Sunday, April 17, 2011

Super (Rhoades)

“SUPER” Is A Wannabe Hero 

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

From my days as publisher of Marvel Comics, I happen to know that Marvel and DC Comics share the trademark on the term “superhero.”

So the new comedy at the Tropic Cinema about a guy who turns himself into a comic-book-style superhero is simply called “SUPER.”

This wannabe hero is a poor schlub (Rainn Wilson of “The Office”) whose wife (Liv Tyler, daughter of the Aerosmith lead singer) leaves him for a sleazy drug dealer (Kevin Bacon, the Six Degrees actor). So he dons a red suit and calls himself “The Crimson Bolt,” vowing to put the drug dealer out of business. He gets a sidekick when a clerk (diminutive Ellen Page) in a local comic book store becomes “Boltie.”
Director-writer James Gunn got his start with Lloyd Kaufman’s low-budget Troma Entertainment, where he wrote and co-directed a horror version of Shakespeare’s play, a cult classic called “Tromeo and Juliet.” After writing scripts for such Hollywood silliness as “Scooby-Doo,” he got to direct “Slither,” a theatrical bomb that showed later popularity in DVD rentals.

He penned the script for “SUPER” nearly a decade ago, but couldn’t get it made until his ex-wife Jenna Fischer introduced him to her co-star on “The Office,” Rainn Wilson. Seems that Wilson was bankable.
That low-rent school of filmmaking exemplified by Troma Entertainment is evident in “SUPER” when compared to those big-budget CGI-laden blockbusters from Marvel and DC/Warner Bros. I once talked with Lloyd Kaufman about buying Troma, for I admired its schlocky derring-do and creative horror films like “Toxic Avenger.” Nothing happened, but it was fun looking inside this indie production company.

Gunn may be proof that Kaufman’s Troma is turning out talented filmmakers the way Roger Corman’s American International productions launched Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme, and John Sayles – not to mention Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, and Robert De Niro.
“SUPER” may remind you of that recent caped-crusader spoof, “Kick-Ass.” Yes, everybody wants to be a superhero. Just don’t tell the lawyers at Marvel and DC.

No comments: