I think it’s about time to get back into review form. Might as well write about a movie I was heavily looking forward to. With an onslaught of superhero media hoisted upon us every single day, I was looking forward to a different take on the genre. It is directed by David Yarovesky and The Gunn brothers, both of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. Yarovesky also directed The Hive (2014) which is a pretty cool horror movie as well.
Everyone knows the story of Superman by now, Brightburn gives us a different view. What if Superman wasn’t raised properly? What if he never received the proper teachings. We end up with a superhero film that does not feel like anything else we’ve watched. While it does not always execute properly, it’s worth watching. Let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t.
Elizabeth Banks (30 Rock, Lego Movie, Love and Mercy) and David Denman (Logan Lucky, 13 Hours) play a married couple, Tori and Kyle Breyer. Despite their efforts, Tori is unable to produce children but they are blessed when a spaceship crashes one night and they decided to adopt the baby. As you’ve summised, they are no Ma and Pa Kent. They name their new child Brandon, and things are good…for awhile. The Breyers decide the best route to go is not tell their son about his true origins. All is well until his 12th birthday.
His crashed ship (which remains hidden in the barn), begins sending Brandon messages and then all hell brakes loose. It’s fun watching Brandon learn to misuse his powers in ways we’re not accustomed, a nice twist on the standard origin story which we’ve seen dozens of times by now. Once Tori finally reveals the truth to Brandon it is too late and then the carnage truly begins.
Once the rampage begins, the movie plays out like a slasher movie. As a huge fan of the genre, I found this delightful. Brandon had a couple kills that would have Freddy, Jason, and Michael nodding in satsifaction. Especially the brutualness of killing Noah and Erica. My word. I even flinched a bit. Bravo Brandon, bravo. It is enjoyable seeing Superman’s powers used in non-traditional ways. Unfortunately, some of the punch from this movie is lessened a bit after watching the near perfect season of The Boys on Amazon Prime. But the satisfaction you’ll get is still there.
Unfortuantely, much like my beloved slasher genre there are underdeveloped parts of the movie that keep it from an elevated status. What makes a great villain is a great backstory. There isn’t enough of it at all in Brightburn. While I get leaving stuff to the imagination, some type of story development goes a long way. Where did Brandon come from? What was with the messages being sent to him? Other than being “trouble” in their younger days why were the Breyers not fit to be parents? Just a little bit of information goes a long way and I think Brightburn could’ve benefitted from it.
Jackson A. Dunn rightfully steals the show as Brandon Breyer. He’s convincing both as an innocent, fun loving child and as an unstoppable terror. He is genuinely creepy at points, especially with the mask. Speaking of his outfit, my Alien infused brain couldn’t keep seeing the Space Jockey in his mask. Anyone else?
Overall, I found Brightburn enjoyable despite it’s a lack of depth. A superhero slasher is a genre I can get behind.
Rating: 7 out of 10 mangled innocents