I'm a big fan of James Gunn...and, if you don't know who he is, then find out...NOW. Gunn started with Troma, wrote those Scooby Doo movies, wrote the remake of Dawn Of The Dead and directed the terrific horror/comedy Slither. Well, Gunn takes his genre twisting senses to the superhero genre with Super...and it works very well.
Gunn's basic question here is, 'What if there were super-heroes in the real world?', and it's a question that he answers with real zeal! Frank (played by Rainn Wilson) is a normal (dare I say, mild mannered) guy. He works in a diner, he's not extraordinary in any way. Which might be one of the reasons that his wife left him for a drug dealer! This drives Frank to the edge...literally! Looking for a way to 'rescue' his wife from these nefarious villains. His solution, become the Crimson Bolt, a hero who weilds a pipe wrench and who's battle cry is 'Shut Up Evil!'...yeah, Frank's not that imaginative. Through his quest to clean up the city he meets Libby (played by Ellen Page), a girl who works in a comic books shop who worships the Crimson Bolt...and wants to become his side-kick, Boltie. As the two close in on the drug dealers, they soon realize that super-heroing isn't nearly as cut and dried as in the comic books and that real danger can have real consequences.
What Gunn has done here is take a comedy movie and mix in a ton of horror elements. The exact opposite of what he did with Slither, where he took a horror movie and mixed in comedy liberally! And it really works here. Super starts as a sort of send up of the super hero genre and then suddenly turns dark and foreboding...ending with a bit of hope...which is nice. If you're a fan of genre switching you're going to love this movie, no one mixes genres better than Gunn, and I really can't wait to see what's up his sleeve next!
I'm giving Super 4 out of 4 cigars, but be warned, if you're looking for a super-hero comedy, then beware, this isn't a comedy by any stretch of the imagination, it's humorous, but not a comedy...like life. But, if you're looking for something well written, well acted and incredibly original, then you're gonna love Super!