Anti-heroes have been popular for decades. The rugged individual who, whilst saving the day, doesn’t necessarily follow the rules to get there. There are also those who have the veneer of heroism although are anything but. The comic book ‘Watchmen’ and the online series ‘The Boys’ are good examples of shady heroes. ‘Brightburn’ is another with its reverse take on the Superman mythology offering up a hero few would want saving them.

Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle (David Denman) are a married couple desperate for children. Having no luck via various means, their prayers appear answered when a mysterious spaceship crash-lands near their home. Inside is a baby boy who they name Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). Claiming him as their own, as he gets older they notice his special powers setting him apart from others. Unfortunately his teenage years sees a sinister change with Brandon’s dark nature gradually walking the path of evil.

‘Brightburn’ is the anti-Superman. Those tired of superhero niceness and virtue should enjoy this flick. It isn’t exactly original and nor is it completely memorable. But it has a script peppered with enough dark overtones to make it fascinating viewing. How a super-being chooses to use their gifts is starkly realised with the mix of horror/drama generally working.

The central trio of performances make ‘Brightburn’ shine. Banks is especially good as a mother refusing to believe her son’s guilt. Dunn as the sinister Brandon exudes genuine menace with the moody atmosphere refusing to disappear until the end credits. It would be an interesting movie to have a sequel to as charting this wicked super-being potentially compelling.

‘Brightburn’ packs a lot in its brisk runtime. A Marvel or DC comics superhero yarn this isn’t. It’s an antidote to those stories with a fearsome hero cutting a swathe amongst his more humble brethren.

Rating out of 10: 7


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