We all know the age-old story. Alien-kid falls from the sky. Alien-kid gets discovered by family. Alien-kid grows up to be a superhero. But what if something else happened? What if this kid developed into something else? What if the kid used his powers for evil?
This is exactly what director, David Yarovesky, and writers, Brian and Mark Gunn, attempt to tackle with their new film, Brightburn. Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of Superman, so the idea of dealing up a new evil version isn't something I thought I needed. That being said, I do love Batman stories. I don't love Batman per see, but his evil cast of criminals have always kept me returning to comics. Keeping that in mind, if anyone could pull off an intergalactic villain origin story, it'd put my money on James Gunn and family.
So, while we do get a super-hero type film, Brightburn, at its core, is a horror film. I've seen many complaints about this online, and I'd argue that this isn't a bad thing. Brightburn does borrow from Freddy and Jason to continue the tone throughout, but unlike other horror films that hit the cinema, Brightburn doesn't rely only on jump scares, instead we're on the edge of our seats because we’re wondering what damage Brandon, the villain, will deliver next.
We have direct homages, and I loved every second of it. Anything that called for the supernatural element gets lifted from Superman's mythos. While typically you'd see Superman lift a car to save someone, with Brightburn, you'll find exactly the opposite of that. Death scenes were brutal and well deserving of the R rating. If you weren't a fan of Brandon's slow turn to evil, at the very least, you could walk out of the theater having seen some masterful effect work, think Final Destination on steroids.
Another complaint I’ve encountered is, “Why reveal Brandon to be an alien so early?” I'll tell you why! Because my happy ass didn't want to sit through another Omen knock-off! I'm tired of some bullshit ass kid, doing some bullshit ass stuff and there not being a payoff. With Brightburn, at the very least we knew EXACTLY what we're getting going into. Sure, the reveal of him being an alien in the middle of the film would have been a hell of a reveal, but would I have seen the movie? Probably not.
The fact of the matter is that we're all still coming down from Endgame, and like me, a lot of people are tired of seeing the same run-of-the-mill evil kid movies. So, while yeah, the payoff would have been dope from the viewer's perspective, nobody would have been there to see it. I'd like to think that the end product is a compromise, and I'm happy with the handful of easter eggs that were left.
I also want to touch on this idea of the parents ruining the film. For many parents, raising a teen going through puberty is possibly the greatest challenge in parenthood. Try raising a teen that is being told destroy the world. Regardless of the situation, parents don't want to believe that it is their kid that is doing the bad. I mean, I have a kid, and when I mention to his Mom that he was good while she was at the store, she always responds, “Of course he was.” Yeah, to a parent, THEIR kid does no wrong. So, when the kid in Brightburn starts down the evil path, of course, the parents don't want to believe it! It just seemed normal to me. Perhaps the people that complained about this don't have kids or something, I don't know. It just seemed like an odd complaint.
In conclusion, Brightburn is a fantastic time at the movies. I loved every aspect of the film, and I'm happy to finally see a movie where the bad guy is not only the winner but the focus. Sure, it has its flaws, but in the end, I think the film did its job. Considering the film was made with ONLY 7 million bucks, I'd be curious to see what this team could do with more money. I've read that Vertigo has hired Brian and Mark to write for them, but I'm curious if it is a follow up to Brightburn or if it will be something completely separate. Either way, my wicked whistle is wet, and I'm now on the lookout for evil superhero comic books.