Directed by David Yarovesky, produced by James Gunn, and written by Brian and Mark Gunn, Brightburn (2019) introduces fans to an interesting concept: what if Superman decided to become a bad guy instead of a good guy? And what would anyone be able to do to stop him? And while this is a great idea, the film’s creators did not execute the concept to its full potential. Some moments in the film were genuinely fear-inducing, which made for a great horror film. However, while the movie had its high points, it also had its low points. So, what was so great about the film? And what did Brightburn get wrong?
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While horror fans highly enjoyed Brightburn, quite a few elements fell flat. Further than that, this was one of those films that was not just targeted at fans of the horror genre. It introduced a child with superpowers who turned evil. Many fans of superhero/comic book films will have also given this movie a chance because it was a villain origin story. And so naturally, given the mixed reception of their film, not everyone enjoyed what James Gunn and David Yarovesky had to offer. Here are the top five things fans loved about the film and the top five things fans hated:
Where did Brightburn go wrong?
5. Why did Brandon Suddenly Decide He Wanted To Be Evil?
So, the show writers thought they were clever by glossing over the reasoning behind Brandon going dark. Fans were perplexed about why this was, considering he had such a loving home and parents growing up. And while yes, the point might have been that it was just in his nature as an alien (which seems a bit like othering, honestly), it still doesn’t explain why he so quickly gave in to these urges. Two good examples are Dion from the Raising Dion TV series and Homelander from The Boys.
Firstly, with Dion, if he decided to go dark upon discovering his powers, his mother would have done more to stop him. However, that aside, it is apparent that his mother did her best to raise him in a loving home and always did what was best for him. Later in the show, you can see her love reflected in him when he makes intelligent choices regarding his abilities. In comparison, Brandon doesn’t even give a thought to his parents, which one would think would have a more significant influence on his choices.
Then there is Homelander, who grew up in a lab and did not have parents or a loving home. As a result, it is easier for audiences to see why he has so many mental and emotional issues. He ended up with a god complex which essentially drove him towards being evil, but his background perfectly lines up with his actions and his reasons. He is a broken man who hides his suffering through his bad actions. So why did Brandon wake up one day and decide to go on a killing spree without any concrete reasoning for it?
4. Why Did Caitlyn Not Confess That Brandon Killed Her Mother?
This is another writing point that did not make any sense. Brandon openly hurts her in front of other kids and then explicitly states that he will kill her mother. When her mother disappears, Caitlyn does not think this is something she should probably pass on to the police. And while Brandon probably could have easily wiped the police out, it still makes no sense for her to accept that her mother died right after he threatened her.
3. Caitlyn’s Storyline Just Falls Away
This is one point that should be mentioned separately from the previous point because it makes even less sense than any other points addressed. Why did the film’s creators make this a plot point only to have it fall away halfway through and never addressed again? And yes, there was an array of other occurrences that seemed more pressing, but again, what was the point of adding it in at all??
2. The Creators Wanted to Do Too Much Within The Runtime
Brightburn (2019) only had a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes, and this includes the end credits. Within this, they tried to show Brandon’s villain arc and what led to it. But this only consisted of his parents finding him when he crash-landed on earth, being bullied at school and rejected by his crush, and then speaking to a spaceship before there was just an unnecessary amount of murder going down. There was no room to explain what was going through the kid’s head as the movie seemed more focused on the gore and murder.
1. Why were Brandon’s Parents So Incompetent?
You knew this one was coming because his parents made many silly decisions. When they first become suspicious of him, this is dismissed after a singular discussion between them. Next, when they find Brandon’s bloodied shirt and find out he was at the scene of the crime of the woman he murdered, they once again suspect him. And once again, this is just dismissed. Why would any parent just casually dismiss the super-powered child they do not know the origins of possibly being a murderer??
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What did Brightburn get right?
5. They Did An Amazing Job With The Casting of Brandon
Brandon is played by Jackson A. Dunn and does a fantastic job of bringing the character to life. He is the right amount of creepy and keeps a tremendous stoic face. The actor could have done more with the role as it seemed he had the range to do so, but he still acted the part exceptionally well for what he had to work with. Arguably, Dunn carried the film with his fantastic acting because while the other actors did a decent job, the characters they played were a bit ridiculous.
4. The Film Did Well With the Effects
Brightburn (2019) had a decent budget, considering how well-executed some of the action sequences were. Further, whoever worked on the FX team did a great job portraying Brandon’s powers, especially the unsettling glowing red eyes. Then there was the sequence where he murdered his father and literally brought down an entire plane onto the family’s house. It all looked immaculate and well-cut.
3. The Murder Scenes Were Executed Quite Well
Another thing Brightburn (2019) excelled in was their gore. One scene that stood out specifically was when Brandon went after his uncle to murder him. He chases him on the highway and eventually ends up killing him. He flips his uncle’s pick-up truck, lifts it 100 feet into the air, and drops it, causing his uncle’s jaw to snap off. The effects were amazing, to the point that it did well in unsettling fans with how gruesome it was.
2. The Plane Scene at The End
This one is a no-brainer. Even though the points surrounding this decision are a bit illogical, Brandon showing how powerful he is by dropping a literal plane onto his parents’ house was entertaining. Yes, many people died, and yes, it was to cover up a murder, but it is also a horror film, and gore and murder are to be expected.
1. The Horror Elements Were Amazing
The thing Brightburn (2019) excelled at was the horror elements, and this is partially thanks to Jackson A. Dunn’s fantastic acting. But further, Mark and Brian Gunn knew what they were doing when they were writing the horror scenes. The sense of helplessness the audience feels along with the characters on screen is very real. Because what would you be able to do against a kid-version of Superman if he wanted to murder you? In fact, what would you do about your super-powered child upon finding out they were actively engaging in a killing spree??
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Tell us, what did you enjoy about Brightburn?