Elizabeth Banks Stars In The Darkest Superhero Movie And It’s Streaming For Free

Elizabeth Banks stars in Brightburn, now available to stream for free on Tubi.

By Chad Langen | Updated

elizabeth banks

Despite its unique take on the superhero genre and strong performances from stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, and Jackson A. Dunn, Brightburn was overlooked by audiences when it arrived in theaters back in 2019. Thanks to streaming, however, the James Gunn-produced supervillain slasher flick has gained somewhat of a cult following since its release. According to FlixPatrol, the horror film is currently streaming for free on Tubi, making it easily accessible for viewers who may have missed it in theaters.

In the film, a young boy named Brandon Breyer is adopted by a couple after they find him crash-landed in their backyard. However, as Brandon grows older, he begins to exhibit superman abilities that are beyond his control. As he struggles to understand his powers, he begins to use them for malevolent purposes, causing havoc and destruction wherever he goes.

The cast of Brightburn is led by Elizabeth Banks, who plays the role of Tori Breyer, Brandon’s adoptive mother. David Denman plays the role of Kyle Breyer, Tori’s husband and Brandon’s adoptive father. Meanwhile, Jackson A. Dunn delivers an outstanding performance as Brandon Breyer, the disturbed and vicious anti-hero of the movie.

The relationship between Elizabeth Banks and David Denman’s characters is undoubtedly one of the main driving forces of the movie. Their chemistry brings depth and nuance to their characters’ relationship. Additionally, Banks gives a stunning portrayal of a mother trying to protect her son while coming to terms with his dark nature.

Of course, the most interesting aspect of Brightburn is the way it explores the darker side of superhero mythology. The Elizabeth Banks-led film subverts the traditional hero’s journey narrative and instead shows us what happens when someone with god-like powers doesn’t use them for good. While the Michael B. Jordan-led Chronicle also delved into the psychological effects of gaining superpowers, that found footage flick, directed by Josh Trank, isn’t nearly as graphic as Brightburn.

Speaking of the film’s graphic nature, the use of practical effects and gore make for a refreshing change from the CGI-heavy superhero films that typically dominate the box office. The violence and horror in Elizabeth Banks’ Brightburn are certainly not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, they serve a purpose in the story, emphasizing the danger of having such immense power without the moral compass to use it responsibly.

elizabeth banks

Still, despite the film’s unique take on the Superman origin story, Brightburn received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. Although Elizabeth Banks’ performance as the mother of the film’s troubled protagonist was widely praised, with many critics noting her ability to bring emotional depth and complexity to her character, others criticized the movie’s dark and disturbing themes. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a score of 57 percent from professional critics, with an audience score of 67 percent.

Brightburn was produced by James Gunn before he was tapped by DC to lead its cinematic universe. The filmmaker might be best known for writing and directing the Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel Studios. Gunn’s involvement with Brightburn initially led fans to believe the horror movie was set in the same universe as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s too bad Brightburn couldn’t be marketed under the Marvel umbrella, as it may have attracted more attention and brought in a larger audience. Instead, due to a lack of major marketing, the Elizabeth Banks-led feature had a modest box office performance, grossing a mere $32 million globally on a reported budget of $6 to $12 million. Fortunately, while the movie didn’t break any records, its relatively low budget ensured that it was profitable.

Although the idea of an evil Superman is not a new concept, as several other movies and TV shows have explored this idea in the past, Brightburn is undoubtedly as grotesquely violent as they come. Thanks to the streaming platform Tubi, you can easily catch the dark and twisted superhero flick without paying a dime (you will have to sit through some advertisements). Directed by David Yarovesky from a script by Brian and Mark Gunn, the film stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Abraham Clinkscales, Jennifer Holland, Emmie Hunter, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Terrence Rosemore, Christian Finlayson, Becky Wahlstrom, Gregory Alan Williams, and Annie Humphrey.