Brightburn has just hit the UK cinemas, and you can read the Ready Steady Cut review here. I for one like to think every film has positives and negatives; the task now is to break down Brightburn, to see if I can find the brightest sparks and burn the weakest points.
There will be major spoilers in this article, this is your warning.
Up 1: The Mask
Brandon creates a mask for when he commits the crimes. His choice revolves around a full balaclava with a nose piece that almost looks like a trunk. It does make us believe that he has made this himself, and it does show everything that comes out from his darker intentions, willing to hide his face from the world.
Down 1: Who buys a 12-year-old a gun?
When Brandon is celebrating his 12th birthday, his Uncle Noah gives him a hunting rifle. Now, this is clearly not a gift any child should be receiving and his father Dylan gives the perfect reaction. The other major thing to notice from this moment comes from the idea that this is when he first starts reacting to anything in his life, with his powers starting to be unlocked. This scene also proves that Dylan and Tori have switched from the normal, whereas it would be the father that is laidback and the mother reacting, they bring a new twist on this. It is a scene we don’t need though because it does show how easy buying and gifting a gun can be.
Up 2: Brandon’s Last Hug
Brandon has just unleashed his full strength on his family, Tori is trying to keep her son’s trust only to go for a swing that could kill him, stopping his rampage. Brandon stops this and launches straight up with his mother, this last hug will show the last remaining human side that Brandon has, just as he lets her go, falling to her death. This scene is one of the most emotional for Brandon because every other kill shown in Brightburn has little to no emotional factor to him.
Down 2: No Sign of Good
This is one of the biggest weaknesses of Brightburn overall. We don’t get a single hint that Brandon could use these abilities for good. He talks a lot about wanting to be good to his mother, but no action he does comes remotely close. The closest that we get is giving the classmate he injured a couple of flowers as a way to say sorry. This isn’t enough to save the good side of his actions. If this is completely about the opening moment of a potential hero or villain being born, this lack of direction doesn’t help us ever believe he would be able to be saved.
Up 3: Noah’s Car Trip
When Uncle Noah comes home after a couple of drinks, he finds Brandon hiding in his wardrobe. He plans to take him home, only to find himself being chased down by a fired up Brandon. While this does seem like a normal routine, we get some of the best comical moments going on through Brightburn here. When Noah’s car stops, he sees Brandon floating in front of him, he just reacts like “nope.” This simple line shows us how any normal person would react to seeing Brandon or any person floating in from of them. The scene does end with the murder of Noah, with one of the most graphic moments of the film, with Brandon using Noah’s blood to leave his mark at the scene.
Down 3: The wrist snap having no consequences
One of the first moments in Brightburn where Brandon does hurt somebody comes from what he does to his classmate Caitlyn while being helped up in front of the class. He just holds and snaps her wrist. This incident has a class full of witnesses including the teacher and he gets a TWO-DAY SUSPENSION. This isn’t right, he should be facing criminal charges, this is aggravated assault that especially in America would force Caitlyn’s family into a ridiculously high medical bill, and he got a two-day suspension. This mostly frustrates me because we have seen in other films students punished for their actions which haven’t ever hit this level of damage and he barely gets anything.
What were some of the Ups & Downs you found in Brightburn?
Darren starting writing for films at Movies Reviews 101. He joined the Ready Steady Cut team in 2018 and is a proud member of the LAMB (Large Association of movie bloggers).