If you don’t already know what Brightburn is by now, have a quick look at the trailer below before you continue.
Done? Good. The premise is relatively simple: what if Superman arrived on earth and, instead of helping humankind, he epitomises all that’s evil. Brightburn is based on an event which sees Tori and Kyle Breyer, living in a Midwestern town, adopt an alien infant who has crash-landed on our planet, right in their backyard. They raise the ‘boy’ as their own with the good, small town, wholesome American values. These values, however, don’t seem to stick and things don’t turn out as they hoped with the boy turning out to be quite evil. The film is produced by James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, which can only mean great things.
There has always been a question in the back of many people’s minds; what if Superman/Clark Kent was a bad guy? His wholesome image portrayed by many actors over the years only aided the growth of our curiosity of said antithesis. While there are often debates about hypotheticals in the superhero space, especially in terms of who’s the most powerful Marvel or DC characters, or who’d win in a fight between X and Y (typically comparing the “good guys”), we’re finally getting to see how one of these may play out. Possibly.
While Brightburn itself isn’t explicitly a Superman film, the David Yarovesky-directed horror has all the hints and suggestions that it is based on the character – which is an easy way to avoid any possible lawsuits that may arise in the future. The mixing of the genres also begs the question of why this has never been done before, with an almost 80-year history of the Man of Steel. In any event, we are here now and, judging by many reactions to the trailers in the build-up to the release of the film, which kicks off this week (24 May 2019) in the US and South Africa on 31 May, it looks good.
But even beyond that Brightburn has another question important question to answer: Will we see the start of a new era of superhero horror spin-offs?
Now that we’re set to witness how an evil Superman may affect humanity, we can open the door to creating a whole variety of possibilities in the horror genre. We have our favourite superheroes in the form of Batman (not the same wholesome image being a vigilante), Captain America, Wonder-Woman, Spider-Man and many more. The possibilities truly are endless.
If you start playing around with the ideas in your head long enough, you may also stumble upon the possibility of finally getting to witness the crossover fights we’ve all been wanting to see, the most epic of which would be Hulk vs Superman. Although this may have more legal implications. Creating a Hulk-like character, however, may not be so easy to explain away. Still, one can only hope it was that easy and we could all enjoy the battle of the century we all wish would happen.
There is, however, the small hurdle of box office success, which may ultimately decide on whether such projects will get future traction, both from the eager fans, as well as Hollywood executives, who will no doubt be eager to ride yet another wave if Brightburn turns out to be highly profitable. Fingers crossed.
And maybe, just maybe, we’d finally see the dawn of a new genre within the genre. Bring on Marvel Zombies, The Batman & Dracula Trilogy, The Witching Hour, Terror, Inc., Midgnight Sons and more.