Brightburn took a great concept and turned it into a run-of-the-mill horror film.
An R rated Evil Superman origin story?! What an amazing concept for a horror movie. That alone got me in the seat. Who is in it? I didn’t care. Who directed it? I didn’t care. Trailer? No need. Brightburn sold me at “Evil Superman”.
Everyone knows (should know) the Superman origin story. Alien baby sent to Earth. He crash-lands into a field in Kansas. He is found by two loving farmers who decided to raise him as their own. Johnathan and Martha Kent instill the values of “Truth, Justice and the American Way” into their young son. Eventually, he decides to use his powers to help those who cannot help themselves. He becomes the beacon of hope for the world.
Brightburn asks, “What if things went a little differently?” You now have a 12 year old boy with all the powers of Superman who is evil… for some reason. And that is where Brightburn lacks. The writers completely missed what made Superman good, and in turn, what could have made Brightburn evil. It had all the potential in the world to be truly epic, and they went the lazy, generic route instead. The world tends to let horror movies off the hook when it comes to motivations and good storytelling, but I hold anything that deals with Superman to a higher standard.
If you are looking to watch a horror movie solely for the “death scenes”, Brightburn may just be the movie for you. If you are looking for a good “what if?” type superhero movie that you can really sink your teeth into, this will leave you disappointed. So temper expectations, close off your brain, and enjoy the ride!