Super Movie Poster Image

Super

Uneven superhero film is wacky but violent, dark.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Given that this is a dark satire on vigilantes attempting to be comic-book superheroes, there really isn't much in the way of positive messaging.

Positive role models

The main character, although somewhat well-intentioned, believes he can prevent evil by wearing a superhero costume and smashing bad guys -- everyone from drug dealers, child molesters, and people who cut in lines at movie theaters -- in the face with a pipe wrench. His sidekick -- a 22-year-old woman -- wears a superhero costume and howls with maniacal joy every time they maim or kill someone they believe to be a criminal.

Violence

Frequent violence throughout the movie. Early in the film, bullies are shown urinating on the head of a young boy. During a dream sequence, a man gets a poker stabbed in his neck; blood gushes out. Three bouncers are shown kicking and punching a man on the ground. Tentacles wielding razors slice open a man's head, pulling back his scalp to reveal his brain. Various criminals are hit in the head with a pipe wrench, causing bloody foreheads. In a dream sequence, the main character imagines himself being raped by other men in a prison. A detective is shot in the head by three bouncers. A woman dressed as a superhero slices a man to death with a makeshift claw. A man is burned alive. A woman's head is blown off by a gun. At the end of the movie, there's a mass shootout with many casualties. The lead criminal is shot in the crotch with a razor.

Sex

Early in the film, the photographer of a prom is shown having sex with the main character's prom date; her breasts are exposed. A woman tells a man that she wants to have sex with him and that she's "all gushy." She straddles the man and has sex with him, moaning and repeatedly saying she's going to "come"; there's no nudity during this scene.

Language

Frequent profanity: "f--k," motherf---er," "c--t," "d--k," "bitch." The "N" word is used at the end of the movie, as is the word "faggot."

Consumerism

Some product placement, including In Touch magazine; comic book-series name-dropping.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A man shoots a girl up with drugs; the needle is shown penetrating her foot. Friends pass a bong around. One of the supporting characters is a drug dealer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Super is a 2010 dark satire starring Rainn Wilson as a pipe wrench-wielding vigilante superhero named the Crimson Bolt. Although this inventive-but-uneven dramedy is being marketed as an edgy superhero flick, it's much darker than you might expect. In fact, it's sometimes downright dreary. That, plus the violence -- including gouged cheeks and eyes, bludgeoned heads, a gun battle, explosions, an imagined rape, and more -- as well as swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more), sexual scenes (some partial nudity), and drug content (one of the main characters is shown shooting up drugs) make this indie flick too intense for younger teens and tweens.

What's the story?

Frank (Rainn Wilson) can count on two fingers his happiest moments: the day he helped a cop capture a thief by pointing out which direction the thug went, and the day he married his lovely-but-broken wife, a former addict named Sarah (Liv Tyler). So when she leaves him for a drug dealer (a deliciously slimy Kevin Bacon), his entire world falls apart. The only way to put it together again, naturally (or should that be "unnaturally"?), is to don a makeshift red uniform, wield a jacked-up wrench as his weapon, and "fight crime" as the Crimson Bolt. Along the way, Frank picks up a frantic twentysomething comic-book-store clerk (Ellen Page) as his sidekick and makes plans to take Sarah back from the clutches of evil. But vanquishing drug dealers is one thing; winning his wife -- and his life -- back is another thing entirely.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The first third of SUPER is promising, with enough subversion and outright wackiness to gratify viewers hoping for more than the usual superhero routine. Frank, played with surprising pathos by Wilson, is like no hero we’ve seen before, his choices both unpredictable and interesting. He's inspired to become the Crimson Bolt by two things: a psychedelic vision involving an eel-like creature, and a superhero series that appalls him with its insipid writing and bad acting. He wants to fight for good but sees nothing wrong with whacking two people who cut in line on the head until they bleed -- the same punishment he applies to drug dealers.

Then, two-thirds of the way through, the film takes a big turn, and suddenly everything and the kitchen sink is thrown into the mix. There’s addiction-speak, cartoon whimsy, buddy comedy, sad sex, brutal (very brutal) violence -- and it doesn’t all gel. Instead, it feels like the filmmakers loaded the car, gassed it up, drove full throttle, then jumped out at the last minute. The car bobs and weaves, pitches off the cliff, explodes, then suddenly softens. Say what? Exactly.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes someone a hero or a villain. Which category does Frank fall into? Why do you think he's compelled to fight crime -- and are his methods justifiable?

