When Jonathan and Martha Kent raised a Kryptonian baby as their own, they taught him good values and helped him become Superman. It’s a good thing Clark listened to them. If he hadn’t there’d be no stopping him. Brightburn is truly the Bad Seed of Krypton.
Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) are trying to get pregnant when something crashes in their farm. There’s a baby inside.
When baby Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) turns 10 he starts manifesting powers. By the time he’s 12 he starts defying his parents and exhibiting creepy stalker behavior, and grounding him isn’t going to work.
Brightburn definitely leans into the Superman mythology to the point where the Breyers live on a farm (although that’s also a clever way to lower the budget). More subtle homages include young Brandon dragging his red blanket behind him
I have to say, I respect Tori and Kyle’s commitment to being present, loving parents and fulfilling their responsibility to discipline Brandon. That’s probably missing from too many families these days.
Unfortunately, loving parents aren’t enough when your kid has the power to throw temper tantrums and murder any meddling adults. And when Brandon creeps out the girl he likes and then gets angry when she’s scared of him, I dread when Brandon gets to college (in Brightburn 3?).
There is a unique tension at work that the adults treat Brandon like a kid not knowing his power. Why wouldn’t you discipline a misbehaving brat? It delivers Hitchcockian thrills with super powered horror.
It’s like Hitchcock’s example of a bomb under the table. Brightburn shows us that Brandon can fly, bend metal and has heat vision, so we know these adults fulfilling their responsibilities are provoking him.
When Brandon unleashes his super rage, there are some clever gore gags. As if getting glass in your eye wasn’t bad enough, Brightburn finds a way to make it even worse. When Brandon kills people it’s truly horrifying.
Brightburn is really the origin of a supervillain. It’s highly franchisable so Brightburn is the next great cinematic monster. As I suggested, this one is in a small farm town, so Brightburn 2 could see Brandon in the big city. Then Brightburn Goes To College of course, and finally Brightburn in Space.
Brightburn opens Friday, May 24.