[Movie Review] Brightburn (2019)


USA | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 17+ | Director: David Yarovesky | Writers: Mark Gunn, Brian Gunn | Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman, Jennifer Holland, Matt Jones | English | 90 minutes

We are currently living in an era where superhero-themed movies are abundant. From Marvel to DC and to Sony’s Marvel (which are going to cease from existing), it seems that this superhero trend in cinemas are going to last for a long time judging by Marvel and DC’s next phase where it’s going to be a long-ass take of 'with great power comes great responsibility' kind of value. But what if that responsibility of yours is to take the world and bend it to your whim? Meet 'Brightburn'.

'Brightburn' focuses on Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn), a 12-year old boy from Brightburn in his adolescence and his parents Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) who are raising Brandon to be a good kid. And boy, he was good at first until Brandon finds out about his celestial origins. One might say a change of demeanor is putting it too lightly because when he realizes about his life’s calling and the surge of incomparable power, he starts to develop a form of god-complex with a hint of psychopathic tendencies while wreaking havoc here and there. Well, who wouldn’t give a try to fly across the sky and shoot lasers from your own eyeballs if you have the chance?

I have to say, 'Brightburn' is quite graphic and gory for a superhero-themed movie (the word supervillain is more proper to use, but I digress) especially when compared to its fellow contemporaries such as Avengers: Endgame or Shazam. It dares to demonstrate us a damn-near approach towards the direct force of otherworldly strength when applied to a normal person’s body or in layman’s terms, we got to see bodies getting wrecked by superhuman power in a superhero-themed movie which is kind of rare to see in our glorious days of Marvel and DC cinematic universe. But enough with the violent kinds of stuff, let’s move to other subjects!

Judging from YouTube’s comment section and some of my colleagues reaction towards 'Brightburn', plenty have said that the movie is basically when Superman got raised in a harsh environment and I’m not going to fully disagree with that statement because there were times when people around him got unnecessarily evil and it felt like too forced just for the sake of nurturing Brandon’s anger for the humankind. Moreover, his malicious motivation seemed too weak for its own good because it’s pretty much given to Brandon. Things escalate too quickly, and our fear was induced by nothing more than your usual jumpscare and gory violence. Again, this is your common example of good ideas turn stale and I wish we have more chance to dive into Brandon’s psyche. Perhaps 'Brightburn' is not that different compared to your usual superhero-themed movies in a sense that there’s no moral duality, but when your Marvel-produced movies talk about our own good nature within ourselves, 'Brightburn' speaks the opposite. That people are innately wicked, and that includes Brandon Breyer.

When will this trend end, or at least slow down a little bit?

Review written by: Steven Idris