New look, & Top 5 Most Original Superhero Movies

As you can probably tell, at least if you’ve ever been here before, I’ve gone and given this place a little bit of a makeover. I recently took part in a Brutally Blog Blustering over at the LAMB where you submit your blog, and people give constructive criticism anonymously. One thing that many people mentioned was the disjointed URL, so while it is a bit long, I couldn’t think of anything else more appropriate than I will continue to renew because I’ve had that name for more than half of my life at this point, and I doubt I’ll be changing it any time soon. I also went and made a more comics appropriate background that is hopefully not too distracting and looks good on most screen dimensions. I even adjusted my header image a bit to give it a more consistent and comics related font, as well as adding a few randomly changing taglines. If you’re wondering, there’s four. Which one do you like the best? I will be making a couple more tweaks to how my sidebars and pages are set up over the next week or so, but nothing too major. While several people complained about my lack of a blogroll, oftentimes even while praising my Follow Friday, I will be making a page collecting all of my Follow Fridays into a blogroll page of sorts. But enough about that, this week’s topic is a list of the five most original superhero movies. There’s tons of superhero movies out there, but so many of them are basically different takes on the same formula, or one of a select few formulas. But every once in a while, a movie comes out and does something completely different. It may not always work 100%, but I respect their efforts for trying.

#5 Hancock

What would happen if Superman were a lazy, drunk, slob, who didn’t care about what damage his actions caused, yet still had an urge to do good? You would get Hancock. But then what happens when he saves a PR specialist played by Jason Bateman? You get Hancock spending some time in jail before getting a superhero makeover. Of course, there’s also some weird thing with Charleze Theron being his immortal mate, and they lose their powers when they are together. That odd part of the story is why this movie is down here at number 5.

#4 Super

What would happen if a disturbed nerd loses his wife to another man, and gets a vision from God while flipping between tentacle hentai and a cable access Christian superhero show? You get Rainn Wilson with an incredibly homemade superhero costume, bashing various lawbreakers with a giant pipewrench. There’s large amounts of comically gratuitous blood, and weird tonal shifts throughout the movie. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s heartfelt, sometimes, it’s just plain wrong. One reason this movie isn’t higher on the list is because there were a couple other independent movies that had some similar ideas, though they weren’t quite the same, and I also haven’t seen them: Special and Defendor.

#3 Megamind

What happens when Superman decides he no longer wants to fight crime? What happens to his archnemesis when there’s no one worthy enough to oppose him? You get this Dreamworks animated movie starring Will Farrell as the big-headed blue supervillain Megamind. He’s so desperate for a challenge that he creates his own nemesis, when things do not go as expected and the only person he has to turn to is himself. Megamind really takes a lot of superhero conventions and stands them on their head. There’s plenty of twists and turns, even though it’s not too hard to guess what eventually happens in the end.

#2 Chronicle

While the whole “found footage” trope, which I will not call a genre (even if I may have done so in the past), is already starting to feel overly played out, Chronicle is the first to apply the style to a superhero style movie. Even though there’s only maybe one moment in the entire movie that could be considered a “superhero” moment, it’s centered around three kids with super powers, and what is really the most likely thing they would do with them. I can’t speak too much for other found footage movies because I’ve only seen two (Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity), it gave me the impression that it tried to breath new life into both the superhero genre and the found footage style. There are no costumes, no black and white heroes, and very little overly shaky handheld footage. It’s one of the more realistic takes on how there could be a superhero in the real world, and it could have taken the spot for #1 if there wasn’t already…

#1 Unbreakable

While some people may come down on me for putting an M. Night Shyamalan movie that’s not the Sixth Sense as #1 on any list, I still think this is the most realistic take on superpowers to date. Not only that, but it also messes with the traditional superhero origin story. Instead of gaining his powers, he discovers his powers. Instead of a costume, he just has a security poncho. Instead of having a secret identity, he just keeps a secret. The way the movie explains the superpowers, it can make you believe that something like this could actually exist in real life. What happens if you put someone with super powers in a mundane existence that is so routine that they can’t even remember if they’ve ever been sick or not? A life where they’ve never pushed their physical abilities to their limits? It’s not just about having superpowers, it’s about having the drive to use them, and this movie really gets to the heart of that concept, and it does it without being flashy, with no big budget special effects. It’s just a simple story about superheroes.

