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Played by Rainn Wilson, Frank is a pleasant, alarmingly naïve schlub whose life (and psyche) falls to pieces when his wife (Liv Tyler), a recovering drug addict, is lured back into her old life by a local wannabe gangster (Kevin Bacon). It's not just the betrayal that breaks him, nor the knowledge that she's almost certainly being used as a chemically-sedated sex slave, but the (to him) baffling lack of justice. He's clearly a Good Guy, Bacon is clearly a Bad Guy ... so how did "good" love to "evil?"

Frank is a simple man, beaten down by real life's refusal to conform to his childlike moral outlook, and like many such people in such situations he turns to religion - or rather prayer in the general sense - for answers. But instead of finding God, he finds The Holy Avenger, a campy, low-budget Christian kiddie show (a wicked satire of the depressingly quite real Bible Man franchise) in which a costumed crimefighter (Nathan Fillion) metes out justice and bumper sticker moralisms.

"The character [Holy Avenger] was there from that very first draft - he's based on Bible Man ... I think Bible Man is hilarious. I originally wrote the role thinking of Bruce Campbell, but since then I've become good friends with Nathan and he's perfect for the role. Every role I give him he goes above and beyond."

- James Gunn, on The Holy Avenger

In a very real way, that his spiritual awakening and/or psychotic break is triggered by a cut-rate religious screed that's only incidentally about a superhero is the key both to Frank and to Super in general. Frank doesn't have any fanboy dreams to live out, it's not the costumed-fetishism or ever the power fantasy of superheroes that calls out to him - it's their simplistic, black-and-white, good-triumphs-over-evil, wrongdoing-is-punished, status-quo-is-restored moral outlook.

"This was a very difficult movie to shoot - a normal movie you have 15 to 20 setups a day, we were doing 45 to 50."

- James Gunn, on Super's tight 24 day shooting-schedule

Maybe if he'd watched a different show, Frank D'Arbo might've joined the priesthood, or the army, or Dianetics, but he believes his "calling from God" came through The Holy Avenger, so Frank D'Arbo transforms himself into The Crimson Bolt, a D.I.Y. superhero in red padding and tights who patrols his city by night, bellowing his mantra of "SHUT UP, CRIME!", protecting Good and fighting Evil ...

... by beating people nearly to death with a pipe wrench. That's basically his only weapon, and The Crimson Bolt is not a big fan of proportionate punishment. He brutally caves in the skulls of not only muggers, drug dealers and child molesters, but also the merely rude and socially-unmannered. It is a bad idea, for example, to cut in line if The Crimson Bolt is within walking distance of his wrench and uniform.

"I think that we go around, we see these big superhero movies - we see them bashing people, knocking people out, blowing things up, lasering each other ... we don't really see the physical ramifications of that. Super is all about seeing the repercussions - we see what's on the other end of that."

- James Gunn, on superhero movies

Helping to further set Wilson's sad-sack-on-a-mission apart from the rest of the genre is co-star Ellen Page, who enters the story as the comic shop clerk who helps Frank with his "research" and begs her way into sidekick-hood as "Boltie" once she discovers that he's The Crimson Bolt.

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