What would happen if Kal-El, Krypton’s last son, instead of growing up to become a legendary superhero, had become a sadistic megalomaniac killer?That’s the question director David Yarovesky used as a reference for his first feature film in Hollywood, by the hand of producer James Gunn known for his directorial work in Guardians of the Galaxy. The name of the movie? Kind of interesting, Brightburn .
But Brightburn is far from the narrative tone of a superhero movie, exhibiting a darker tone of suspense, terror and tragedy, kind of similar to Brian de Palma’s Carrie, in 1976.
Now, if this narrative style left you with one or another question, or one or two questions, do not worry, because now we will analyze this movie deeply.
1 | Does Brightburn have post-credits scenes?
Well – short answer – no. The long answer is yes, there are scenes, but not post-credits, but pre-credits, that is after the official end of the movie, but before the credits – others would call it simply an epilogue. But what does this epilogue mean?
In these scenes we see a lot of news flashes. In the first one, it is reported that Brandon Breyer is the only survivor from his family, after the tragic events at the end. Then we see how the strange figure seen in the Brightburn skies is reported, but not to save people from burning buildings, but to destroy buildings including people and flames. And finally we see a video from a conspiracy youtube channel talking about how this strange figure everyone calls Brightburn is nothing but a sign of the end of times.
These scenes indicate Brandon finally fell to his destiny as an antithesis of Superman and that instead of saving the world, he will end up destroying it. Unless…
2 | Who is Brandon Breyer and where does he come from?
Since Sony release the first trailer of Brightburn on December 2018 – comparisons with Superman’s origins have been inevitable, with the twisted twist that in this film, the child adopted by farmers does not turn out to be a legendary superhero, but a murderer. But after seeing the movie itself, and taking distance from the trailers, who or what exactly is Brandon Breyer? Who are his parents and what is their origin? Well, here we have a couple of ideas.
Like Jonathan and Martha Kent – Save Martha … – Kyle and Tori Breyer find a baby in a strange artifact, baby they call Brandon. They adopt him as their own son and eventually get to understand that the boy has extraordinary powers.
Although the similarity with Superman impels us to believe immediately that Brandon is an extraterrestrial being – with the addition of some kind of meteor in the sky shown in the trailer – the truth is that there are too many hints in the film that indicate that Brandon is not an extraterrestrial .
2.1 The way they found it
In the opening scene of the film, Tori hears or feels a vibration after which, she and Kyle observe a bright light coming from the forest. The taking over the light gives no indication of a collision of an object with the earth. And although the moment as such is not shown in the film, if we see it as a nightmare that Kyle has later on the tape. There, what they recognize as a ship is next to a tree, there is not a crater and the tree and the surrounding vegetation is intact.
In the movie, the shot we saw in the trailer of the bright object in the sky does NOT appear, and Brandon’s parents always refer to him, not as having fallen from the sky, but as something they found in the forest.
2.2 | The story of the wasps
Even more, the film gives a strong indication the first time we see Brandon as a teenager. When the teacher asks what is the difference between bees and wasps, Brandon points out that although they are physically similar, while bees are pollen collectors, the wasps are predators, that there is even a special type of wasp – the cuckoo wasps – that do not make nests, but they lodge their eggs, in the nests of other wasps, and their larvae eat not only the food reserved for the original baby wasps, but also eliminate them.
Here it gives us to understand that any species that Brandon, it is something very similar to humans, that developed those abilities by some process of natural selection, and maybe its purpose is to infiltrate with a child specimen – Brandon – to finally take possession of the world, the nest of humans.
2.3 | The ship (?)
But the strangest thing of all the matter is the ship itself. Or what the Breyers and we as spectators assume is a ship. This device does not exhibit travel characteristics and does not seem to work with technology, but with a kind of supernatural or even magical power, which is what in fact transforms Brandon from a tender boy, to a megalomaniac assassin.
2.4 | Where does it come from then?
My theory, that I do not know how crazy it may sound, is that Brandon belongs to a species of humans that at some point was trapped in some dimension or parallel world, whose climatic or environmental characteristics must be very different from our Earth.
This alternative species found a way to cross one of them to this plane, with the firm intention of subjugating the world, and very likely to bring their entire horde. It is also possible that Brandon has been genetically designed for this work, and within that genetic programming, the possibility of controlling it through the artifact.
Another alternative could be that Brandon was created in some strange ritual, fulfilling some strange prophecy, and that the «ship» is simply a ceremonial device.
