Invisible Sue 2018
It’s been a little while again since I’ve been able to watch and review a superhero movie here, pretty much all of my free time is split between work, a newborn, and the podcasts which I’ve been sharing on this site. But I did find this movie on DVD at the dollar store a couple months back with absolutely no information about what the movie is outside of the name of the film and the fact that the cover has a girl in a superhero mask. Apparently it’s a German film, but similar to the Antboy release, the only available audio track on the DVD is the English dub. At least partially due to the fact that it’s more of a family friendly film. I would be curious to see this in the original German as I remember that it helped out my viewing of the Antboy sequels. As it is, it’s a pretty basic kids adventure movie with a little bit of super powers and gadgetry thrown in the mix. It doesn’t do anything badly, but it never really pushes the excitement level past the halfway point.
Invisible Sue starts off in typical teen coming of age movie fashion with main character Sue being practically invisible to everyone, both the kids at school and adults who frequently refer to her by Susanna instead of her preferred nickname of Sue. She also has a musician father who is frequently gone and a mother who cares about her work more than her daughter. The inciting accident that gives Sue her invisibility powers happens after a surprise birthday cake during an extremely inopportune time while the mother is giving a presentation to dozens of people. Sue erases a portion of an equation to start writing “Happy Birthday” and the birthday cake candles set off the fire alarm, interrupting the presentation. After a predictable blow up between the mother and daughter, despite the father being right there as well, Sue throws the cake at a control panel and causes a reactor meltdown that sprays her with this experimental chemical. The film kicks off with a pretty flimsy premise, both with the overblown argument between parent and child and the emergency situation where not a single adult appears until after Sue gets herself completely out of the building. Plus, there’s an introduction of a mysterious Jarvis-like voice giving Sue advice but doesn’t re-appear until nearly the third act.
The rest of the film follows a fairly standard adventure where the mother gets kidnapped, Sue learns about her invisibility power that triggers through heat, wears off when she gets cold, allows her to make other objects or people that she touches invisible, and causes extreme fatigue when it wears off. Invisibility is often a difficult power to make work in a superhero setting because it doesn’t really allow the character to be any stronger. It may be something that’s easy to do from a visual effects standpoint, but it’s best used for sneaking and spying situations. Which is why this film had to introduce another character, a classmate nicknamed App who is basically the Deus Ex Machina of the film who creates gadgets and can hack into pretty much whatever the film needs her to do to forward the plot or rescue Sue. App is another cliche character who doesn’t have any friends, is initially standoffish to Sue even when she saves Sue from the mean popular girls, and she even has an Aunt who basically becomes the plot twist villain at the end.
Even though this is a lower profile, family friendly, foreign film the fact that the English dub is the only audio option is a little disappointing. The actress voicing Sue does a fair job which helps as she is about 75 percent of the total dialogue, but the rest of the cast is mediocre to poor. There are even a few moments where the dialogue slips into German for a few lines without much rhyme or reason. The effects are pretty standard for a film made nowadays. The invisibility effects are pretty much exactly what you would expect to see. The holographic computer orb AI Alfred also isn’t anything special. The real tell that this isn’t that high of a budgeted film is the lack of people for the most part. Any time they’re in some sort of building there’s barely any other people in the frame. The only exception is when they’re outdoors or during the Halloween party climax.
The real failing of this film is that there is this mystery aspect to everything that’s going on, but it has too many twists and turns without giving much information to the audience. Everything just keeps happening and changing with little to no rhyme or reason. Sue’s mom gets kidnapped, but later she gets a call that makes them think she got free. Shortly after it makes it seem like the mom is working with the villain, then it turns out that the mom’s assistant can turn into the mom and is the real villain. Only the real villain is her new friend’s Aunt. And so on, and so on. On top of all that, there’s the addition of the new kid in school who genuinely seems to like Sue for their shared interest in comics who then becomes a love interest. It’s generally played well enough for a family film like this except for one scene at the beginning of the third act where Sue just snaps at him for no reason other than the fact that the overall story needed them to be separated. It just came out of nowhere and felt like lazy writing. There are many problems with this film, from the cliched moments, the lack of a budget to fill out some background details, the forced English dub. But it doesn’t do anything egregiously bad. This didn’t charm the way that Antboy did, especially in the later films, but it was very much an ok movie. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.