Beyond good and evil.
Brightburn is a romance gone wrong with the American Dream. It’s all inverted, even Kansas and that mask; intimidating, especially on a twelve-year-old (Jackson A. Dunn as Brandon Beyer). The film is basically an Ultraman (a supervillain in an alternative comic-book reality, introduced in Justice League of America # 29) horror story, with similarities to our very own all American, good samaritan Superman (complete to rescuing cats stuck on trees), however, those are being deconstructed once the twelve-year-old has become self-conscious and fully cognizant of the immense superpowers he possesses; the powers of flight, superhuman strength, x-ray vision, heat vision, cold breath, super-speed, enhanced hearing, and nigh-invulnerability. All that cogency is being put to morbid use, and why not; not everyone has Kevin Costner, Brando, and Kurt Rusell as father figures to guide the alien in the ways of human sensibilities, the right snd wrong seem to perish when the power levels are so mighty that the concept of answering to a God becomes almost laughable.
Clark Kent keeps it buried inside, he remains low-key only to use the god-like powers to help humanity even when they’re against him (he’s seriously one bonafide farm boy) and remains to be a good humanoid because of the efficiently suitable upbringing, at the farm and then at the Fortress of Solitude. However not this Brandon brat. The minute he finds out what he’s capable of, all hell breaks loose.
This superhero flick does not shy away from graphic violence, and I mean some serious mind-altering gore and hard-earned stoicism, even maybe at the cause of sufferance. However, the film could’ve been much darker in its setup, as such film-resolution warrants, however, it does succeed in the subversion of the superhero genre/mythology, like Netflix’s The Boys. to please those looking for a new group of antiheroes that can be cheered at, notwithstanding the violent delights and willingness to engage in heavy, unethical, egotistical intentions.
What if cool hand Luke had a change of heart and ran into a certain unfortunate someone in need of a seat belt made of metal bars and a lot of face reconstruction? And keep in mind the segment from Superman II, 1980, when he gets angry and drunk? Well, let’s just say this kid has it right this time and maybe he should take the mother (you’ll see).
This irreverent, darkly delightful and cynical film makes all of the intentions clear in short order by subverting the expectations of the family-friendly genre, with dark twists and unapologetically graphic scenes. Of plot, there is enough and this is a horror film based on the Superman lore so what did you expect, a back story? Brandon is not at all conflicted and, as noted above, he is fully aware that humans and their sophisticated weapons cannot do shit to him, so he goes out and unleashes teenage rage, this is in addition to the hormonal short-temperedness of a teenager coming of age (with the alien ship calling out to him); extremely deadly and beyond the grasp of an unassuming diner attendant.
Brightburn rocks solid and is a definite must-see, despite a feeling of being cheated by stripping it away of certain crucial parts. However, if those had been included, the film would have become a first of many superheroes film, trying a hand at deviant superhero play. Nothing bad about it, but somethings are better off being wholesome and a relief from real life.
A must watch, only if to witness a popular genre evolving.
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