Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An alien boy lands on earth and is taken in by a childless couple who raise him as their own. And then once Clark Ke - sorry, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) hits puberty, he discovers he has powers. But where Brightburn takes a turn for the different, is when Brandon doesn’t use his powers for good. Instead, he goes round killing people.
Granted, it’s a promising ‘what if’ premise, albeit one spun almost entirely from the same yarn as Superman. A particularly bleak premise as well. Because there’s nothing one could do about someone like Brandon. To him, we’re all just bugs that don’t even stand a fighting chance. But as it turns out, Brightburn fizzles out faster than a lit candle after a burrito fest.
It’s frustrating enough to bear witness how everyone - from the local sheriff to Brandon’s guidance counselor and especially his parents - is particularly slow on the uptake that something is not quite right with Brandon. But what really brings this movie down is how its makers seem unsure of where to go next once Brandon discovers his dark side. Sure, he kills a few people. Then what? It’s a question that screenwriters Brian and Mark Gunn (respectively brother and cousin of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn) apparently never bothered asking.