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I want to do good, Mom. I do.
~ Brightburn
Take the world!
~ Brightburn figuring out what the alien spaceship was saying to him in his native extraterrestrial dialect.

Brandon Breyer, otherwise better known as Brightburn, is the titular protagonist villain of the 2019 super villain horror film of the same name.

In a reversal of the typical Superman story, Brandon is an extraterrestrial who is sent to Earth with the sinister intentions of taking it over. He ends up crash landing in Brightburn, Kansas, where he is adopted by a couple unable to have children.

He was portrayed by Jackson A. Dunn in his first villainous role.

Biography

The alien baby that would become Brightburn arrived on Earth within a meteor that crash-landed near the home of a couple named Tori and Kyle Breyer in 2006. As the farm couple cannot conceive a child, they adopted the child as one of their own and named him Brandon, oblivious to the alien's dark nature. They also salvaged the remains of the meteor around that time, which turned out to be an alien ship.

As Brandon got older, he started to develop his abilities such as realizing he had superhuman strength. After attempting to return to the ship he arrived in, Brandon's mannerisms start to darken, making his adoptive parents conclude that something was wrong with him.

Tori later finds drawings that depict disturbing imagery. As he got older, Brandon developed a crush on one of his classmates named Caitlyn and he goes to her house and stalks her. Upon discovering that their chickens had been massacred and implicating Brandon as being responsible for it, Brandon began to be ostracized by his fellow classmates for being a creepy stalker. In a trust exercise, Caitlyn initially refuses to catch Brandon on the grounds of seeing him as a disturbed pervert. This culminates in him breaking her hand and he is then suspended for two days. Once more, Brandon tries to return to his spaceship and repeats the words "take the world" in his extraterrestrial language. It's implied that Brandon was sent by an imperialistic and evil alien race (his species) that destroys planets and eradicates peaceful races.

Brandon goes to see Caitlyn again only to realize that he was denied the opportunity by her mother. Angered, Brandon murders her mother at a diner. After her attempts at counseling her nephew failed, Merilee threatens to call the police to handle the situation only to be on the receiving end of these threats by Brandon. Her husband Noah later tries to inform his parents only to be gruesomely murdered in his car by the alien boy. Realizing what he had done, Kyle takes his adoptive son into the woods and shoots him in the back of the head. Unfortunately, Brandon is revealed to be immune to bullets, and he kills his adoptive father with his laser vision. Tori finds multiple drawings of the murders Brandon had committed and calls the police. When the police arrive, they are brutally murdered by the villain.

Tori manages to get to the spaceship, and she takes part of it to act as a shiv rationalizing that it must be her son's weakness. Embracing her son, Brandon picks up on what she attempted to do with a scrap of metal, and he takes her high into the Earth's atmosphere and drops her to her death. He also causes a plane wreck as a means of covering up his crimes. There were no survivors. This concludes with Brandon going on a murderous campaign and slaughtering numerous people worldwide and leveling cities. He was last seen alongside his dead parents looking innocent.

Personality

When he was a child, Brandon, despite being socially awkward, was a prodigious, quiet and nice boy. However, when he discovered his super abilities, his personality took a dramatic turn. He began to develop slowly a god complex, thinking himself superior to humans being and showing delusional tendencies, claiming he wants to do good with his acts. This is because he thinks humans are evil by nature. Brandon developed a crush on a classmate named Caitlyn but the fact he stalked her, so far he entered her room during a night, shows it is just perversion. Brandon also is extremely vengeful, shown when he broke Caitlyn's arm when she refused to help him in school because she knew he stalked her or murdering her mother for not wanting Brandon to have contact with Caitlyn. At the end, Brandon has become a sociopathic madman, lacking empathy, faking emotions when it suits him and with an absence of remorse.

Despite all of this, it is implied that Brandon' descent into villainy was partially influenced by his alien genetics. Also, the moment when he discovered the alien's ship, he walked to the farm like a somnambule and screamed in loud voice with eyes closed that he must take over this world, which strongly implies he was brainwashed by the ship. However, it is debatable if he was completely brainwashed or if he was just influenced by the message and decided willingly to become evil. He also truly cared about his parents, hiding his true nature in their presence and acting normally with them and attacked them only because they tried to kill him in the first place, albeit because at this point, they know Brandon was too dangerous to be left alive.

Powers and Abilities

Brandon is an incredibly powerful alien entity (who goes by Brightburn), with a multitude of potent, unstoppable and extremely lethal superhuman/supernatural powers and abilities:

