James Gunn’s vision, Brightburn, has been a tricky film for me to review. I was so hyped for this film as I loved the horror/comic book genre combination. There were so many elements of the film that I loved and it was a purely entertaining horror film. So why did I leave the cinema feeling so..meh?
I’ll start off by saying I was expecting the movie to explore the themes of the origin of Brandon and where he came from. Haven being given so much from the trailer, I thought there would be a lot more to the story that would surprise us in the actual movie. But honestly, there is not much we weren’t shown already.
Good Story, Just Told Wrong
The premise of having the opposite of Supermans origin story was what sold me on this. And yes, a lot of the elements of this is was what I was hopeful for but unfortunately the film just doesn’t flow in anyway, leaving you really feel taken out of the story. The scene transitions, pacing and storytelling was just so rough.
I felt that the speed to convey this story as fast as it can does not bode well for any meaningful characters of any kind of internal struggle for the main character. Within the first few minutes, we see a couple about to try and have a child, when a meteor shoots down in their front lawn. All of which we saw from the trailer. Then family home videos of the supposed baby which shot from space. Then, with yet another scene transition, Brandon is 12 years old, all within the first 5 minutes. There’s no TIME for development for any of our characters. Especially our main character Brandon. I found it really hard to be on his side or even against him for that matter. He didn’t evoke any emotion from me. I did find him extremely creepy but for the majority of the film, he just blankly stares. He’s switched from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ pretty much in the first half of the film and we’re given no reason to care about this change. This is what makes Brightburn just a badly told story (technically) but a great story (on paper).
The Good Elements
What I did note was that the visual aspects of Brightburn are the best thing about it. The lighting and the colours are brilliant, lightness and darkness are utilised well and the dash of red really added to the eery atmosphere.
The unexpected gore and Brandons victims death were also well executed and something that did leave the cinema with me. One sequence in particular in which the superman- murderous child terrorises his uncle along a dark stretch of highway was great in eliciting fear and the gore was enough for me to look away.
Is Brightburn A Bad Movie?
There’s a lot to like about this film and I didn’t hate it. I would definitely tell everyone to see Brightburn, the “reverse-Superman” movie. However I will say the filmed left me feeling completely underwhelmed. And this was due to the execution of the story telling.