Brightburn Review

Relatively spoiler free review here – though if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the film.

This is a Superman film for a post/during-Trump world, one that’s seen the rise of populism and the far right over the last few years, a nihilistic film that holds out no real promise for us. I don’t mean it’s promoting any of those ideas – it’s not – but it can be read as a miserable take on the Superman origin which, arguably, can be seen as a reflection of the times we live in.

This is almost an Elseworlds Superman story – a baby is found in a spacecraft by a childless Kansas couple and raised into a 12 year old, happy go lucky kid who’s a little odd – he’s intelligent and intense and doesn’t mix well with other kids – but is otherwise normal. Until, that is, the craft he arrived in sends out some subconscious command that he take the world. Soon after that, he’s developing a standard set of powers (super speed, heat vision, flight) but rather than fight for truth, justice and the American way, he’s using them for his own ends.

The film’s quite predictable and holds no real surprises in terms of plot . . . but it is sort of interesting when viewed as a film of the current times. Is this the Superman film this generation, this time deserves? If Kal-El had arrived in that spaceship twelve years ago and looked at the world now, would he behave like this, despite the loving family he grew up with? It’s hard to answer that as the film puts a fair bit of emphasis on the spaceship waking up and triggering him; had that not happened, maybe things would have been different. It’s not brilliant, but it was interesting.

As Mrs Earth-Prime said as we left the screen, “Was that film made by Lex Luthor?”

2 thoughts on “Brightburn Review

  1. The missus isn’t wrong with that assessment. It really is a sign of the times that this type of movie with a dark twist on a beloved superhero and his origin exists. Should it? That’s not for me to say. I mean I guess it has its place, especially for non-comic book fans or casual superhero movie goers, but for me, it’s just a disturbing continuation of a dark trend by certain creators who look and feel like they grow up on the grim and gritty era of comics in the late 80’s and never seemed to grasp the deeper meaning behind WHY comics went in that direction. Or maybe not, after all the reason why those comics exist is because they’re a reflection of the times, much like these modern dark takes are.
    Do I personally like it? No. I feel Zack Snyder’s to blame for this new wave of dark, cynical takes on our beloved heroes that were always supposed to be bright spots meant to inspire hope, not try so hard to look cool and dark and brooding vigilantes.
    Oh and as fellow blogger Mark Brett pointed out, it seems Gunn and the other writers seemed to take HUGE inspiration from Rick Veitch’s Maximortal, especially when as he also pointed out that evil superboy’s mask is just a rip-off/inspired directly by the villain Dr. Blasphemy from his Brat Pack series.

    I can safely say I’ll be skipping this one.


    1. I don’t know Maximortal so couldn’t pick up any references/rip-offs from it.

      I’m with you on the whole Zack Snyder/dark heroes thing. I hated Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman because it wasn’t the Superman that I knew or cared about. They didn’t get rid of Snyder soon enough for my liking; the damage was already done.

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