Splendid black comedy on the perils of living out a fantasy as two would-be superheroes get in too deep. Funny, touching, violent.

This review was written 2 years too late

Meet The Crimson Bolt, a superman on a mission but with no super powers. Instead, he bashes people with a wrench. Bashes them good. And why shouldn’t he?

Rainn Wilson is the Bolt aka Frank, a cook whose wife leaves him for Kevin Bacon‘s Jacques, a gangster, prompting a wild fantasy borne out of despair. First he imagines God snaking his way into his home leading to his watching the Holy Avenger, a low-rate Christian superhero on a naff TV show warning kids about sex and drugs. Inspired by the Avenger, Frank makes a suit and becomes The Crimson Bolt.

Drug dealers, queue-jumpers and paedophiles all incur his wrench wrath as he becomes a vigilante hero. Suspected by Ellen Page‘s Libby of being the Bolt, Frank gets a sidekick in the form of her Boltie. Libby wears her costume better than Frank, as you’d expect, and exceeds him in her violent retribution of anyone deemed unacceptable. Inevitably, they mount a mission to rescue Frank’s wife from Jacques and his mobsters.

Writer-director James Gunn, he of the criminally over-looked Slither and writer of the excellent Dawn of the Dead remake a few years back, gives his film an enjoyably painful realism, in terms of its gleeful violence, the heartbreak that can lead to fantasy and retribution, and the dangers of not letting go when you should.

Wilson is a perfect loser, overweight, not particularly handsome, going nowhere, and actually reminiscent of Woody Allen in that he is eclipsed by most of the men around him and attractive to most of the women. Thankfully, he is not inclined to the tedious, cerebral introspection of Allen. Happily, he whacks people with a wrench really hard instead! Page is a delight as the geeky, sexy Boltie.

Ignore the comparisons to the equally enjoyable Kick-Ass – what’s the point in getting bogged down in who-did-what-first? scenarios when the creators themselves don’t have a problem and instead pop a few beers and enjoy a surprising comedy.

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