Author Topic: Brightburn - some spoilers  (Read 204 times)

Offline perc2100

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Brightburn - some spoilers
« on: May 31, 2019, 09:58:05 AM »
This isn't quite the "Super Villain Origin Story" you might be looking for: BRIGHTBURN is a horror/slasher film with a cool/fairly unique to the horror genre hook/gimmick.  This is a very important distinction that could lead to disappointment if fans are looking for a new "comic" type franchise.  As a horror/slasher movie fan myself, I feel like the trailers sell it as a slasher horror flick but we're in the age of comic book movies and it's easy to mix up expectations with this one.

Fans of slasher movies know the convention of the genres: the films are set up to make us not too sympathetic for the victims so we almost root for the killer.  There not often a lot of nuance, and often origins or whatnot are only broadly defined initially.  Often the victims are more caricatures or archetypes than fleshed out human beings, and usually the plot only exists to move us from one murder set-piece to the next.

BRIGHTBURN follows many of those conventions while playing in the superhero genre: the film subverts our expectations for comic movies by delivering a flat-out slasher film under the guise of a comic movie, while flat-out mimicking the comic genre.  The film feels like an "Upside Down" world version of the first act of SUPERMAN, and parallels the Superman origin well. 

As a horror fan, this is a fascinating enough concept for me to be all-in.  If I were strictly a comic fan, I think the film would be greatly lacking.

Like a lot of slasher films, the movie paints situations and characters in very broad strokes.  A happy couple is having problems conceiving a baby and find an infant inside a space craft looking thing that crashes on their farm that they decide to raise on their own.  Everything seems normal until the kid turns 12, and the something inside his spaceship "speaks" to him mentally: weird alien-esque voices/noises that we (and the kid, Brandon) realize translate to "Take The World."  From there preteen angst develops a body count.

The supporting characters are the typical archetypes: the loving mom who seemingly would do anything for her 'baby.'  The loving dad who acts like a typical male in these types of movies, a little too hard on the boy in times of stress, quickly changing attitude towards "this is an alien we have to tell people and get rid of it."  There's a girl Brandon has a crush on that dismisses him and he gets upset with a mom who really dislikes Brandon for multiple reasons: an overzealous uncle and his school counselor wife/sister of mom.

All the elements are there for a slasher film, and again, if that's your jam you'll probably enjoy this.  If you're not a horror fan and you're looking for a comic/dark superhero movie, this film could leave more questions than answers: more disappointment than enjoyment.

There are a lot of issues that the movie COULD have addressed more, if it wanted to be more than a horror movie.  There's a subtle hint of nature-vs-nurture, with a mix of toxic masculinity thrown in for good measure.  There's the thought that maybe the rest of this small town citizens know something is different with Brandon from the onset.  Of course, there's Brandon's origins that we know nothing about since the film is from the POV of the parents (the mom, mostly). 

The set-pieces are mostly at night with some nice bits of gore (particularly Brandon's uncle's demise is some nice makeup/CGI FX) and the acting is serviceable at least, with Elizabeth Banks in particular standing out as the mom.  Jackson Dunn does a good job of channeling Damian (from The Omen 2, in particular), and I wish he had more to do as far as the dichotomy between "I want to be a good kid" and "Take The World" destroyer.  Most of the supporting cast doesn't have a lot to do other than play to their archetypes.  Again, for a slasher film the characters do their jobs at the very least.

The movie seems like it's interested in delving into some of these topics, but is content to stick with the slasher genre.

Some folks will be frustrated with that: maybe moreso than will like it.  This is a solid slasher film IMO, and even sets up not only a BRIGHTBURN sequel but also an entire "dark superhero slasher" franchise with a Sub Mariner-type thing mentioned as well as a witchy Wonder-Woman-esque being.  I would return to this horror franchise in a heartbeat, even in comic form (which might give creators the opportunity and space to add depth to characters and the world).