“Brightburn is a more serious version of one of the parody movies from the mid-2000s like the Scary Movie franchise.”
Brightburn is a new horror film that sets its sights on subverting the expectations of superhero movies by asking the question: What if one of these heroes wanted to be bad? Unfortunately, this clever idea for a movie sputters with its point on several occasions and leans more heavily on delivering gore via a 12 year old Superman.
Brightburn is a more serious version of one of the parody movies from the mid-2000s like the Scary Movie franchise. Instead of going for laughs on purpose is generally rehashes the story of Superman, in this story a young boy named Brandon. As a baby he crash lands at a family farm and is raised by his parents who begin to realize he has abilities. Those parents are played by Elizabeth Banks and Roy from The Office who both put in performances that are way better than they needed to be in this kind of a movie. The young boy grows up and reaches the age of 12 and puberty or something else causes him to start acting up in school. Conveniently, his parents kept his spaceship locked in the barn and he keeps going to it in the middle of the night.
The movie really takes off if you can set aside any reasonable plot questions and focus on the creepy factor of young Brandon and the great use of special effects. Brandon’s only real weakness appears to be his fear of his parents finding out about the things he is doing so naturally everyone who crosses him or tells on him ends up dead in a rather enjoyable horror scene. He also begins to sign his kills with a weird symbol that looks like two Bs… his initials. Finally, we get to a finale that reminded me of The Good Son where parents face off with their evil child.
Brightburn takes absolutely no time to explore any themes about parenting, revenge, puberty, etc. that all seem ripe for the picking throughout the story. This is a real shame because when you’re caught between a parody and an homage you end up not finding your footing on any of the real story elements or characters. What truly could have been an interesting movie about what a superhero really is, settles to be a representation of a late night conversation you have with your friends over a beer when one of you says, “What if Superman was a real jerk as a kid?” Like all movies in 2019 this movie wouldn’t be able to get to through the credits without opening up sequel possibilities so buckle up everyone, if this movie is a hit Brightburn 2: Brighter & Burnier is going to be here in 2021.