“Brightburn” Critic: If Superman was an A-boy

Is it a bird? Is it an airplane? No, it’s Superman – and he’s pissed off! “Brightburn” turns the classic superhero myth on its head and turns it into a blood-dripping horror thriller with tough scenes of violence. Whether the daring experiment has succeeded, we tell you in our criticism.

  • Only save the world for a short time? Nope!
  • Bloody than Wolverine after shaving
  • Lots of blood, too little courage
  • A sequel? Yes, please!
  • Conclusion

Only save the world for a short time? Nope!

Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” have done it and the “Umbrella Academy” on Netflix also: The concept of the respectable, always fighting for the comic superhero times powerful blown and demystified. Meanwhile, the topic has been illuminated from every conceivable angle. With one exception: There was never a real, true horror movie with superhero impact – until now.


Bright Burn

Sony Pictures Entertainment Germany GmbH 2019

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True, this costume design is not, but just scary.

Stop me, if you have heard this story before: A couple in the rural outskirts of the United States one day finds a baby who literally fell from the sky. The worm looks human, but is obviously an alien. Anyway, the nice couple, misses the boy a human name and surname and pulls him as an orphan with him. But the boy can no longer deny his extraterrestrial origin at the latest with the onset of puberty: he is superhumanly strong, almost invulnerable and he can fly too.

But now comes the twist. While Clark Kent aka Superman becomes the protector of humankind, who always has only good things in mind, Brendon Breyer aka Brightburn is the exact opposite: a psychopathic killer with an innocent angelic face, a miniature time bomb driven by blood thirst and violence. His ruthlessness does not stop at friends and even his own family – wherever Brightburn goes (or flies), he leaves behind dead people.


Bright Burn

Sony Pictures Entertainment Germany GmbH 2019

fullscreen

It starts quite harmless with a few sheet metal damage …

Not the worst starting point for a subversive horror movie that gives both the superhero genre and the Slasher some fresh impetus. In the American reviews, however, “Brightburn” fell largely and the attendance was disappointing. The verdict is spoken: “Brightburn” is a flop. I can join the squad of complainers but limited: No, really outstanding “Brightburn” is not. But with the snotty genre mix I had a lot of fun. And: I really want to know how it goes!

Bloody than Wolverine after shaving

Perhaps the biggest problem of the film: he dares, but he dares not enough. On the one hand, he does not sting with blood, shows us hair-raising brutal death scenes and holds it in particularly nasty sequences mercilessly on it (two keywords: “broken glass” and “eye”). Although these tempests never reach the intensity and frequency of a typical torture porn, but who here only expected pleasant shiver and only implied physicality, could well suffer a moderate trauma: “Brightburn” pulls through.


Bright Burn

Sony Pictures Entertainment Germany GmbH 2019

fullscreen

The more brutal Brightburn becomes, the more he loses his humanity.

Lots of blood, but not enough courage

On the other hand, the really original story gets in the way of a rather conventional staging. Scary movie-typical jumpscares, hundreds of views and the same antics are always tiresome horror fans, who see through all these tricks after the first few minutes of filming. A character hears a noise, turns around slowly, there is no one, he breathes and wants to go out of the picture – and screaming, Brightburn jumps out of the darkness and it gets VERY LOUD. Predictable. Lame. And finally, especially disappointing, because the producer here was “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, whose filthy, surreal grotesque “Super” showed just nine years ago how to turn the round-brimmed superhero myth right on the left.

“Brightburn” only lasts 90 minutes, but splatters too many with variations of the same “Buh!” Frightening sequence. Too bad, because with a crisp script and tighter staging the positive qualities of the film might have caused more favor with the audience. David Denman and especially Elizabeth Banks as the daddy and Mommy of the alien serial killer convince as refreshingly normal average types who shut their eyes from the misunderstanding of parental love for too long before the real horror they have unleashed on humanity.


Bright Burn

Sony Pictures Entertainment Germany GmbH 2019

fullscreen

Maybe it was not so bad as a childless couple.

A sequel? Yes, please!

Also – and this is perhaps the biggest and most surprising praise ever – I want Brightburn to continue. Nowadays, a mushy mass of sequels, prequels, reboots and remakes spills over everything. And if I only hear “Cinematic Universe”, I get my pulse. We suffocate in serial mass production, which should only let the cash register ring.

But “Brightburn” finally got me in the end: not only that the last settings are nice macabre, the barely veiled hint of a possible sequel at the very end is here for once really credible and reasonably consistent. How would the world react if we actually had a near-omnipotent super-being in our ranks who is far from well-intentioned? And worse, if it’s not the only one of its kind …?


Bright Burn

Sony Pictures Entertainment Germany GmbH 2019

fullscreen

Against this villain even the super-nanny would have bad cards.

Conclusion: Dear Metzel as Marvel

Too bad that we will probably never know, because as described above, went this bloody, black-humorous kick in the buttocks of Marvel, DC and Co. at the box office quite under. No, I can not pronounce an unqualified recommendation, but gives away this lifeblood project but too much of its potential. But if you tick like me, if you prefer a non-round, fundamentally successful fantasy horror thriller for adults, than for the umpteenth time some soulless blockbuster quark that you have already half forgot the credits – then give “Brightburn ” a chance.

Or how many other origin stories do you know that have a body count of several hundred people …?

Release date

“Brightburn” starts on June 20, 2019 in German cinemas.