The James Gunn-produced superhero horror movie Brightburn opened in theaters this weekend, offering audiences a terrifying tale that has drawn comparisons to the origin story of DC Comics Superman, just with an evil bent. Of course, while Brightburn isn't a Superman story, the human-looking alien at the center of the film isn't alone in his universe of sinister superpowereds -- including evil takes on Wonder Woman and Aquaman in the end-credits scene.
Spoilers for Brightburn below.
Brightburn tells the story of a young man who arrives on Earth as a baby and is discovered and taken in by a married couple. The couple raises the boy as their own, but as he grows older, he discovers that he has powers and is unlike anyone else on earth. As his powers emerged, others struggle to understand who he is. Unlike a more familiar superhero story, the boy doesn't lean into the idea of using his powers for good. Instead, the boy experiences some big changes and takes a terrifying turn who ends up a devastating, terrible force that cannot be contained.
After Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) wreaks havoc on the small town of Brightburn, Kansas -- including murdering both of his adoptive parents and managing to play himself off as an innocent, now-orphaned survivor, the movie's post-credits scene reveals Brandon as the masked "Brightburn" continuing his violence and terror against the human population. As things continue, an Alex Jones-style conspiracy theorist talk show host called The Big T (Michael Rooker) attempts to warn listeners about Brightburn and goes a bit further than the threat in Kansas. He makes reference to a "half man, half sea creature" in the ocean and a woman who strangles her victims with a rope -- descriptions that allude to Aquaman and Wonder Woman-like evil types in the "Brightburnverse".
This is starting to sound like the scariest not-Justice League ever, but while the characters have some similarities to popular DC Comics characters, it's important to note that they are not actually representations of the characters. It's an important detail, and according to Gunn, he didn't really encounter any issues regarding the character similarities largely because the concepts are pretty general.
"Well no, because there's a lot of similar stories that have been told in comic books over the years, from all sorts of different comic book publishers," Gunn told CinePop. "And I have a pretty good relationship with DC [laughs]."
Brightburn is in theaters now.