Super: A Colorful, Violently Perverted Joy

Super, the latest from Slither director James Gunn, takes the superhero movie and splits its forehead open with a wrench. I went in expecting graphic violence and overall campiness, but Gunn takes you to the edge, lets you dangle, then shoves you off while he laughs and downs a Red Bull. He’s not trying to cater to his audience, or any audience for that matter. Several times throughout he lulls you into a great rhythm of “okay, this is what the movie is going to be like,” then he throws some dynamite in the works and sidles off.

Rainn Wilson plays Frank, a dumpy short-order cook who is somehow married to the gorgeous Sarah (Liv Tyler). He holds on to the two perfect moments in his life dearly: his wedding and when he helped a cop catch a purse snatcher. Unlike that dweeb from Kick Ass, it’s actually easy to believe that Frank is a real loser who thinks becoming a superhero is perfectly rational. He’s given this heroic impulse after Sarah leaves him for drug/strip club proprietor Kevin Bacon. And after the hand of God literally touches him. Seriously, that scene is incredible.

While researching superheroes without powers at a local comic shop, he meets Libby, a foul-mouthed hyperactive nerd. When Frank begins to clean up the streets, Libby becomes a groupie for the Crimson Bolt, then later she figures out his secret identity. Frank begrudgingly allows her to become his sidekick, Boltie, and things, ahem, get interesting.

Ellen Page, hands down, steals the movie from Wilson and the evil, grinning Bacon. She’s a fucking psycho. At first she just comes off as unshakably enthusiastic about her new gig, but then after she takes a baddies’ legs off and stabs another to death with Wolverine-like claws, you begin to realize she might be a little too into it. And then there’s her laugh. Try getting that out of your head after the movie. When Page turns on the not-so-subtle Lolita edge, a lot of people laughed nervously. If you get aroused during that scene and feel ashamed or dirty, relax guys. She only looks 13. She’s really 24. They’re allowed to get “damp” crotches.

Fanboy prince Nathan Fillion makes a great appearance as the Holy Avenger, a Christian television superhero who shoots beams of Jesus, or something. His nemesis, Demonswill, is played by Gunn himself, who hilariously can’t stop flicking his tongue like a retarded snake. Bubbles from The Wire also appears, playing Frank’s coworker at the diner. See if you can recognize the voice of God.

Super is a perverted, shockingly violent work of art that doesn’t let the audience rest on it being a perverted, shockingly violent work of art. It’s got some other tricks up its sleeves. Including a surprising amount of heart at the end. But you didn’t come for that, did you, pervert? You came for Ellen Page rubbing herself and Rainn Wilson beating the shit out of people with a wrench. I don’t blame you.

This review originally premiered on the Mishka Bloglin, you swine.