Reviews Brightburn 1 Star Simon Abrams May 24, 2019
- Brightburn movie review & film summary (2019) | Roger Ebert
"Brightburn" is a body-count-style horror movie, only featuring a killer Superma—I mean young Clark Ke—I mean pre-teen alien who closely resembles a certain super-duper-hero who can't seem to catch a break in recent films.
The Bad Plot
The movie starts in a small town in the Midwest that isn't Smallville, called Brightburn, Kansas hence the film's title. Two people who don't have a child see a spaceship crash, and if you've read or watched Superman, you know the rest. Long story short, he becomes evil and a creepy pervert with serial killer stuff on his walls. However, it's thought that a signal from the ship he landed in has made him evil, and not because he's just a Michael Myers clone, but the writers do give him the name Brandon Byers, so he probably is just a clone.
This film is disappointing as a horror film because all the characters aren't well-conceived and don't come off as relatable or understandable. It also fails as a meaningful deconstruction of Superman, it's no Superman Red Son or Superman: Speeding Bullets both are well-crafted stories where we see the nature vs nurture dynamic interestingly and uniquely conveyed. Superman is not Michael Myers, who is evil just because he is more like a dark violent force of nature, more so than a human being or character. The naturally evil character who follows his nature and kills people is a very interesting choice for an antagonist, however, if you're going to deconstruct Superman into a horror movie villain you should do it in a way that is meaningful otherwise it comes off as just a way to cash in on the popularity of the character or that the writer or writers just have nothing new to say.
Everyone who wants to be subversive in superhero storytelling tries to be the next Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns of superhero movies or other storytelling media, however, most of the time it feels dated and dumb like 'The Boys' in which everyone is a violent psychopath with no real character motivation or meaningful consequences. Something that ends with people being killed for no reason other than the writer thought it would be cool and edgy because he hates superheroes for no real defined reason. Brightburn has an even worse father figure for Superman than in Zach Snyder's 'Man of Steel' who tells a young Superman that he shouldn't save people and should just let them die, in this one the father is distant and cold and feels like an average absent father. The mother is supporting and wants her son to be good but still comes across as a little flat.
Later after a montage of home videos we see the young Clark Kent or Brandon Byers as he is called, so they don't have to pay to use the character of Superman, is called to by a strange voice telling him to be evil. He then begins acting strangely and is attracted to a young girl who is at first nice to him in his class, but he then begins stalking her and creeps her out and she calls him a pervert. So, because a girl he likes calls him creepy, he starts killing people, and his father begins to suspect that he's evil. However, his mother denies everything because she doesn't want to believe her son is evil, but then the father finds proof, and yet she still doesn't believe it. Then it is discovered that Brightburn boy can be injured by his spaceship, which comes into play later. Later the dad tries to kill psycho Superboy by shooting him but fails and is killed. Then mom finally believes her son is evil and tries to trick him, to get close and stab him with a piece of his spaceship, but he doesn't fall for it and kills her.
Brightburn Boy kills his parents and everyone else in town, all because a girl he liked rejected him, even though it was supposed to be the spaceship that made him evil, I don't know it is now very well explained. The problems with modern horror movies are; there is no likable protagonist, and the villain is comically overpowered and can outsmart and kill everyone with ease, so the villain is just a Mary sue instead of the absent protagonist. And the movies are thus completely boring because you don't care what happens to anyone since no one is likable or relatable. On top of that, being a terrible horror film, this film also must again ruin Superman for what, the fifth time in 15 years.
A Worse Superman Movie than both 'Man of Steel' and 'Batman v Superman'
After making the cinematic turds known colloquially as Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 and producing Infinity War, James Gunn delivers another turd onto the doorstep of Hollywood. This time James Gunn and his two brothers take the story of Superboy and turn him into a slasher movie villain, something which was been done before in the Zack Snyder Man of Steel films. Except in those films, he didn't wear a stupid mask, he just wore an ugly muted costume, and he didn't kill as many people when he was a child, but more so as an adult. The film is also directed by David Yarovesky, who you can also thank for this terrible film, and his visual style just looks like a cheap dumb modern B-horror movie.
Anyway, the movie sucks the Gunn’s just take the origin story of Superman and mix it with Friday the 13th and other slasher movies, in the most ridiculous uninspired horror movie I've seen all year. So instead of instilling fear in you, you'll be laughing out loud at how stupid this movie is. Now maybe if James Gunn wasn't out of ideas, he wouldn't just steal two separate ideas and mash them together in a slightly less than mediocre fashion. There is a difference between parody and satire; parody is often done in reverence and is done in a loving comedic fashion, satire is just complete mockery and disdain, and this movie is a mockery in of itself, as well as Superman, and horror films.
Superman is not a dumb slasher villain, like Jason Voorhees, Superman is meant to represent the best in humanity, he doesn't just stop supervillains and terrorists, he also makes time to stop and help a depressed girl from taking that last step over the edge. Superman is more human than inhuman unlike most people even when he is raised by an evil tyrant or witnesses his parents being killed in front of him in an alternate universe, he eventually finds it in himself to become a symbol of hope. Stop trying to make Superman into Batman, it might have been novel at first to see a fallen Superman, but now it's just getting old. It doesn't make Superman more interesting, like mouth breathing morons on the internet keep telling everyone.
Superman was based on the idea of a man with moral superiority who was above the petty politics and religion of the world who just did the right thing and who is not biased, he is just a moral good. The super in Superman comes not from his powers, but from his ability to do the right thing, thus Superman can no longer be called Superman when he kills innocent people, he is just a violent thug or a stupid B-movie slasher villain like he is in James Gunn's waste matter film.
Brightburn review: a gory, nihilistic tale about bad superheroes
- Brightburn review: a gory, nihilistic tale about the bad boy of superheroes
“When superheroes go bad” is an established meme; remember Superman III (1983), when Christopher Reeve became an unshaven mean machine, leaving Clark Kent in the dust? Brightburn, David Yarovesky’s new horror film, posits a Superman-like character...