When James Gunn writes a script, let alone directs the movie too, we get interested. His upcoming film Super, starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page, plays with the superhero genre. While we hope it gets a bigger audience than his monster movie Slither, if it's got half as much perspective on the caped-crime-fighter genre as his homage to '50s monster movies, it will be a must-see film next year.
Don't worry if the premise of Super sounds a lot like Kick-Ass, the Matthew Vaughn-directed adaptation of the Mark Millar comic book. Wilson plays a regular Joe who dons a costume to fight crime, only he has no superpowers. In Kick-Ass, a teenager does the same thing, although the teen gets brutally hurt in a world full of vulgar, ultraviolent characters.
The difference, says Page, is that Super exists in our world. "It's actually really based in reality, and a really grounded screenplay," Page told a group of reporters last week in Hollywood, where she was promoting the film Whip It. "It's about if someone in just a really raw way was, like, 'I'm going to be a superhero.' And that's who Rainn plays."
Many would-be comedies have failed at making worlds of superheroes funny. Take our word for it on Superhero Movie and Super Capers. In addition to analyzing the place of Everyman heroes in our world, Gunn also has the fanboy cred to deliver a truer homage than the Scary Movie/Epic Movie/Disaster Movie crowd. "Oh yeah, nothing like those," Page said. "Very dark humor. James Gunn knows his s--t."
One common thread of great superhero movies is the social allegory. We all know we have to be as accountable as Peter Parker, even if we don't have awesome spider powers with which to deliver justice. And mutants are a metaphor for minorities. So too does Super deal with the impact of upstart heroes in human society.
"James Gunn's script is very much like just if you decided to be a superhero and did what superheroes do, but basically your weapon's a lead pipe," Page said. "Like, what [would] people think?"
Super is reportedly beginning production in December.