  • Is the violence gratuitous or necessary for the movie's tone and feel? How does it compare to that in other superhero movies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 1, 2011
DVD/Streaming release date:August 9, 2011
Cast:Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Rainn Wilson
Director:James Gunn
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody violence, pervasive language, sexual content and drug use

This review of Super was written by

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Teen, 17 years old Written bybradley4846 August 16, 2011

Awesome movie

Not what you think its going to be... this is not a full out comedy... it is dark and has a little of everything in it. There is nonstop swearing from f**k, sh**, b**ch, c**t, etc. The violence is extreme, but not to extreme. There is a "rape scene" and some sex talk. THIS IS A VERY VERY HARD R!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 17, 2011

this movie is ...... OK, guess

What to watch out for * Messages: It’s a little murky, and the violence is played for laughs, but perhaps the messages are that you can’t save someone else until you save yourself and that what you think may be the solution to a problem could actually just muddy the waters even more. Also: When life hands you lemons, go for broke and make a lemon meringue pie. Let everyone else settle for lemonade. Role models: Though Frank appears well intentioned (and his loyalty to Sarah is admirable), he’s not exactly a role model. Despite her failings, Sarah is someone who seeks out answers/solutions, which, apparently, is better than being complacent. * Violence: A man in disguise clobbers people with a wrench; though he reserves that treatment for those who "hurt others," there’s little distinction in his definition of what that means between real crimes and, say, keying a car. Another man is bludgeoned with a decorative object. There's a major guns-ablaze showdown with explosives on the side. A man forces himself on a strung-out girl. People are shot point blank. * Sex: A man and a woman have sex (no nudity, just movements), and it doesn’t seem at first like he thinks it’s a good idea. A flashback scene shows a guy in the middle of a sex act displaying his behind; a separate imagined sequence shows a man having sex with another man (no outright nudity). * Language: Everything from “bi-ch,” “wh-re,” and “a--hole” to "f--k" and "c--t." * Consumerism: Some product placement, including InTouch magazine; comic book-series name-dropping. * Drinking, drugs, & smoking: A man shoots a girl up with drugs. Friends pass a bong around. One of the supporting characters is a drug dealer.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bykhan2705 June 22, 2011

a bad uneven violent dark comedy .... its a below average movie.

In the outlandish dark comedy SUPER, James Gunn has created what is perhaps the definitive take on self-reflexive superheroes. When sad-sack loser Frank (Rainn Wilson) sees his ex-addict wife (Liv Tyler) willingly snatched by a seductive drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself bereft and wholly unable to cope. But soon he decides to fight back under the guise of a DIY superhero called Crimson Bolt. With a hand-made suit, a wrench, and a crazed sidekick named Boltie (Ellen Page), the Crimson Bolt beats his way through the mean streets of crime in hopes of saving his wife. The rules were written a long time ago: You are not supposed to molest children, cut lines or key cars; if you do, prepare to face the wrath of the Crimson Bolt! No stranger to rebel filmmaking, James Gunn cut his teeth writing for Troma before making his directing debut with 2006's SLITHER. In a similar vein, his follow-up feature combines absurd humor with balls-out violence to create something that is both unashamed and inimitable. But this time Gunn adds a new ingredient, one that is dark, dramatic and subversive to the core. what was that? what did i just saw? a really weird movie. yes. this movie started like a cult comedy feel but it ended up bad. everything in this movie was just so all over the place. its a off beat indie dark comedy that ends up quite silly. i think the director and the writers didn't handled it quite well. there are some scenes that will be like totally insanely crazy. Rainn Wilson as Frank is a guy his wife leaves him, he is a bit of loser like, he gets visions, becomes a superhero with no powers but costumes and starts fighting crime by hitting criminals over their heads. he is joined by a girl Boltie played by my favorite Ellen Page she becomes his sidekick. Frankie's Wife Sarah played by Liv Tyler is with the bad guy Jacques played by Kevin Bacon who is druging her. they end up doing what they wanted but ending has a bit of twist. Directed by James Gunn who is unknown to me. this movie could have been good but the director didn't handled it quite well, it ends up going in opposite directions. so below average direction. screenplay had flaws it wasn't tight but very loose and hollow. story was nice a Kick Ass-ish. everything else was okay. i would say NOT RECOMMENDED, you may find it a bit well but i didn't liked it. the movie is also quite graphic with extreme violent and bloody scenes. some gross humor. it doesn't end up as dark comedy, a small wannabe superhero movie, an off beat comedy or a cult movie but it ends up as a confused all over the place weird movie. i didn't liked it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking