It's really a one-joke movie, but the joke is a good one: Frank's ''crusade'' is just a geek's screw-loose revenge, which Wilson, digging into the character's misery, makes oddly sympathetic.
Of all the entries in the average-schmo-tries-to-be-a-superhero genre - and that would certainly include last year's "Kick-Ass'' - "Super'' succeeds the best by putting its audience in the most uncomfortable position.
Conceptually similar to last spring's bullied-teen-dons-tights-to-fight flick Kick-Ass, Super distinguishes itself with a deliberate tonal unevenness that's unsettling and annoying.
"Super" starts off feeling like a cult comedy you might catch during a midnight film festival. But since Gunn never nails his tone, the concept makes more sense than the execution.
Super plunges into nihilistic despair in its third act. This isn't a black comedy because it isn't a comedy. It's a trick played on our expectations, I concede, but to what end?
I think "Super" is occasionally brilliant, sometimes awful and terribly confusing overall; this movie reminds me of an old Irish joke about the ancient and terrifying housekeeper who asks the young priest whether he enjoyed his egg.
It may sound like Super is trying too hard to shock, trying too hard to be edgy or weird. But it has such a low-budget charm, it's pretty hard to resist. Besides, if you don't, you risk incurring the wrath of The Crimson Bolt. And you don't want that.