Brightburn (2019)

brightburn poster 2019 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good potential

Falls apart with everyone seeming to forget events as soon as they happen

Movie Info

Movie Name: Brightburn

Studio: Screen Gems

Genre(s): Horror/Comic Book

Release Date(s):  May 9, 2019 (Singapore)/May 24, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

brightburn david denman elizabeth banks

Honey, we rolled the dice and had a 50/50 chance that he’d turn out cool…our bad

Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) want a child.  When a ship crashes in their woods in Brightburn and a boy is discovered inside, it seems like a gift from God.  Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) seems like the perfect kid…but there is something different about Brandon.  Something is awakening in Brandon, and instead of saving the world, Brandon could destroy it!

Directed by David Yarovesky, Brightburn is a superhero horror movie.  The movie was released to mixed reviews and performed average at the box office.

Though not technically a comic book, Brightburn is a comic book movie.  The idea of Superman choosing a path of evil instead of good isn’t a new idea.  Books like Watchmen, Irredeemable, Invincible, and others have played with this idea (even DC itself with some of their Elseworld titles and of course with “Red Kryptonite”), but it hasn’t been brought to the screen so much…I kind of looked forward to the potential of Brightburn, but the movie falls apart.

brightburn brandon kills father david denman jackson a dunn

You always hurt the ones you love…sometimes a bit more than other times.

The set-up is just like Action Comics.  A loving couple find a son from space and try to raise him right, but unlike Clark Kent, Brandon Breyer takes a different direction.  The movie is rather short so the build-up is quick, but then it seems to just take the wrong directions over and over again.  Brandon is demonstrated to be top of his class intelligent, yet isn’t able to cover his crimes before he realizes he doesn’t need to.  The pieces don’t click for Tori (who I understand wants to believe and believes the best in her son), but it often feels like the movie is almost out of order.  Brandon will do something superhuman and crazy, and it is like everyone forgets about it the next day…over and over again.  You could argue that police aren’t looking for a flying kid as a criminal, but it also is too obvious at points that he should be looked at by his parents and authorities.

brightburn brandon kills officer

That kid has no respect for authority

The cast is ok.  I was surprised by David Denman’s performance in that it was strong as the father who couldn’t initially connect, connected, and then found the worst in his son.  Elizabeth Banks’ character is poorly written because she comes off more as less intelligent than protective.  Jackson A. Dunn gives a blank performance, but it feels like he needs to do this since he is detached.   There are appearances by Michael Rooker and Rainn Wilson (in a picture cameo of his Super character) which potentially set-up future encounters for Brightburn.

The movie looks good.  It could build up jumps and scares a lot better and the idea of superhuman horror could have even been pushed farther (there are a number of gross-out scenes like eye-glass and car wrecks).  It is kind of what I wanted from something like Glass but still not perfect.

Brightburn was a bit of a disappointment.  It has potential to become a cult favorite due to its subversive superhero themes (especially since everyone “loves” superhero movies right now), and there has been talk of sequels since it is open ended and kind of establishes a “Brightburn” universe.  The future remains unwritten for Brandon…we’ll see if he kills again.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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