Not only is it #1 on my list here today, it’s also in the running on the LAMB’s movie of the month poll, right in the right hand sidebar at the top. Anyone can vote, so make sure and drop by there to show your support for the offbeat superhero movies. If it wins, I get to be on a Lamb podcast leading a discussion about the movie, and I’m sure you want to hear that, don’t you? Tomorrow I start getting ready for the Dark Knight Rises by watching Batman Begins. So until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.


About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 500 superhero and comic book movies in the past seven years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on July 18, 2012, in Lists and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. sanclementejedi

    I like the changes you made to your site after the “anonymous” ; ; blustering you volunteered for. I don’t know if I am ready to have people rag on my site lol

    I don’t think I was into Hancock or Chronicle as much as you but they do fit your topic nicely. I love me some Unbreakable, I would tottally vote for that if I did not have a horse running in that poll myself.

    • Very few of the comments felt very harsh, most were things that made a lot of sense to me, but I had just never given it much thought before.

      I absolutely loved the first half of Hancock, and Chronicle was pretty good. This list is a combination of how good the movie is, and how original their ideas are.

      • sanclementejedi

        you know i think I might have been thinking about the blustering I read about French Toast Sunday. I am also not a big fan of grammar nazis so that might have someting to do with it as well. 🙂

  2. I would have had to put Dr. Horrible ahead of Hancock. Also, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but I’d highly recommend the indie film “Special”. It might just make this list. Here’s the IMDB, I think it’s probably streaming on Netflix. It’s also free if you have Amazon prime. It’ll be easy to find.

    • I mentioned Special along with Defendor in my blurb about Super, but I haven’t seen it yet so of those three I had to give the edge to Super. Also, from what I’ve read about Special, he ultimately isn’t even a superhero at all. I’ll get around to it eventually.

      As for Dr. Horrible, it was my #6. I gave the edge to Hancock because of how much I enjoyed the first half, and the fact that Dr. Horrible is somewhere inbetween a movie, a TV show, and something else entirely.

      • Yeah, but the guys in Super, Defendor or Boy Wonder aren’t actually superheroes either. If you want to get serious, neither is Batman. Just sayin’.

  3. nevertooearlymp

    Congratulations on the new look. I particularly love that you were able to incorporate “SuperLamb” and “BatLamb” into your design!

    Great to see Hancock and Unbreakable on your list. I haven’t seen the other three, but was impressed with the way that these two films incorporated, and sometimes subverted, the superhero rules.

  4. Bubba,

    I really like the changes you’ve made.

    I completely agree with Unbreakable being #1. My top 5 would look something like:
    1) Unbreakable
    2) Megamind
    3) Kick-Ass
    4) Chronicle
    5) Hancock

    • Kick-Ass is a great movie, but with the inclusion of Big Daddy and Hit Girl, it becomes too much like a slight twist on a superhero movie rather than something more original, that and it *feels* like a superhero movie, especially during the climax. It may be a much better/more enjoyable movie than Super, but Super makes a lot of decisions that are very against type which makes it *feel* much less like a superhero movie, and more like something else. That’s one reason why a lot of people don’t like the movie, and why I included it on this list.

  5. Good job on the new look. I fully approve!

    I didn’t get into Super as much as you. I really wanted to, but it just left me disappointed.

    Unbreakable is one of my favourite superhero films. Just such a brilliant flick.

    Trying to think of some others are drawing a bit of a blank. Maybe Hellboy? Though I guess, it’s quite a typical comic book film…

    • Super for sure wasn’t a perfect movie, but it was very different. It is pretty hard to think of original superhero movies because so many of them are just different flavors of the same ice cream. And while a lot of people might not like Tofutti, I appreciate that it exists, and I think I’ve taken this metaphor way too far.

  6. I haven’t seen your #3-5 choices yet, but I agree with your #1 and #2 choices. Unbreakable and Chronicle are both good films with different takes on the superhero theme.

    I’ve seen and reviewed Defendor (I gave it four stars out of five), and I will warn you about one thing on it. Don’t go into it thinking it’s a comedy. While it’s marketed that way, it really isn’t.

  7. I really like the BatLAMB as well!

  8. Kick-Ass should be on that list, especially above Super

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