Everyone knows the origin story of Superman, arguably the biggest superhero in the world. An alien boy crash lands onto Earth, to be rescued by honest and hardworking farmers and raised with an unflinching moral code, and grows up to be a righteous hero using his incredible superpowers for good. Brightburn is a new movie that postulates a completely different version of the Superman story with a simple tweak to its premise: what if the young boy wasn’t good? It’s a small change that completely upends the mythos of Superman, and Brightburn employs this concept in a brand new super-powered horror film.
Produced by James Gunn (Guardians Of The Galaxy), Brightburn sees a couple living in a small town in Kansas come across a baby in the woods. Raising him as their own, they soon discover the boy has powers. Despite their love, the boy is shown as being troubled and is constantly bullied at school. Adolescent frustration kicks in, along with otherworldly powers, and the boy becomes unstoppable.
The new Brightburn trailer, released on Twitter, features a lot of intensity and raises the stakes significantly from the first trailer. Elizabeth Banks plays the boy’s mother in a dramatic role, along with David Denman as the father.
— Brightburn (@Brightburn) March 6, 2019
The standout of Brightburn, however, has to be the young actor Jackson A. Dunn. Dunn conveys the right amount of menace to make the trailer incredibly effective in being a superhero horror movie. The young actor doesn’t seem to have many speaking lines, in the trailer at least, but is able to be scary and dangerous all through a look. The thematic cape from most Superman stories is featured prominently in Brightburn as well.
While the concept of an evil Superman origin is appealing and has never been done before as a feature film, the idea has been explored in the comics. The DC Comics character Ultraman has an origin story similar to what is being depicted in Brightburn, albeit with many modifications. The most recent incarnation of Ultraman saw him arrive on an alternate Earth from an alternate Krypton as a means of getting revenge for destroying his world. That character was evil from day one and ended up forcing a human couple to raise him, ultimately murdering them when he no longer needed them. The character is shown as having all of Superman’s powers, but being cruel and sociopathic. Obviously, the specific depictions differ between the comics version of Ultraman and the story being presented in Brightburn, but the main premise between both stories remains the same: what if Superman was evil?
@JamesGunn new movie @Brightburn asks “What if Superman was evil?”
We know the answer to this. @DCComics has provided that answer. Mr. Gunn basically made a movie about Ultraman from Earth 3. #ultraman
— Adam Kast (@Adam430k) March 6, 2019
While Ultraman is one of many characters featured as an alternate reality version of Superman, of which there are also countless versions, Brightburn really puts the concept of an alternate Superman origin story into the mainstream.
Brightburn releases May 24, 2019.