Movie Review: Brightburn (2019)

Directed by David Yarovesky, produced by James Gunn and written by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, Brightburn is a 2019 superhero horror origin story. Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) are having trouble conceiving when they discover a space ship in their Kansas farm’s back yard, containing an infant they name Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). As Brandon grows up, he begins noticing his female classmates in new ways, and starts going through changes… such as discovering he is invulnerable to damage and has super strength.

+ even without the obvious ‘baby in the backyard’ stuff, I really enjoyed the less obvious Superman parallels. This really is a modern version of a comic book origin, like Man of Steel, it just so happens that this time it’s a villain
+ both Banks and Denman were great as the super boy’s parents. Banks in particular really nailed the various stages any parents would go through as their child showed these traits. Brandon’s classmate Caitlyn Connor (Emmie Hunter) was also enjoyable as a sort of anti-Lana Lang or Gwen Stacy expy
+ one of the main things I can’t stand is eye-trauma, and there is a hell of a scene in this movie that ticks that box. It’s been a while since I had to watch a movie through my fingers, but this was it. Aside from that, there are some really explicit moments of horror-movie gore (which I had no issue watching, and enjoying)
+ when it wants to be, the film is quite scary. It is easy to forget this is technically a horror movie

– there are a lot of unanswered questions, potentially being saved for a sequel or prequel in some form, but as a standalone entry, it feels slightly unfinished. Even a moment in the credits hints at a much larger story to tell, but we’ll have to wait and see if it gets fleshed out

> looking through James Gunn’s list of directing/writing credits on Wikipedia, it occurs to me there is not a movie he has been involved in in that capacity that I didn’t enjoy. Super, Slither, both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and The Belko Experiment were all good in their own ways, and any negatives were hardly his fault
> it’s just not a James Gunn movie without a Michael Rooker cameo

Should you see this film: Overall, I did enjoy this. I was glad it wasn’t an explicit ‘Superman, but he’s EVIL’ movie, but you’ll notice the very clear parallels, at least until the two-third mark, when it suddenly proves to be something much more. Fans of the comic book movie style will enjoy this, and horror movie fans will get some enjoyment out of it, but if you don’t fall into either of those groups, then there might not be enough on offer for you.

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