The world has been trained to believe that when an otherworldly being, like E.T. or Superman, arrives on Earth in a spaceship, it’s a good thing. The upcoming superhero horror film Brightburn has a much darker view of superheroes and their intentions.
The director of Brightburn, David Yarovesky, believes that the training the public has received over the years regarding superheroes is dangerous and wrong. “If a baby arrived on Earth in a spaceship, most people would think, ‘Oh, this is wonderful,”’ says Yarovesky. “If that happened in real life, most people, because of how they’ve been trained by what they’ve seen in comic books and films and on television, would think, ‘This must be Superman.’ I would call the police and tell everyone. To me, this would be a clear sign of an upcoming disaster.”
What if Superman came to Earth to destroy mankind, instead of help it? This scenario provides the basis for Brightburn, which tells the story of a husband and wife, Kyle (David Denman) and Tori Breyer (Elizabeth Banks), who decide to raise an otherworldly baby as their adopted son, whom they name Brandon. “This is a very bad decision,” says Yarovesky “They raise Brandon to be a decent, good young man, and his childhood is fairly uneventful except for the superpowers that he demonstrates, which Kyle and Tori, much like we saw with Superman and his adoptive parents, urge him to use for good purposes.”
When Brandon reaches his early teens, the temptation to use his powers for evil purposes becomes overwhelming for him. Brandon’s dark transformation is accompanied by the ominous-looking cape and costume he wears in the film. “Again, we’ve been trained, with Superman and so many other superheroes, to look at a cape as a symbol of goodness,” says Yarovesky. “In this film, it’s a symbol of evil, which I think is really going to be a shock to audiences. With this film, we wanted to redefine the reality of what superpowers represent in our world. When you see the cape in this film, it means that you need to run. A cape is bad.”
Yarovesky says that his mistrust of superheroes was born at an early age. “I look at this film as being my story, in a way, because I’ve always been so pessimistic about the concept of superheroes,” says Yarovesky. “This set me apart from the kids at school, who believed in and loved superheroes when I was growing up. I’ve always found the idea of superpowers, and especially the image of a superhero in a cape and costume, to be very scary, and that’s represented in this film. I’ve always had a difficult time accepting the idea that an otherworldly figure with superpowers was likely to be altruistic. I think people, especially those who have grown up believing in superheroes, are going to lose their minds when they watch this film and see how we’ve taken the concept of the cape and costume and turned it into something so dark and evil.”
Brightburn arrives in theaters on May 24, 2019.