By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
I rather liked James Gunn’s Slither, which was a few over-exuberant touches from away from being a cult classic. So, when I saw he was tacking a Kick-Ass-style everyman Superhero tale, I was interested.
Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) plays a short-order cook who believes his junkie wife (Liv Tyler) is kidnapped by a sleazy drug dealer (Kevin Bacon). So, he does what God and/or a public-access Christian superhero (Nathan Fillion) tell him to do and sews a superhero costume and creates The Crimson Bolt to fight crime and get his wife back. An imbalanced comic store geek (Ellen Page) discovers his secret and becomes his sidekick, Boltie.
Also, Bubbles fits in there somewhere
Did you see that casting? You really couldn’t ask for more than that. You also have to admire what Gunn’s going for here- a stylistic, tongue-in-cheek, and ultraviolent deconstruction of the whole superhero mythos.
With this in mind, he does quite a bit right, from Wilson’s clumsy attempts to subdue criminals with a wrench to a Marx Brothers-style jaunt through a sporting goods store. There’s no denying his sense of style, either, as innovative shots (brain-o-vision!) and comic book flourishes abound.
As well as simply comics…
One thing this movie features way too much of though is awkward, uncomfortable comedy moments. Rather, they draw them out until they’re excruciating, and if you’re still laughing at that point you may be risking permanent brain damage.
Please God, make it stop
Remember that sweet cast? Well, not everbody actually does all that much. Liv Tyler is high the entire movie, which begs the question of why they didn’t just save a few bucks and use a mannequin. Most disappointing, however, is Ellen Page, who basically just adds a thin sheen of out of the blue manic insanity to her Juno character and rolls with it.
Page is just one example of the biggest problem with the movie- it’s too much of a good thing, way too much. I like violent movies, but Gunn goes out of his way to make everything as cringingly gory as possible. Sex scenes are nice, but ultra-creepy, non plot-furthering ones? No thanks. Practically every plot development is mean to shock, and while it certainly blows your mind at times, a little restraint would have gone a long way.
Nothing good can come of this
I could have folded this in with the last point, but the ending deserves a beer all its own. Sure, you can chalk it up to a Travis Bickle-style delusion, but by this point I kinda doubted this film’s ability to be subtle. Whatever the case, it’s a screeching about face from everything leading up to it and had me reaching for the nearest bottle.
Maybe Gunn should have stuck with the demented animation of the opening credits and made a Superjail-style Adult Swim cartoon. It’s fascinating, but not in any way that will make you feel good about yourself later.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every vision, prayer, or low-budget Christian tv show
Take a Drink: for every instance of extreme violence
Drink a Shot: every time Ellen Page belts out a fake laugh