DC Comics have touched on the idea of an evil Superman in many different ways, from comic book sagas to the film Batman vs Superman. Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent is sent to Earth in a space ship by his parents who live on the alien planet Krypton, and he becomes the caped crusader of the Earth, doing good deeds and fighting off the injustice of the world.
But what if he actually went evil instead?
Warning: Spoilers ahead
This is the take of Superman in the 2019 horror film Brightburn. Starring Elizabeth Banks, David Denman and Jackson A. Dunn, Brightburn takes on the Superman mythos and turns it on it head, introducing a sweet, very intelligent boy named Brendan Beyers. With the tagline of the movie being “What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?” Brightburn lives up to evil Superman idea in a tremendous way!
Years after his crash landing to Earth and being taken in by a rural couple in America, Brendan Beyers starts exhibiting sinister behaviour around the time of puberty which turns him into a vicious super-powered killing machine. Identifying Brendan as a twisted, dark version of Superman born from the death of the values that the original one embodied, Brendan embarks on his super-powered mission to “take the world” and begins by seeking revenge on those that have wronged or angered him, including a girl from school, her mother, his uncle and his father.
As Brendan seeks his revenge, the creep-factor and the gore get higher and higher with prolonged scenes of anguish making viewers extremely uncomfortable – especially because I walked into this movie thinking it was a thriller and not a horror! Seeing glass perpetrate an eyeball, and seeing her vision swimming in blood is extremely disturbing, and watching a man suffer a car crash that snaps his jaw off his face is so impactful as he struggles to keep the gory jaw on his face. It’s disturbing, utilising dark and sinister jump scares to impact the horror of the movie in a way that other horror movies are just unable to pull off. The elongated scenes make for the characters impending doom all the more horrific, and the filming process pulls each scene of gruesome reality into a dark and twisted world.
Jackson A. Dunn does a tremendous job portraying the character of Brendan as he moves from being intelligent young mumma’s boy to whispering possessed kid to evil psychopath, and Elizabeth Banks steals the show with her unending mother’s love and belief in her son.
For a horror movie that is based on Superman, Brightburn injects the right amount of pop culture into a terrifying movie, and it needs to be on everyone’s to watch list! Director David Yarovesky has announced that the universe of Brightburn will be expanded upon, and a sequel looks to be definitely on the way, so get in on the ground floor now!