James Gunn's upcoming dark superhero film Brightburn has received an official R rating for its violence, among other things. Superhero movies have become a Hollywood staple over the last decade, and this year is no different. However, superheroes have recently started branching out into other genres too, such as horror. This is the case with Sony's upcoming film Brightburn, which will drastically change the narrative about Superman into a dark fantasy.
The dark superhero film was penned by Gunn's brother Brian and cousin Mark and will be directed by David Yarovesky. Gunn, who's producing the film, was originally going to present it at Sony's SDCC panel last summer, but this changed once Disney fired him from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Since then, Gunn has been brought back on board to helm the upcoming third entry in the popular Guardians of the Galaxy series, and Brightburn is scheduled to release next month. Much like the tale of Clark Kent, Brightburn starts off with an otherworldly child crash landing on earth, but as seen in the trailer, instead of protecting the planet he'll be its worst nightmare. The film will star Elizabeth Banks, Matt Jones, David Denman, Meredith Hagner, and Jackson A. Dunn. Stills from the movie have been released, allowing audiences to get a taste of what to expect from this dark Superman. Now, Gunn's upcoming revamped take on Superman has officially received an R rating.
The MPAA has announced that Brightburn is rated R for "horror violence/bloody images, and language." Gunn recently unveiled the terrifying poster for the film, and revealed an extended 3-minute trailer. Sony's most recent dark superhero film Venom managed to receive a PG-13 rating, but many expected and hoped for it to be the start of R rated superhero films from Sony. Hopefully, with Brightburn being rated R, this sparks a new trend for future Sony superhero movies to follow.
While Gunn isn't credited for penning the script, he did assist with developing the premise alongside his brother and cousin. And, while he's known today for his work with the cosmic team fans have come to love over the last few years, this isn't Gunn's first venture into horror. His most recent work was 2017's The Belko Experiment, which followed office workers being forced to "compete" in a sick social experiment that required them to kill in order to stay alive. In the past, Gunn penned Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, and directed 2006's Slither, a sci-fi/horror effort also starring Banks. So, while he may not have fully written the script for Brightburn, it'll be exciting to see how his influence led to this twisted take on Superman's mythology.
With the film set to arrive late next month, promotion for it should begin picking up the pace. So far, from what's been shown, it looks like this will be an interesting change of scenery for superhero movies, but time will tell if the movie is actually as good as it seems on paper. Borrowing tropes from classic evil kid horror movies and throwing in superhuman abilities certainly is a way to draw an audience. Hopefully, when Brightburn releases in theaters next month, it proves to be a successful cross between the genres.
- Brightburn (2019) release date: May 24, 2019