Pros: reimagining the essence of Superman; horror elements – loud sounds and sudden movements Cons: pacing of the Brightbjorn story
Genre horror, science fiction, superhero films
Directed by David Yarovesky
Cast: Jackson A. Dunn (Brandon Bryer), Elizabeth Banks (Tory Bryer), David Denman (Kyle Bryer), Meredith Hagner (Merilee McNicol), Matt Jones (Noah McNicol), Becky Wahlstrom (Erika), Stephen Blackheart (Travis)
Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films, Troll Court Entertainment
Year of release 2019
Tori and Kyle Brier are a couple who are unsuccessfully dreaming of having a child. Not far from their farm, something similar to a meteorite lands, in which
they find the baby. The couple decide to keep the baby, pretending that they adopted him.
Years later, the boy, given the name Brandon Brier, becomes an alienated teenager suffering from bullying at school. To support him, Tori tells her son that he is special. She doesn’t yet suspect that this is really so – after Brandon’s 12th birthday, he discovers an inexplicable power in himself. And once the boy learns to control it, guided by anger, he will be able to use his abilities against people whom Brandon considers an obstacle in his path.
When the first trailer for Breitbjorn appeared online, it attracted a lot of attention – the film promised to become an alternative to DC and Marvel films, imbued with solemn heroism. Interestingly, it was produced by James Gunn, who had previously worked on the film adaptations of Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Braitbjorn” saw Gunn turn to the dark side, which coincided with a dark period in his career when the Walt Disney Company fired James as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” for inappropriate Twitter posts. During this unfortunate time, Gunn focused on a different interpretation of the essence of Superman, who was usually perceived as the good savior of the Earth. In the new film, a child of alien origin is the source of evil.
For James Gunn, the film “Breitbjorn” will turn out to be a family project in its own way. The script for it was written by his brother Brian together with his cousin Mark Gunn. The director was David Yaroveski (there were no family ties here), whose filmography had not yet included any outstanding characters. Together, they focused on turning Superman into an antagonist who would bring chaos to the world.
The film has a really interesting concept and a strong marketing campaign. Because of this, a lot of expectations arose for “Breitbjorn” even before its release – they promised to show us a rethinking of the cult story. It would not be possible to say that they were all completely justified.
This is due to the pace of the story, which in the first part of the film is perceived as somewhat moderate. The second part of the film compensates for this shortcoming, filling “Breitbjorn” with horror elements. Sometimes on screen such turns look like overly abrupt leaps between genres, but for Yaroveski it becomes a signature technique.
The best moments of Breitbjorn consist of dynamic movements interspersed with tense anticipation. The most frightening effect is produced by a soundtrack that literally drowns you out with loud sounds, as is usually done in horror films.
Intense visual and audio sensations compensate for the gaps in the main character’s origin story. Probably, understatement is also used as a technique to scare.
Young actor Jackson A. Dunn (previously appeared in a cameo role in the final part of The Avengers) is doing a good job. His character goes through a transformation from an ordinary child to a source of destructive force. And yet he remains frighteningly calm. In contrast to his composure are the troubling experiences of his adoptive parents, played by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman.
Overall, “Braitbjorn” turns out to be a rather cruel and bloody spectacle. Its ominous plotting balances out the shortcomings of the director’s work. But after watching it, I am left with the haunting impression that the film could have turned out better.
“Braitbjorn” doesn’t live up to all expectations, but it still stands out from other stories about people with superpowers.