I didn’t really see any trailers for this movie, so the only reason I knew it existed was because of Rainn Wilson‘s Twitter. Based on the pictures he had posted and after reading a brief synopsis of what this movie was about, I wasn’t really interested….at all. It seemed to be too similar in style to bullshit like Juno and Youth in Revolt, neither of which I liked, and now it was about superheroes and comic books, so I was avoiding it at all costs. Add to that the fact that Ellen Page, Juno herself, was in this movie, there was no way I wouldn’t hate this movie. However, upon further investigation, seeing James Gunn‘s involvement piqued my interest, because he did such an awesome job with the script for Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, how could I not go see this? Well, I did watch the trailer first, and it looked kind of funny, so I went and checked it out.
That’s right, beware of that thing that looks like a character from Homestar Runner.
Rainn Wilson plays Frank D’Arbo, a guy who seems to be locked in contempt with his life. In hopes of starting his days off better, he illustrates the two most “perfect” moments of his life, which are when he got married to his wife and when he helped direct police to where a criminal had just run to. Shortly after making these drawings, his wife, played by Liv Tyler, disappears, apparently because she now loves Jacques, played by Kevin Bacon. Clearly Frank was already disturbed and was teetering on the brink of sanity, and this pushes him over the edge. With the desire to take down Jacques, and after having strange visions involving a Christ-like superhero, played by Nathan Fillion, Frank decides to become a superhero named the Crimson Bolt. Not having any superpowers, Frank goes to the local comic book store to do some research on heroes without powers, which is where he meets Libby, played by Ellen Page, who helps guide him in his quest for knowledge. He settles upon a monkey wrench as his weapon of choice, yet the public starts to see him as a menace, rather than a hero, after constantly sending people to the intensive care unit, without anyone claiming he does this for justice. Frank tries to discard the Crimson Bolt and leave that part of him behind, but another vision encourages to get his wife back, and he teams up with Libby, now known as his sidekick “Bolty” to take down Jacques. I’m just going to leave it there, because I’m sure you can find out for yourself what happens after that if you don’t feel like seeing it.
As if Hit Girl didn’t make enough people feel awkward with the whole female superhero thing, you guys just had to go and perpetuate the awkwardness? Damn you.
I am so glad that I wasn’t excited for this movie, because going in with these low expectations, combined with having no preconceived notion of what the movie would be like, helped me enjoy it more thoroughly. I expected something similar to Juno, and although there were elements of this movie that were similar, mostly just in the aesthetic feeling of some scenes, it seems as though those scenes were used to juxtapose everything else that happens. Frank was clearly a depressed psychotic who thought he could get away with bashing strangers’ brains open with a monkey wrench, yet he didn’t realize the severity of his actions until some of the final scenes of the movie. In the trailers, the violence is used for a cartoonish and comedic effect which, once again, just kind of contradicted other parts of the movie, but in an enjoyable way. For example, there is a scene where Frank confronts two individuals who cut in line at the movies, and we see Frank try to handle it as Frank, and fail, only to go to his car, change into his Crimson Bolt outfit, and then came back to repeatedly smash a man in the forehead with a monkey wrench, and when his date tries to stop him, he lets her have it as well. I was nervous of Ellen Page’s involvement, but this role was quite different from what I anticipated. She did play the cool, cute “indie” chick, but when you got a glimpse into her psychotic tendencies, all those quirks to her personality made her seem all that much darker. Admittedly not the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but it was definitely a more realistic, at least mentally and emotionally, interpretation of the concept of why real people don’t ever try to be superheroes. Good luck convincing these people that it’s a bad idea.
Wolfman Moon Scale