Brightburn (2019)

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. This movie is still in theaters. Do you feel comfortable with me talking about a movie that you could go see on the big screen right now? Because too bad, I’m doing it.

Young couple Kyle and Tori Breyer have trouble conceiving in 2006, when all of a sudden, a meteor lands. The couple discovers it’s actually a spaceship with a baby inside. Guess who’s adopting? Twelve years later, their son Brandon begins going through alien puberty, which means he has trouble talking to girls, develops super powers, starts looking at anatomy drawings of human organs, repeatedly scribbles a weird symbol, and starts sleepwalking to his spaceship at night. Tori decides she will always defend her baby boy as Kyle becomes wary, but Brandon continues to struggle over a girl he likes. After she mistreats him, he crushes her hand. He also mutilates a bunch of chickens and discovers his spaceship. Tori reveals the truth to Brandon, and he goes off the deep end, using his new found powers to violently kill anyone who gets in his way. And I do mean violently. Kyle comes to the conclusion that Brandon is now some kind of monster and tries to shoot him but fails, which results in Brandon wiping him out and then going after Tori. He destroys the house, annihilates the cops, and then finishes off Tori and an oncoming airplane. Brandon is the only survivor, and as the credits roll, he continues on his journey to seriously screw over Kansas.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Brightburn is basically the Superman origin story, only told with the angle that Superman is a psychopath. Brandon’s ability to empathize disappears after he learns of his alien origins, he sees himself as superior, and he reacts violently but coolly to anyone who slights him. He mutilates animals, he struggles on how to approach the opposite sex, and his focus on anatomy takes on a variety of forms, from a toy frog to drawings to the eventual reveal of a mutilated corpse. As for his actual species, early on in the film he describes a parasitic wasp in detail that lays its eggs in other creatures’ nests. Guess who got laid in the human nest? Yep, Brandon is effectively a parasite, sent to grow up in our culture and then destroy us from the inside, only with super strength, flight, and laser eyes.

That said, you might not like the movie if you’re not a gore hound. Brightburn has an eyeball scene that would have made Lucio Fulci blush, but that’s hardly the limitations of its gore. People don’t die in this movie so much as get massacred and forced to suffer. Expect gagging, gurgling, lots of blood, and a debate at the end over what messed with you more: the eyeball or the jaw. People who see the movie will understand what I’m talking about. There are moments galore that will make the faint of stomach cringe, so expect to have a fun ride as you get reminded how to Brandon we’re all just simply sacks of meat that haven’t had the good courtesy to rot yet.

Look, if you’re tired of superhero movies, and let’s face it, you’re probably starting to feel that fatigue, then Brightburn is the necessary next step to where we really explore what the genre can do beyond building a cinematic universe. Logan and Deadpool do this too, but they’re still established characters; Brightburn is breaking the mold by being both a throwback and wholly original.

Also, his mask is cool. The laces give it a heavy Cthulhu vibe.

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