the trailer, and second, the cast includes E. Page, whom I simply cannot stand. Recently, I wanted to put on a movie that would quickly close my eyes and teleport me to the morning. I chose a low-budget film about a boring guy whose wife leaves him for a small-time drug dealer. It ended with me watching the whole thing without blinking. Twice.

An ordinary man, who has something precious taken from him by someone with poor predispositions for healthy functioning in a society of other ordinary people, and who decides to do something about it since the police prove powerless, is a catchy topic. Recently, this scheme was taken on by the aforementioned Batman (which, in my humble opinion, reached the pinnacle of coolness in *Batman Returns* by Tim Burton), *Defendor* (an interesting drama with a remarkable performance by Woody Harrelson), and the satirical and over-the-top *Kick-Ass*. Not to mention the masses of earlier films based on comics (which, to put it mildly, I do not like), or the revenge cinema classics starring Steven Seagal from the late ’80s and early ’90s (which I love with all my heart).

super 2010

“Super”. The most ordinary guy

The reason for the appeal of these titles is not hard to find. We are bombarded daily with news about how the police once again failed to protect someone. Everyone has at one point wanted to take matters into their own hands, and these films provide us with heroes we can easily identify with, primarily through their determination in fighting, especially against their own helplessness. Such is also Frank D’Arbo, and his character is even closer to the viewer because he is neither a handsome, ninja-trained millionaire, nor a comic book-obsessed teenager, nor an Aikido master. Frank D’Arbo is an ordinary guy. The most ordinary. Flipping burgers in the morning, spending the rest of the day with his beloved wife.

His relationship with her is the only thing that really went right in his life. The greater his despair when everything is ruined by a slick, drugged-up guy who takes her away. Even more so when he doesn’t do it by force but by simply being less boring. Well, maybe he helped himself a bit with drugs, to which the woman has a weakness. Anyway, Frank decides to do something about it, especially when the police turn him away because the whole situation doesn’t look like a kidnapping. With the motto in his heart that one becomes a hero through the very initiative in fighting evil, he goes out into the city as a masked vigilante – the Crimson Bolt. And he smashes the bad guys’ heads with a wrench.

Super is one of those films where I don’t know what I like best. In this case, there is a lot to admire – first-rate black humor, an interesting script, excellent acting, well-developed characters, and a plethora of scenes that are standalone gems. Also noteworthy is the director’s ability to transition from tones bordering on the absurd to more serious, sometimes very bitter ones. The mastery of this exquisite balance is the finale. At no earlier point does the film hint at such a – pardon my French! – punch! In one moment, the previously very light-hearted approach to the topic is turned upside down, and the viewer is bombarded with real emotions and tension that electrify and fully engage with what is happening on the screen. And the whole transition is so masterful, so natural, and above all, so perfectly timed that after the credits, I had no choice but to watch the entire sequence again a few times, then shout my praise for James Gunn.

Sure, Super has some flaws, but they disappear in the excellent finale, whose impact simultaneously crushes and is completely rational and obvious. Nolan’s weepy Batman can hide with his baggage of silly, childish dilemmas worth $600 million. Rainn Wilson, in a goofy costume with his simple convictions, becomes a better Batman than… Batman. That’s all from me.



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