  • Superhuman Strength: Brandon possesses immense superhuman strength, being able to lift objects as heavy and large as a pick-up truck and crush stone and metal almost instantly with his hands. Combined with his immense speed, Brandon can move so quickly that impacting a human results in them being utterly obliterated.
  • Superhuman Speed: Brandon can move at superhuman speeds, making him lethal and practically unstoppable. His mobility is enough for him to move behind someone from several feet away in mere seconds without making a sound and almost seem to be in multiple places at once.
  • Superhuman Agility: Brandon possesses abnormal amounts of agility, allowing him to move with inhuman precision wether on the ground or in flight. He notably was able to effortlessly cling to a corner of a ceiling while hiding from his uncle.
  • Flight: Brandon can levitate himself and fly through the air at superhuman speeds, being able to murder people violently whilst he is flying. He is also strong enough in flying to effortlessly fly far into the sky, well beyond the clouds.
  • Heat Vision: Brandon can emit powerful beams of fiery energy from his eyes, which he can burn and cut through almost anything like a blowtorch. When he uses this power, his normal blue eyes turn into a smoldering red, which he can alternatively use as a form of intimidation.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Brandon is immune to most physical harm, with the only thing that can harm him being the alien metal his ship made of. He discovered this by sticking his hand into the rotating blade of a lawnmower, crushing the blade in the process. When his father attempted to shoot him, the bullet only just bounced off his skin.
    • Superhuman Stamina: According to his adoptive father, Brandon has never fallen ill or been injured in his lifetime. This would mean his immune system is extremely advanced than those of the human race, rendering him immune to almost all forms of harm on Earth.
  • Telekinesis: Brandon displayed the ability to move objects around him seemingly without touching them, demonstrated through tearing a metal door he cut with his heat beams into half and causing a laptop to open by itself.
  • Technopathy: Brandon can influence the workings of technology at will. Other than telepathic link with his ship (through which its programming imprinted his sinister purpose on the planet) and causing electronics to malfunctions, it's unknown whether he can warp machinery around him.
  • Enhanced Intelligence: Brandon possesses superhuman intelligence, being one of the top 1% academic performers in the country, with science and mathematics being his main areas of knowledge and expertise.

Abilities

  • Charisma: Brandon is a charismatic and seemingly normal, albeit precocious young boy. This is to disguise his true evil and bloodthirsty colors, although, many are not fooled by his false charms.
  • Intimidation: Brandon possesses instinctual skill in intimidation, notably causing several chickens at his farm to becoming distressed at his presence. He primarily utilizes his inhuman speed to assist in terrifying his victims as he stalks them.
  • Stealth: Brandon's superhuman mobility, including his ability to fly, allow him to move silently and nearly invisibly to others. He uses this advantage to both hide from and stalk others with ease.

Weaknesses

  • Brandon's Spaceship: The alien metal on the ship he was sent to Earth on was shown at one point to be able to hurt Brandon, cutting his hand on it at one point. The metal from the ship could potentially be used to kill him, which his adoptive mother nearly succeeded in doing.

Victims

  • Twelve Chickens - Slaughtered by Brandon Breyer.
  • Erica Connor - Glass shard propelled into her eye, later disemboweled off-screen.
  • Noah McNichol - Dropped from the sky in his car, the impact breaking his lower jaw.
  • Kyle Breyer - Heat vision shot through his brain.
  • Sheriff Deever - Split in half.
  • Deputy Aryes - Continuously thrown and beaten against the ceiling and walls.
  • Tori Breyer - Dropped from the sky.
  • Two-hundred and sixty-eight plane occupants - Killed when Brightburn forced a plane to crash.
    • Total - 286

Gallery

Trivia

  • The concepts of Brightburn was explored in a 2017 DC comic, a Halloween special that had many short horror stories in an "else world" style - one of these stories had Superman re-imagined as an evil invader (named "Bump in the Night") - the short story even ends with the young Superman destroying the Kent farm and heading off to presumably destroy the rest of humanity, a striking similarity to how Brightburn ends (just like Brightburn the evil Superman of this story is a child (at least in appearance)).
    • Because of Brightburn's jarring similarities with Superman, there are those who worried whether James Gunn will be sued for copyright violation by DC. Fortunately, James Gunn reassured that he has good relationships with DC (the company had entrusted him to direct the upcoming film The Suicide Squad and Superman's well-known background has been used in so many stories that it became a generic origin story route).
  • In a first class scene, David tells how some wasps place their young in a separate hive, forcing others to feed them. This is a first hint of his true nature.
  • The director took inspiration from slashers such as John Carpenter's Halloween for the spooky and iconic look of his evil superhero. He told about that : "There was one image I couldn't get out of my head of filming a superhero the way Michael Myers was filmed - that shot of him from afar watching someone from a distance in silence, without moving. Then this image of him floating out the window came to mind. I knew if this picture was scary, if you could see this character with a cloak and a mask hovering across the window and being terrified of it, this movie might work."
  • Brightburn's costume had to give the impression that it was made by himself with the means at hand, such as a blanket, shoe laces and strings. The costume designer imagined a mix between a superhero and a slasher character. She tried on up to 120 masks and capes before stopping at a model inspired by a wrestling mask with lacing up the front.
  • The actor who played him, Jackson A. Dunn, told about him : "At the start of the film, Brandon is completely normal. He loves his family. His inability to bond with children his age probably makes him uncomfortable, but his intelligence is such that he prefers to talk with his family and adults in general. I could experience the changes he goes through throughout the film and how different he is at the beginning and the end. It's weird, because there are some things I can tap into in my real life. But then a part of him kills people".
  • An alternate ending originally planned for the film was going to show Caitlyn Connor building a cybernetic arm for herself, likely with the intentions to get revenge on Brightburn for what he did to her and her mother. This likely means that if a sequel gets made, Brightburn will possibly face Caitlyn as his archenemy.

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