That final movie is by far probably the most fascinating of those that Penn offers us on this grab-bag of a film. And it is a disgrace, as a result of the few comparatively transient sections of “Superpower” that scrutinize Zelensky as a self-created political icon (within the custom of Ronald Reagan, Fred Dalton Thompson, and Donald Trump) are probably the most authoritative and engaging by far.
Penn, an skilled actor and writer-director in addition to troubled individual whose violence made him a tabloid fixture, understands efficiency at each stage of the artistic course of. He additionally understands the media’s tendency to latch onto a catchy narrative and milk it, and plenty of extra issues that non-famous folks may solely perceive in a secondhand manner. “Superpower” is at its greatest when letting Penn and co-director Adam Kaufman put Penn’s spoken observations over clips pulled from early in Zelensky’s profession, together with speak and information present appearances, items of a presidential debate, and a few revolutionary marketing campaign adverts and different materials that play like items of a scripted tv collection or movie by an auteur actor-director whose persona is so fastidiously crafted that he can afford to check out filmmaking experiments. (Zelensky even phases dynamic “stroll and talks” like in a Hollywood film, one thing that no one can do nicely until they’ve dedicated the strains to reminiscence.)
Penn quotes Ronald Reagan and factors out Zelensky’s use of comedy and music to interact viewers/voters. These elements of the film are sharp sufficient that one needs all the mission had focused on the concept of Zelensky as, basically, an actor who wrote himself a scrappy underdog character who represented his personal greatest fantasy of himself, performed it so nicely that he received the presidency, then discovered himself having to play two extra roles on high of it, wartime chief and everyman insurgent, and nailed each.
The remainder of the film sadly wanders out and in of different modes. None are introduced with as a lot relaxed authority. There is a far much less fascinating shadow equal of the “Zelensky enjoying Zelensky” film taking place as nicely, by which Penn makes an attempt to elucidate his obsession with touring into hazard zones to assist folks in bother, utilizing his fame and cash to get into locations extraordinary folks could not go. Amongst different hotspots, he went into New Orleans throughout Hurricane Katrina and Haiti following the 2011 earthquake.