And finally, the most obvious and least exciting option is that it really is an extraterrestrial. If that happens to be the case, there they will have serious problems with Warner Brothers for the rights of the character. There will be blood.
3 | What are all the powers of Brandon Breyer? Are his powers identical to Superman’s?
In order to answer this question, let’s first analyze what powers are exhibited by each of the characters and then compare:
3.1 | What powers does Superman have?
The list of powers of the last son of Krypton includes:
- Superhuman strength.
- Bodily invulnerability.
- X-ray vision.
- Vision of Heat.
- Superhuman hearing.
- Infinite breath containment.
- Freezing breath
- Superhuman speed.
3.2 What powers does Brandon Breyer have?
After reaching puberty, Brandon begins to discover his new powers. Trying to use a mower, he finds out he has Superhuman Strength , and then when he reaches into the blades of the device he discovers that he has Bodily Invulnerability . Then he discovers that he is capable of Flying , and moving to Superhuman Speeds . And one of its characteristics that curiously makes it more gloomy is his ability to use its vision of heat, which in fact used to open the vault Caitlyn’s mother cafeteria.
Also very interesting – perhaps as a way to exacerbate the suspense in the last act of the tape – Brandon does not possess an extraordinary development of his senses, that is, he has NO superhuman vision – including x-ray vision – or superhuman hearing. The film does not show if Brandon has the ability to survive without breathing, and to focus his breath, to the point of freezing as Superman.
Now, something additional is that both the artifact and Brandon himself seem to have a kind of electromagnetic pulse , which would explain why electricity is destabilized when they go into action.
4 | What weaknesses does Brandon Breyer have compared to Superman?
Superman, despite his status as a fundamental hero, has many weaknesses, for example, the best known kryptonite , but in addition to that, Superman is also vulnerable to magic , electricity , prolonged darkness , and nuclear impacts .
While the film also does not show if Brandon Breyer is vulnerable to magic, electricity, or nuclear impacts, it definitely does not seem that darkness can diminish his powers at all, as is the case with Superman, although this might not be completely true. The only weakness Brandon demonstrates is the material from which the artifact in which he was found is made, what some have called his ship.
5 | Is Brandon’s nature to be evil?
As Tori claims at the beginning of the movie, Brandon was not a problem or violent boy, in fact he was a loving, attentive, and very studious child. So, what happened?
In this we must consider two fundamental elements, the influence of the artifact and Brandon’s upbringing. In the first act of the film it is remarkable how the artifact in which the Breyers found the boy in the forest begins to emit a series of electromagnetic pulses that in fact mark the beginning of his descent into madness. But the fact that a being is biologically determined to act in a way does not necessarily imply that it MUST act as such. A very everyday example, cats.
Domestic cats are genetically identical to wild cats and wild cats are extremely aggressive creatures. In fact, it has been shown that if domestic cats are left alone in a wild environment, eventually even in the same generation, they develop the whole behavioral pack of wild cats.
Thus, although Brandon had been biologically conditioned to be a predator, that does not indicate that he had no choice and this is where the environmental component is of the utmost importance.
As with many of today’s children and young people – in the Western world – Brandon’s parents CONSTANTLY tell him he is destined for great things, that he can be everything he wants and that it’s totally ok to think that way. Clark Kent, in all his incarnations, has adoptive parents who, although they love him, constantly put limits, responsibilities and show him the consequences of their actions.
Brandon’s parents, especially his mother, tend to be incredibly overprotective, even defending the boy after breaking the hand of a fellow student. Brandon, like many children who grow up today, is not faced with the notion of consequences and responsibilities and above all, has a grandiloquent notion of himself exacerbated by his parents. More specifically, to believe that the world owes them something.
6 | Brightburn, Ending Explained
At the end of the film we see how Brandon, after committing parricide, by using his vision of heat on his adoptive father, tries to seek refuge with his mother. However, she calls the police. Brandon begins to destroy his house using his flight, his super speed and his invulnerability, using himself as a missile to take down the house in which he grew up.
When the police arrive, Brandon murders the two agents, trying to find his mother. Tori manages to escape to the barn where the ship is hidden, and there separates one of the pieces of the artifact where the boy was found in the forest, knowing that this material had previously cut him.
When Brandon arrives at the barn, Tori tells her that she is sure that he is not entirely evil, Brandon seems to agree, moment that Tori takes advantage of to try to stab her adopted son with the metal of the artifact, however, Brandon is faster and he stops her, then he uses his flight to take her high into the atmosphere and drop her. There, we see a plane going in Brandon’s direction. Then we see that same airplane all crashed on Breyer Farm. Indeed a tragic conclusion of all these events, but what does they mean?
