This Friday 5th August sees the release of yet another DC movie, Suicide Squad as the franchise attempts to play catch up with Marvel who are currently dominating the superhero movie genre with their “shared cinematic universe.” Whether you like these films or not, it is clear that since Christopher Nolan’s excellent reboot of the Batman series in 2005, both DC and Marvel have held the monopoly on the genre.
With the planned release of more films from both camps including an ambitious eight more titles from DC by 2020, it’s safe to say that neither they nor Marvel are planning on sharing the scene.
But what if you like superhero films but can’t stand Captain America or Superman? Or like the idea of people with superpowers but want something a little more grounded? Well, then this list should assure you that there’s more to this genre than spandex, capes and masks.
Here are six non DC and Marvel superhero movies worth checking out.
If you had superpowers, then you’d probably spend time getting famous and saving people’s lives. But for Hancock (Will Smith), a man with the power of flight, superhuman strength and immortality, getting drunk at bus stops is apparently the better alternative. Unconventional and uncaring, Hancock is an accurate depiction of what would probably happen if Allan from the pub woke up with superpowers.
- The Crow
Based on James O’Barr’s comic book of the same name, The Crow is a dark thriller, with a design that has become iconic in its own right. Not your typical superhero movie, The Crow is an extremely stylistic revenge story with a fantasy twist, as the film sees Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) brought back to life after being brutally murdered to seek vengeance on those who killed him and his girlfriend.
One of M. Night Shyamalan’s better movies, Unbreakable tells the story of a Philadelphia security guard, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) who, after a horrific train accident in which he is the sole survivor, begins to discover he has superhuman powers. While the film embraces every trope from the comic-book genre, it goes through the meticulous efforts of grounding the film in complete reality. What would happen if an everyday man discovered he had superhuman abilities? Would he use them for good? How long would it take for him to start believing in himself? If you’ve ever thought about these questions, then Unbreakable comes as close as it gets to showing you what it could actually be like.
- The Incredibles
After a ban on super-powered activities, this animated film sees former superheroes Mr. Incredible a.k.a Bob Parr and Elastagirl a.k.a Helen Parr, forced into a life of mundane normality. Years later, it isn’t long before Bob’s desire to help people draws his whole family into a battle with a villain and his killer robot. The fact that the film focused heavily on the ramifications of superheroes on Earth, a subject tackled twelve years later in the brilliant Captain America: Civil War and equally so in Batman V Superman, just shows how ahead of its time the filmmakers were. A movie filled with thrill a minute action sequences, if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly suggest you do so.
Undeservedly flying under the radar upon its release, Super tells the story of average Joe Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson), who decides to turn himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero who sets out to fight crime but lacks the knowledge and skills on how to do so. Armed with a pipe wrench, Crimson Bolt fights the baddies by delivering savage beatings to various folk on the wrong side of the law. Also starring Ellen Page as his sidekick, Super is one of the more irreverent films on this list, but one that is deserving of your time nonetheless.
This Josh Trank directed movie sees three high schoolers Andrew (Dane DeHaan), his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) form a close bond after the discovery of an unknown object gives them telekinetic powers. Starting off by using their new found powers for mischief and personal gain, it isn’t long before their friendship is tested as bullied Andrew turns to darker purposes as he continues to struggle with everyday life. Shot in the “found footage” style, Chronicle was met with critical acclaim, as it’s blend of superhero origin story, sci-fi fantasy, and teenage drama was well received among critics and fans alike.
So there it is. A collection of superhero films for those of you looking for something a little different from the genre.
By James Pitcher
Follow me on Twitter here: @_jamespitcher