The second half of the mini-Gunn marathon, Brightburn is very reminiscent of a comic book series that I read part of the way through called Irredeemable. It’s a series that I should go back to at some point, now more so after watching this film.
Let’s think about the genesis of both the film and series. Both look into the downside of Superman – what can you do when a god loses his cool? What would humanity do if Superman one day said, “You know what? Fuck this, and fuck you all.” There would be some supers to try to stop him, and one might get lucky (*cough* Batman) to stop him – the collateral damage would be in the trillions.
With Brightburn, we see a young boy turning twelve, in that zone between being a regarded as an immature child and a maturing teen. During the course of the movie, we find out that he’s not from around here. Much like the Man of Steel, he crashed in Kansas and was picked up by a married couple. They raised him, and from what we’ve seen – Brandon is a bright, healthy child until one night, we hear the siren call of his ship. Everything here is heavily, heavily foreshadowed. Some of them pretty much hit you in the face, others are a little more subtle (watch the trust fall scene).
I’m not down on this film, but it’s not really a good superhero horror film. I like the change from the squeaky clean hero being raised by good parents trope. This one is a little more realistic, but I’ve found myself more curious about his early years. How did they discipline him. The parents said he was a good kid, and you can see a bunch of awards on the walls in a couple of scenes. Was he the sort of kid that needed a good spanking? Or was he the ‘stern taking to’ kind of kid? There are a lot of things I would have liked to have seen.
Again, not a bad film, and the end credits scene (Thank you, Marvel) sets up what would have been an interesting follow-up film, if not a halfway decent franchise. The studio didn’t seem to agree, but it was nice to see Gunn regular Michael Rooker as an Art Bell/Alex Jones sort with what would have been the start to the series. Elizabeth Banks was good as Tori Breyer, it’s a shame that she was put into the ‘mother is blind to everything until it’s too late’ trope. It would have been nice to see both parents thinking that something is wrong and acting against him.
If you’re looking for a good movie to turn your brain off for, Brightburn is not a bad choice.