Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn’s latest film is a return to the superhero formula — sort of. Brightburn is the story of child from another planet, and the good-intentioned midwestern couple that adopts him when his craft crash lands on their property.
But it doesn’t turn out exactly like the story you’re familiar with.
Gunn (and screenwriters Mark Gunn and Brian Gunn, James’ cousin and brother, respectively), are asking the age-old question “What if Superman was a bad idea?” And there’s no mistaking their intentions: From the flight, to the laser vision, to the red cape, this is a story in the shadow of Superman.
Rather than the Kents, Brightburn will feature Mr. and Mrs. Breyer, played by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman, with the young Jackson A. Dunn (that’s Dunn with a D, not another Gunn) as their adopted son whose middle school moodiness turns out to be a bit too much to handle.
In the comics world, there are plenty of stories of Superman being a menace to the world instead of a help. Only this fall, DC Comics’ DC House of Horror anthology special kicked off the Halloween festivities with a 10-page story in which Superman proves to be an alien monster child with terrible powers who immediately murders the Kents and soars off to menace the world.
Brightburn will hit theaters on May 29.