Brightburn promised to show us what would happen if we got a Superman that was evil and they delivered. The Gunn’s definitely didn’t hold back on the gore in this one.
When I saw the first trailer for Brightburn I knew I had to see it. A horror movie where the villain has abilities? Superman if he had gone bad? How has this film not already been made? It is nice and sweet to make superhero movies but we know that people aren’t inherently good and that power corrupts. It’s naive to think that the majority of people who turned out to have abilities would use them for good. Brightburn explores that idea.
Brightburn follows the Breyer family as they raise Brandon after finding him in their field one day. Things are fine until he reaches the age of 12 and then weird things start happening. The kid is an alien and he may not have been sent here for good.
I really can’t say more than that without threatening to ruin the experience.
Brightburn has a lot of similarities to The Prodigy. I liked the movie and the family dynamic is similar: scared dad, protective mom. It was way more graphic than I expected but overall, I really enjoyed it.
The parents in the movie are played by Elizabeth Banks (Hunger Games) and David Denman (The Office). The couple has trouble conceiving and then one day something crashes in their backyard. They don’t waste a ton of time on them finding the kid or the kid growing up. We see this through home videos. From there we see Denman’s Kyle Bryer working hard on the farm and Banks’ Tori being the loving mother and wife. There are many reasons that Brightburn reminded me of The Prodigy but the lack of communication between the couple is the main one.
Tori sees Brandon doing something weird, but keeps it to herself rather than telling her husband. This decision is what helped allow things to escalate how they did. When Kyle shows actual fear for what their son may be becoming, Tori wants to defend him and pretend that it’s not happening. This hit me on two fronts. On the one hand it feels weird to see the same dynamic twice in one year. On the other, this exact scenario plays out all across the U.S. all the time. I’ve seen the mothers of serial killers deny that their sons were capable of the atrocities they carried out. Who’s to say this wouldn’t go the same way. Regardless, not agreeing with how the situation was handled by the mother wouldn’t be enough to make me hate the movie and in both films… well I’ll hold back on going there.
Much like The Prodigy, Brightburn did a good job selecting the kid. Brandon is played by Jackson A. Dunn (Avengers: Endgame– young Scott Lang in the failed time travel scene) and he captures the essence of his character well. Brandon starts out as just an incredibly intelligent 12 year old who is picked on by kids at his school for it. He’s having weird urges and thoughts but we all did at this time and his dad confuses this for normal puberty problems. However, once the kid realizes that he can do things other people can’t there’s no hope for anyone.
He isn’t completely sure of himself or perfect in his execution which you’d expect since this is all unfamiliar for him but anyone who gets in the way of his goals is not long for this world. He tries to continue to live his normal life but it’s clear very early on that it’s not going to work out. Dunn plays the sympathetic nerd well early, and the clear future domestic terrorist later perfectly also. During the movie, it was hard to ignore that he fit the profile and his family ignoring the signs also fit the formula. I doubt that was intentional but it comes across strongly.
The best thing about Brightburn is the pacing. There isn’t a lot of down time. All of the slower moments add to the story and advance one character or another in some way. Whether it’s the parents talking about what’s going on with their kid or the kid himself showing signs to his parents that they misconstrue or downplay.
I love a movie with no wasted time and Brightburn fits that bill. It wasn’t frantic but it didn’t drag out the story.
If you’ve ever read my action or horror reviews you know that I am not a fan of gore and Brightburn definitely has its moments. There are two scenes in particular where I felt like they dragged out the scene longer than I cared for them to when people were horrifically injured. I would have been cool with a nice little 2-3 second shot but Brightburn wants to make sure you see exactly what happened. Some enjoy gratuitous violence but I don’t and I think that is what is going to knock this one down just a notch for me.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and *spoiler alert* they MAY have set it up for a sequel. We shall see. There are a few scenes after the credits start to roll so you’ll want to sit for those at the very least.
If you can get over a few very gory moments and like scary movies then you definitely want to add Brightburn to your list.