Tori and Kyle are struggling to have a child, when one night something from outer space crashes nearby their farm. Just like a blessing from above, it’s some sort of space craft that includes a little baby boy, and the couple are happy to take care of him and raise him as their own (hmm…have we heard this story before somewhere?). The boy, whom they name Brandon, proves to be quite special, never showing signs of getting physically hurt and a lot more intelligent than other children his age. As he grows older, however, his behavior changes and he becomes more aggressive and irritable, to the point of even hurting one of his classmates. Tori is desperate to think the best of her little boy, but soon things turn to worse and it becomes obvious to Tori and Kyle that Brandon is far from the gift from above they originally considered him to be…
If you are familiar with the story of “Superman” (I guess most of us are), then you’ll quickly realize that “Brightburn” is some sort of twisted version of that good old story: what if Superman was evil, instead of the do-gooder he turned out to be? What if he used his superpowers for evil instead of good, and wanted to destroy the world instead of saving it? Well, that’s “Brightburn” in a nutshell.
Before Brandon ventures fully into his evil ways, we see the parents viewing his transformation into something else with a fair amount of unease. Yes, you can easily associate this with puberty: your little boy suddenly changes in both behavior and needs, and for many parents this change can feel uncomfortable and difficult to accept. Except Brandon isn’t just a normal boy, and his change is something else entirely. In one scene at school, we hear Brandon explain the difference between bees and wasps, where bees are domesticated creatures and wasps are predators. His expressed interest in particularly wasps during this scene might give us a hint that Brandon’s alien race is somewhat similar to wasps: it’s simply in his nature to be an aggressive predator.
“Brighburn” even delivers some pleasant blood & gore, living up to its R rating. This isn’t a movie filled with twists and turns, it’s very straight-forward. If you’ve watched the trailers for the movie or read a simple synopsis, you know exactly what kind of meal you’ll be served. While “Brightburn” doesn’t really get truly creepy or scary, it delivers on well-paced action and suspense, mixed with some (not that many, but good) death scenes. If you’re tired of all the dime-a-dozen superhero movies that’s been released lately, “Brightburn” might be a fresh breath of air.
And finally, some food for thought: if an alien with superpowers landed on Earth, would it really be interested in using its power to protect it just for our sake? Nah…don’t think so.
Director: David Yarovesky
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Abraham Clinkscales, Christian Finlayson, Jennifer Holland, Emmie Hunter, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Becky Wahlstrom, Terence Rosemore, Gregory Alan Williams