James Gunn, USA
With respect to James Gunn's superhero movie career, he will probably be forever known for his (ongoing) work on Guardians of the Galaxy. But rewind a few years, and you get the superhero movie he should really be remembered for. Super might not be the most polished or crafty display of Gunn's filmmaking abilities, but it's perfect just the way it is. If you consider the proposition of a normal human being donning a costume and mask to 'fight crime', the result should be equal parts messy and ridiculous. And that's exactly what you get with Super. Taking the super power element out of the equation, you get a world that most comic book readers would actually find themselves in should their dreamworld become a reality. And this is by no means a jab at fans of comics, as I'm part of that camp as well, and the reasonable part of me understands that anyone who actually dons a cape to become a vigilante crime fighter is probably a bit crazy. Not necessarily crazy in a bad way, but crazy nonetheless. Enter Rainn Wilson and his Crimson Bolt alter ego, and you get someone who fits that profile just so damn perfectly. His inner turmoil and socially distorted backstory is irrevocably appropriate for a self-proclaimed vigilante working in the real world. The story and characters are all a bit ridiculous, but how can it not be? Trying to be an actual superhero in the real world is not something normal people do, and that's why it's fitting that this is not your typical superhero movie. It's a strangely realistic take on the genre and one of the most fun I've had at a Midnight Madness TIFF screening. Ellen Page is pretty much good in anything, but this is by far my favourite performance from her. She's funny, awkward, sexy, inappropriate, and so many other things. Also, everyone got excited with Deadpool's R-rated status, but commercial profitabilities aside, Super carries that R-rating with much more purpose and bravos. It's no surprise that Guardians of the Galaxy was such an awesome joy ride (and I'm sure the same will be said of its sequel this summer) when you remind yourself that James Gunn already made a perfect superhero movie 4 years earlier. All he needs to do now, is bring either Rainn Wilson or Ellen Page (or both!) into the Marvel universe.