James Gunn Thinks Brightburn Is a Perfect Memorial Day Movie

The mask from Brightburn, and the boy who wears it.
The mask from Brightburn, and the boy who wears it.
Image: Sony/Entertainment Weekly

Brightburn, produced by James Gunn, is a dark take on superhero mythology. What if Superman wasn’t a nice, innocent, helpful child, but instead absolutely terrifying?

The moral of the story, says director David Yarovesky, according to Entertainment Weekly, is simple, and not exactly a spoiler. “Maybe adopting an alien baby you find in the woods isn’t the best idea,” he said.

And James Gunn, for his part, thinks that the horror movie, which was delayed from last year to May 2019, is actually a great Memorial Day movie. “Who doesn’t want to see an alien child on a murderous rampage as we begin our summer?” he said.


It’s a good question, and Gunn, Yarovesky, and crew have put a lot of work in to make sure that’s appealing entertainment, able to reach a level of iconicism that rivals the superhero and horror franchises it’s cribbing from. “I just gave so many notes on [the mask],” Gunn told EW, referring to the mask worn by the young, dangerous protagonist, played by Jackson A. Dunn. “[Trying] to create a really truly iconic horror movie character in the same way that Freddy Krueger is, or in the same that way that Leatherface is, or in the same way that Jason is. Trying to create something with that same sort of feel that is instantly scary [and] plays with the superhero-ness of it all but at the same time is most definitely rooted in horror.”

That mask, created by costume designer Autumn Steed, is undoubtedly set to be a centerpiece of the film. And we’ll find out on Memorial Day if it is able to elevate this super-horror hybrid into solid holiday entertainment.

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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Accompanying himself on the 10 gallon plastic pickle tub

I feel like I’e already read the “What if Superman Were Evil” comic a million times. Every 3rd rate comic writer thinks he has his own spin on it, but 3 issues in they’ve usually written themselves into a corner.
Even in this, which looks good, what’s the drama? The kid kills everybody. Nothing can stop him. The end.

The most interesting thing about Superman is that he doesn’t turn evil. Which is what most people would do. He’s given unlimited power and he actually uses it for good. It’s a valuable lesson about how we view power, responsibility and privilege. That’s the most unusual thing about the story and why it’s so enduring.

EDIT: It also says something that they’ve taken one of the most powerful and important immigrant stories, about how we should welcome people different than us with open arms and teach them to value each other because they can make us all stronger as w hole, is now turned into “Don’t take in strange people. They could be evil and kill you all!”