In my review of the marketing for Super back in 2011 I wrote:
The biggest thing this campaign has going for it is that it seems to share the same disturbed, quirky sense of humor that the movie apparently has. It seems to revel in making the audience uncomfortable. But it also presents a relatively straight-forward narrative for what appears to be a very subversive movie, so there’s the probability that some audiences who haven’t been tuned in to the buzz (and I’m not sure who they’d be since being tuned in to the buzz is the primary way people will likely know about it to begin with) there’s likely to be even more uncomfortableness in theaters.
If anything the campaign undersold the insane sense of humor the movie has. It’s even more outrageous and cynical and funny than the trailers and other elements let on, very much the work of a mind that wants to not only upset the apple cart but then burn it down and spit on the ashes. The marketing doesn’t even hint at plenty of story elements, particularly how unbalanced both Wilson’s and Page’s characters are since it just shows them doing something about it. But what motivates them is…wow.
What’s interesting to me is to think about this not only in the context of the big theatrical super hero adventures that have come and gone over the last 15 years in particular but also in terms of shows like “Daredevil” that present the same basic story but straight-faced. Where Daredevil presents the issue of whether or not to take up tights and vendettas in a straight moralistic way, Super does the same thing from an issue of mental stability. These characters are more than a little unhinged and seek out vigilantism as an outlet for that, not out of some noble ideal. This isn’t someone who’s been chosen through fate in some way, this is a straight-up nut job.
So while the marketing never really delves into that issue it present the idea of putting on tights and adopting a code name as something no sane person would do. But it was never really concerned with selling the story, so it’s largely a moot point. It was more concerned with selling a tone and sense of humor, which it did very well.