First, by killing his father, Brandon begins his final descent into megalomania. At the beginning of the film, the boy only hurt others reactively, not actively. Kyle, trying to be a good father, tells Brandon that it‘s okay to have lustful thoughts with girls and that it’s normal, to spend time alone with them. What Kyle forgot to tell Brandon is that it must be done with the consent of the girl in question.
Brandon, trying to understand the words badly delivered by his adoptive father ended up snooping into Caitlyn’s room. The terrified girl let him kiss the ground in a sports class, which provoked the teasing of his classmates. Brandon in retaliation, broke Caitlyn’s hand. This is where the disaster begins.
Caitlyn’s mother, in addition to humiliating the boy, prevents her daughter from speaking to him again. Brandon, alienated by the constant words of his family that he deserves everything, sees this as an unforgivable affront and murders the woman in the cafeteria.
As part of the consequences he must face for assaulting Caitlyn, Brandon goes to therapy with his aunt, who then tells him that she must inform the police of what happened. Brandon, afraid of being linked to Erica’s death, threatens his aunt and leaves her with a warning, the death of her husband Noah.
This chain of tragedies indicates that Brandon does not think clearly, and that he is seriously disturbed. When Kyle finds the shirt with Noah’s blood, he decides it’s time to eliminate Brandon. When the boy survives the shot in the head that his adoptive father gives him, the boy understands that definitively the human beings are a danger for him, initiating his final descent committing parricide.
Then, seeing that his mother tried to do the same, the disconnection is total. When he murdered Tori, the only being that showed him unconditional affection, it is clear to him that the only relationship he will have with the world is blood, destruction and death. But to do it he will have to do it incognito. He does not need to call attention more than necessary.
Brandon proves with the plane that his skills are indeed extraordinary, and by throwing it right to his former home, not only covers the murder of his mother and the two policemen, but also destroys the symbol of the limits that marked his childhood.He is no longer destined to be a farmer of a small town without a future, he is destined to be the future. From there, their actions are no longer simple reactions and become perverse actions.
The clear and concise message of this film is to be very careful with the messages that are delivered to the children during their upbringing. Brandon understood all the messages as a free pass to be what his impulses dictated, to take what he believes belongs to him and to feel special, above others. Alert, modern parents, deliver the wrong message to your offspring and they might end up doing to you the same thing Brandon did to Kyle and Tori, even if they do not have those superpowers.
7 | What does the symbol drawn by Brandon Breyer in Brightburn mean?
Remember when we – as children – wanted to have a distinctive symbol with our initials? Well, that’s exactly what Brandon Breyer does with that symbol: merge the two initials of his name into a single distinctive logo. Then he uses that symbol as a signature of his numerous crimes, including a plane crash.
Now, there may be a more subliminal interpretation of the matter. The runic alphabet contains a rune called gyfu that is even available in Unicode in this way:
It is not difficult to imagine this symbol rotated 90 degrees, and with a vertical line in between, to produce exactly the Brandon symbol. This symbol means gift and it is very interesting that gift is the word Tori uses the most to refer to his adopted son. The vertical line that crosses the symbol could be explained as the negation of it, that is, Brandon, far from being a gift, turns out to be a threat.
8 | There will be a sequel for Brightburn?
First of all, this depends on how the box office behaves, but even there the expectations are very good. Brightburn has a budget of 7 million dollars, and Hollywood generally gives immediate green light to films that in their first weekend quadruple the budget. That is, if Brightburn reaches 28 million dollars in its premiere weekend, the sequel is insured.
It is not in the world of the impossible. A movie with a similar tone, Glass, reached 40 million dollars, and here we are talking about a subversion of the superhero classic, which will ultimately generate, at least curiosity in the audience.
Now, more interesting STILL is that the movie is only 90 minutes long, and that one of the names that appears in the list of the cast, do not appear on the screen. We are talking about Christian Finlayson who appears credited as Fauxhawk.
Here it seems that the original version of Brightburn had an antagonist for Brandon just as powerful as he is, another boy of his same age who calls himself Fauxhawk. However, maybe Sony decided to cut all references to that character to save it for a second part, and leave the first just as an introduction to Brandon- a quite dark introduction.
So Sony, could have in Brightburn a beginning not only of a saga for the character of Brandon Breyer, but also a whole fullo saga of supervillains, antithesis of the heroes we are used to see on screen. Everything then depends on the ticket office.
Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Ending Explained, here on El Sabanero X.