“He may look like us, but he’s not us.”
What would happen if Superman turned out to be evil? “Brightburn” sets out to answer that question.
Tori and Kyle Breyer are a young couple from a small town in Kansas suffering from infertility. After praying night after night for a child, a spaceship crashes into their backyard containing a baby boy, whom they adopt and name Brandon. Ten years later, Brandon begins to discover that he is an alien after an encounter with his spaceship, leading him down an evil path.
“Brightburn” is the latest project from James Gunn, writer and director of the immensely popular “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. I say project because he didn’t actually write or direct this film, but the trailers sure would like you to believe that.
Sadly, the film doesn’t benefit from the involvement of Gunn whatsoever and just kind of falls flat in every category.
“Brightburn” missed many opportunities to tell a great story. For instance, hiding the fact that Brandon was an alien could’ve made for a great plot twist, but they show that in the very first scene.
Instead of watching Brandon slowly turn from good to evil, he is instantly turned evil early in the film, with no set up at all. This makes for a much less interesting story and makes the entire film feel like wasted opportunity.
“Brightburn” also suffers from a poor performance by Jackson A. Dunn. I don’t really know if the performance is entirely his fault or if it is a directorial issue from David Yarovesky. It felt like he was told to “be evil,” which turned into him delivering lines in a toneless, boring voice and staring intensely at people. This didn’t come off as evil or creepy, it came off as annoying.
Dunn is almost completely surrounded by a cast that simply doesn’t work. The only performance that felt notable was that of Elizabeth Banks. She plays Tori, Brandon’s mother, and I really felt for her character.
There are a few scenes in “Brightburn” that fans of horror might get a kick out of. Many of the deaths are done very well, with a few moments making me visibly want to look away because of the gore on screen.
These scenes, however, aren’t enough to save the film. The last few shots of the movie are so bad that I couldn’t decide whether I should laugh or just be mad.
As the credits began and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” began playing, disappointment was the only thing I could feel towards the film.
“Brightburn” had so much potential to tell an awesome story. Sadly, bad performances and a messy story prevent it from being anything but a missed opportunity.