Shut up, Crime (and read this)

6 Apr

Yeah, I watched Super last week, but couldn’t bring myself to write a review: it’s good, but not really my sense of humour. Luckily, I went with a friend (who shall be known on this blog as SparklyCupcake, for now) and she wrote it for me.

It’s not that I’m slacking…it’s an optimal delegation of work. 🙂

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Have you ever dreamed of being a superhero? Of gliding through clouds like the man of steel, or smashing through walls like his green-skinned counterpart? Their tales are fantastic and larger than life and understandably alluring. After all, who wouldn’t want a utility-belt full of crime-fighting wonders?

If you ask me, that list of people is a lot longer than it should be. To borrow an oft-quoted phrase from a movie that frequents late-nights on cable channels: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

And I’m not entirely convinced that most people who dream of karate-chopping faceless thugs who steal old ladies’ purses could shoulder that responsibility. The dark knight may possess the gritty resolve to hide in the shadows until he’s convinced that the men he’s observing on the seedy docks of the outer city deserve it, but most of us aren’t so blessed.

Maybe like Frank D’Arbo, your patience will be tested by a couple who cuts in front of you at the movie theater. Peter Parker may have looked the other way but Frank (aptly portrayed by Rainn Wilson) feels the need to unleash the justice of his trusty wrench across their faces until their bloody penance streams down their faces. This is why you should watch this movie, not just to cast doubt on the fantasies you’ve been nurturing since childhood, but because it’s destined to be a cult classic.

"That'll do."

The director said he wrote the script many years ago but didn’t want to move ahead with the project until he found the right person to play Frank. But it’s hard to believe that the role wasn’t written with Rainn in mind: Frank completely embodies the earnest eccentricity that has made his Office character a household name. An introverted fry cook, Frank creates his superhero persona Crimson Bolt after avision strengthens his resolve to rescue his wife (Liv Tyler).

"Beware crime."

After he decides to fight evil, with his wife’s drug-dealing boyfriend at the top of the list, Crimson Bolt and his wrench begin to terrorize pedophiles and thieves across the city. Frank’s calm and self-aware narration provides a jarring contrast to the celebratory gore that is frequently splashed acrossthe screen. That’s the beauty of this movie though; it’s able to seamlessly encompass the extremes of slapstick comedy and heartbreaking loss without losing the audience. Although some of the violence isclearly gratuitous and you occasionally wonder if you can really root for a character like Frank, his single-minded determination to save his fallen angel keeps you loyal until the end.

"Come here. I want to try something."

Out of all the characters, Liv Tyler’s Sarah, was probably the least explored. Throughout the movie we’re reminded that she’s in need of rescue both from herself and those around her, but we’re not givenmuch else to work with. Perhaps it fit the movie’s purposes to have a stereotypical damsel in distress toembolden the hero. Or maybe we weren’t supposed to think about Sarah as much as we were supposedto focus on what Frank was driven to do for her.

Ellen Page’s character Boltie, the Crimson Bolt’s ‘kid sidekick’, isn’t as easy to quantify. A fumbling twenty-something with a superhero fetish, she immediately attaches herself to Frank upon learning his secret identity. Like many of us would be, she isn’t content waiting for crime to happen and is perfectly comfortable with brutally punishing the people she thinks deserve it. Her enthusiasm for explosives taking down bad guys is an odd match for her childlike energy and junior-high vernacular, butit’s just another example of the contrasts this story thrives off of. Her excitement is infectious, her transgressions are oddly forgivable, and she was easily my favorite character after Frank.

"What are those?" "Pipe bombs. I'm not sure I'm doing it right."

To briefly tie up some loose threads, there are many other things that made me love this movie. I haven’t seen a lot of Kevin Bacon flicks but this movie has made a fan out of me. He brought an undeniable swagger and complexity to a character that could have easily been a two-dimensional villain,like a modern-day Bowser. Also, it was evident that the soundtrack was carefully chosen and I think they generally made great decisions both with the titles and their placement. And finally, despite it all, this movie made me want to be a superhero. Apparently all it takes is the decision to fight evil and a bloody wrench.

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One Response to “Shut up, Crime (and read this)”

  1. The Menace April 7, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    I’m glad you wrote about this, because I was going to write an entry about why I was not going to watch it. I just can’t get over the fact that this movie is: Kick-Ass 2: The Red Mist, meets Juno: How I Lost That Pregnancy Fat

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