When it comes to James Gunn's early work, a lot of people would probably suggest 'Slither' as being the cult hit of his past. However, he did have another that doesn't get referred to nearly as much (probably because it's his lowest-ranked title), and that's 'Super'. I still think that it has its following, but its timing is extremely unfortunate.
When you watch this, it's basically a cross between 'Kick-Ass'; released the same year and infinitely better, and 'Defendor', released a year prior and also often seen as much better. The thing 'Super' had working for it more than anything else seemed to be its cast of familiar faces. Again, at the time, James Gunn was still a pretty fresh face, so his name didn't mean a whole hell of a lot quite yet. In other words, to be fair, this isn't about to be equated to 'Guardians' or the latest 'Suicide Squad'. This is a little more on-par in quality to 'Slither'. Perhaps even a bit less.
Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson) lives a life of insecurity and refers to the two best moments of his life for inspiration. First and most important is his marriage to his wife, Sarah (Liv Tyler), and second, was pointing out a perp's location to a cop, thus illustrating his interest in crime-fighting, or at least, the law. His humility is a little overwhelming, however, causing Sarah to leave him for a club owner named Jacques (Kevin Bacon). Frank sees this as more a kidnapping than a loss, however, and wants to get Sarah back one way or another. It doesn't help at all that Sarah is a recovering drug addict and this Jacques character seems to have plenty of them.
Soon, Frank has a vision in which he's visited by the Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion), who pretty much tells him that he should become a superhero. Due to the messenger being the Holy Avenger, Frank takes this as a message from God, and does his research on powerless heroes at a local comic store. With the help of comic store clerk, Libby (Elliot Page), and her suggestion for someone out there to become a superhero in real life, Frank takes to the streets as the Crimson Bolt. The thing is, his way of avenging society isn't exactly by the book. And as he quite literally tells crime to "shut up" with his pipe wrench, his mission to save his wife (who may or may not even want saving) remains his primary goal.
Between this being a black comedy that's almost too dark in its look at comedy, and being overshadowed by 'Defendor' (to be reviewed next) and 'Kick-Ass', it's sort of easy to see why this got swept under the rug. It is interesting, however, to remember this being sort of a big deal for a short time. In fact, this practically paralleled 'Defendor' in a "Coke/Pepsi" sort of way for a bit as the lesser-known "realistic" hero. It basically comes down to taste. Personally speaking, I find this one to be a lot sillier than 'Defendor', and the message at the end is a bit of a "wait a minute..." kind of message; one you need to second-guess. I wouldn't recommend any movie in this "real hero" category above 'Kick-Ass', myself. But like I said, this does have a cult following, so maybe it's another case of me just not wanting to be part of that cult.