Over at 24 Frames, our sister blog, Mark Olsen writes about the first flight of “Super,” the off-kilter superhero movie that screened Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here’s an excerpt…
On Friday night in Toronto, the Ryerson was again hopping with a long line of people waiting for the world premiere of “Super” in the Midnight Madness slot. With a healthy turnout of eager industry buyers as well — some already grumbling about the films they’d seen so far — the scene meant that this year’s festival was in full swing.
Just before the screening began, writer-director James Gunn said, “Let’s see something different.” He wasn’t kidding around.
It’s different all right, an alternately wild and moody film that is equal parts love story, portrait of mental instability and raucous comic-book-inspired action picture. The story follows a sad-sack diner cook named Frank (Rainn Wilson) who in the aftermath of being left by his wife (Liv Tyler) feels himself touched by the finger of God and called to create a crime-fighting alter-ego known as The Crimson Bolt. Armed with a pipe-fitting wrench, a homemade costume and his own psychotic convictions — “Shut up, crime” is one of his battle calls — he begins attacking drug dealers, child molesters and people who butt in line at the movies. Along the way he picks up an excitable comic-store clerk (Ellen Page) as his friend and eventual sidekick.
Both Wilson and Page give performances that are distinctly different from those for which they are best known. Wilson gives a much deeper and more soulful turn than one might expect from his comically stoic part as a paper salesman on the television show “The Office.” Here he seems like a guy on the verge of cracking up, or perhaps someone well past that point, a mix of desperation and willpower that is often more unnerving than straight-ahead comedic…
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– Mark Olsen
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