Ever since Tim Burton brought back Batman (1989), Hollywood has hankered to cash in on the superhero craze. With the proliferation of CGI special effects that can make cinema superheroes look especially super came a tsunami of films featuring invincible forces for good. Since 1989, there have been at least 40 films featuring marvel comic characters alone. There is no sign that Hollywood plans to slow down. Deadpool (one of Marvel’s most offbeat heroes) just set a record as the third-highest grossing R-rated film of all time. More movies are on the way, including a cage-fight film between Batman and Superman refereed by Wonder Women.
If there is a downside to all this superhero shlock, it is that most of these movies are just more of the same. Rather than being bored watching some guy in tights saving the world yet again, how about checking out some of cinema’s most whacky and unusual superheroes of all time.
#8. Kick-Ass (2010) An ordinary teen gets the hell beat out of him, but that’s okay. He gets some stainless steel bones and starts living the dream as a righter of wrongs. This black comedy, laced with profanity, violence, and uncomfortable innuendos, set the precedence for movies like Deadpool.
#7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Scott is a loser of an aimless, anxiety-ridden teenager, a musician in a garage band that would never turn a chair on The Voice. Forget about saving the world. Scott has to overcome his girlfriend’s “seven evil exes.” Funny, fast-paced, and inventive, it is far from typical superhero stuff.
#6. The Fantastic Argoman (1967) “He has the strength of one hundred men.” He also has questionable telepathic powers, an ill-fitting jump suit, and a ridiculous secret identity. Still after adding in some super cheesy special effects, a laughably bad script, and some pretty terrible acting, the film definitely delivers one of the worst silver screen superheroes ever. But, this film tops the “so bad it is good” category.
#5. Mystery Men (1999) Take a team of well-known Hollywood actors. Put them in stupid costumes. Give them ludicrous powers—like the ability to project flatulence. Well, there is no mystery why this film bombed at the box office.
#4. Steel (1997) There are few odder superheroes on film than former basketball great Shaquille O’Neal as an urban version of Iron Man.
#3. The Watchmen (2009) They are maybe the most dark assemblage of super anti-heroes ever to make it to the big screen. Watch the Watchmen do their stuff in a film-noir alternate universe where America wins the Vietnam War and superheroes die grisly, dishonorable, painful deaths.
#2. Unbreakable (2000) Before M. Night Shyamalan made stupid movies that nobody wanted to watch, he made really cool movies (like The Sixth Sense) that left intelligent audiences breathless. One of his best efforts is this atmospheric, haunting story of a nobody security guard who slowly discovers he has super powers.
#1. Santo y Blue Demon vs Drácula y el Hombre Lobo (1997) There was no stranger and definitely no cooler cinema superhero ever than El Santo, the masked Mexican wrestler, who in a 35-year long film career took on everybody from zombies to space aliens. In this movie, with his partner the Blue Devil, el Santo kicks vampire butt. He is probably the greatest movie superhero you have never heard of.
Who did I forget to name in the weird world of weird cinema superheroes?