Brightburn tells the story of a couple, Kyle and Tori Breyer, who find a baby in a spaceship and decide to adopt it. At the age of 12, the boy, Brandon, learns that he has superpowers. But it’s not the typical Clark Kent story as Brandon starts using his powers for baleful purposes.
Producer James Gunn arrives with yet another unique film project of a hitherto unexplored genre, i.e., superhero horror. DC Comics explored the concept of Brightburn in 2017. It was a Halloween special with many short horror stories. One of the stories was “Bump in the Night,” which had Superman as an evil being.
While the concept is very much alluring, the movie isn’t able to deliver it to that extent. Yet, a person will wait to find out what’s happens next. This is a good sign for a new genre. Brandon, played by Jackson Dunn, is influenced by a voice from the very spaceship he arrived in. That voice is what makes him wreak all the havoc. This concept is what somewhat ruins the story. It seems very typical. Mind-control is something we all are familiar with, especially where aliens and spaceships are concerned, be it through books or movies. Yet, the execution of the film is no doubt good.
Brightburn does pave the way for directors to explore the superhero horror genre. If you have seen The Boys on Amazon Prime, you will have an idea about just how much scary, if not threatening, superheroes can really be. And for as long as a superhero works for mankind’s safety, he or she will never be questioned. But as soon as he or she does something that we don’t like, we say that the superhero is a threat. The fact is he or she was always a threat. We had just taken things for granted as we always do. Brightburn doesn’t let us take things for granted. The movie straightaway points the finger at us for our naïve attitude towards superheroes. In this way, it covers the whole superhero concept.
The movie seems to answer the question that Zach Snyder threw at us via Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In it, Senator Finch says, “The world has been so caught up with what Superman can do that no one has asked what he should do.” Superman is “an alien who could burn the whole place down,” tells Bruce Wayne to Clark Kent. This is exactly what Brightburn does. And nobody can blame his parents for his deeds. His parents brought him up like any other loved child. Brandon goes to a regular school with normal kids. Yet, he turned out this way. However, the very thing that holds him responsible for his actions also saves him from being held responsible. And that is, he was under the influence of a voice from the spaceship or rather the spaceship itself. This is what saves him from questioning his reality.
From a technical POV, the VFX could have been better. Moreover, it would have been better if Brandon didn’t have his costume. It would have made his character more grounded. But then again, if we are ready to accept Superman’s disguise with mere spectacles, Brendan’s disguise is far more effective.
The ending, too, is real in a way we did expect but didn’t want and vice-versa. Brendan’s mother tries to kill him but is unsuccessful. He then drops his mom from a thousand feet off the ground or more. Then he turns towards an airplane coming in his direction. The movie ends with news reporters reporting the airplane crash, and we see Brendan as the only “survivor.” We all know what will happen next. In this way, the movie leaves it to us to determine the future of Brightburn.
Brightburn is a 2019 Drama Horror film directed by David Yarovesky.