B1 Intermediate US 93 Folder Collection
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The details may be different, but make no mistake, Brightburn is a reimagining of Superman's
origin story, asking what would've happened to Clark Kent if the emergence of his powers
made him lose his marbles.
The answer is a lot of carnage, with the promise of more to come.
In the newer DC movies, Superman is known to say that the S symbol on his chest stands
for "hope”.
That detail makes it quite chilling to consider the possible meanings of the symbol Brandon
leaves at the scene of his crimes.
Just like Superman's "S" most obviously stands for "Superman," Brandon's symbol
seems to be his initials: "Brandon Breyer."
It could also stand for the town's name, "Brightburn," which eventually becomes the superhero-like
name Brandon is known by.
But the symbol also serves two less obvious purposes.
First, it hints that Brandon's instability isn't necessarily as new to him as the emergence
of his super powers.
We see the drawing scrawled all over his notebook, suggesting he's been fixating on this ominous
symbol for a long time.
Second, it acts as a tribute to the old comic book trope of giving characters first and
last names starting with the same letter, or in the case of Clark Kent, the same consonant
sound: characters like Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Peter Parker, and so on.
"Those are really good alliterations."
"I don't want to talk alliterations!"
You know Brandon is entering his instant kill mode when he slips a creepy face mask over
his head.
You might wonder why Brandon does that, since mask-wearing is one of the few superhero tropes
you can't trace back to Superman.
He's always been more of a glasses guy.
"See he doesn't really want to hurt anybody."
While Brandon does take some precautions to conceal his identity, that eventually seems
to have little to do with the mask.
When he attacks his family members, Brandon dons the mask even though it's clear his victims
know who he is.
So why does he wear it?
Firstly, it's creepy and looks cool.
Second, Superman didn't wear a mask, and that may be the point, setting Brandon visually
apart from the Man of Steel.
Most importantly, it sets Brandon apart from us.
One of the most telling moments in Brightburn comes when Brandon tells his aunt Merilee
that he's "superior."
His mask is his way of telling his victims that even though he doesn't look like an alien,
he is something different, and they should be afraid.
Why Brandon ends the life of his father Kyle isn't much of a mystery.
In a misguided effort to stop his son before he can kill again, Kyle shoots Brandon in
the back of the head while the boy is distracted on a hunting trip.
Unfortunately, Brandon is as bulletproof as his Kryptonian inspiration, and there's
no coming back from that betrayal.
The death of Brandon's mother Tori is different.
What's most telling is the way Brandon kills her.
After she attempts to stab him with a shard of metal from his spaceship, he carries her
above the clouds and lets go, allowing her to fall to the ground and die.
Throughout Brightburn, Tori defends Brandon in spite of mounting evidence of his crimes.
Even before she tries to kill him with a weapon she knows he's vulnerable to, her words
of love and trust in him ring true.
Tori is the last human Brandon has any faith in.
Even though he knows he's literally a different species, on some level he wants Tori to be
like him, perhaps so he won't be so alone.
When he flies her into the sky and lets go, it can almost be seen as a kind of a test.
Maybe he doesn't want her to fall, maybe he wants her to fly alongside him, proving
once and for all that she truly is his "real" mother.
When she predictably plummets to her death, it's almost like a final confirmation to Brandon
of how deeply alone he is.
Right after killing his mother, Brandon causes a passenger jet to crash down on the Breyer
residence, killing everyone on board.
We never see exactly what he does in his attack.
First we see the jet heading toward him, and then we cut to the next morning, when FBI
agents are picking through the wreckage.
Brandon is eating a cookie while resting in the back of an ambulance, looking as innocent
as can be.
The most practical reason for Brandon destroying the plane is to hide his crimes.
But there's also a more symbolic reason, Brightburn begins with a crash and ends with a crash.
When Brandon's spaceship crashes on the Breyer property in the beginning of the film, a kindly
couple saves his life and raises him as their own.
Years later, Brandon causes a crash on the same property; not only does he not save anyone,
he makes sure everyone dies.
It's a message to the world that the mercy his parents showed him when he was a baby
will not be reciprocated.
Brightburn ends with news reports from the not-too-distant future showing that Brandon's
not done with his path of destruction.
We see huge buildings falling from his assaults, as the news media begins referring to the
strange flying phenomenon over Brightburn by the shortened name of simply "Brightburn."
But while the montage starts with more traditional media outlets, it ends on the loony fringes,
focusing on a video broadcast from a conspiracy theorist played by Michael Rooker called the
Big T. The program shows footage of Brightburn's destruction and urges viewers to wake up and
take the threat seriously.
But Brightburn isn't the only threat he mentions.
The broadcaster also makes reference to a half-man, half-fish entity that's reportedly
taking out boats in the South China Sea.
He also tells us about a so-called "witch woman" who's supposedly strangling people
to death with her rope.
After what we've seen at this point, it's clear that these aren't Big T's fantasies.
If he kept going we'd probably hear about a half-man, half-bat and a man who moves so
fast no one can see him.
While this whole sequence could be a setup for a sequel about a veritable Legion of Real-Life
Doom, it also works as a nod to the comics that inspired the film.
More than anything, it helps to seal in Brightburn's biggest message, that in a different light,
our greatest heroes can also be our worst nightmares.
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The Ending Of Brightburn Explained

93 Folder Collection
Angel Hsu published on July 29, 2019
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