100 Essential Superhero Movies – Super Comedies
I decided that I wanted to make a list of 100 superhero movies that I thought were the essentials, the ones that everyone needs to see at one point in time if they want to be a fully fledged superhero movie afficionado, and while I am having guest bloggers this month help me fill out the list, there are many much more obvious choices that were easy to make and I’m here to share some of those with you. I’ve taken a serious look at both a handful of Marvel and DC movies, so I decided it was time to take a look at the lighter side of the superhero spectrum and visit some of the superhero comedies out there.
The Wild World of Batwoman
As far as I can tell, this is one of the first fan films where they used the name Batwoman in reference to Batman even though there was yet to be an actual Batwoman when this was created. They also used the name without permission, but also didn’t really follow along any type of typical Batman story and instead was a weird story involving women agents and an evil corporation president. The movie was sued for copyright infringement and even though they won, the movie was re-released years later with the title “She Was a Hippie Vampire”. It’s pretty bad, so much so that it was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
This is a film that I don’t have much knowledge about honestly. I know that it’s a French satire which pokes fun at Imperialism and Capitalism and also holds the honor of being the only superhero film to be inducted into the Criterion Collection of films. It’s based around an extremely pro-American superhero wearing red, white, and blue in basically football pads. He then travels to France to push his bullish American ideals but it doesn’t go over so well. I’m very curious to finally watch this film to see what it’s really all about.
Return of Captain Invincible
This may be the most bizarre movie on this list, but I decided to include it because as far as I can tell, it’s the only superhero musical. It stars Alan Arkin as the titular Captain Invincible who was a famous World War II hero who got caught up in the MacCarthy red fear and fled to Australia where he has been living as a homeless drunk for many years before being sought out by the government to help capture Doctor Midnight played by Christopher Lee. Oh, and let me say this again, the whole thing is a musical! It’s low budget and it shows, the pacing is rather slow, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in this movie and most people will think it’s a better comedy than Superhero Movie.
This is another movie that’s not really considered a great movie by most people, but this really is a movie that launched the success of the low budget horror/comedy studio Troma films, so much so that he is still their main mascot. It follows the story of a wimpy, nerdy, practically mentally disabled janitor who falls into a vat of toxic waste to become a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength with the ability to sense evil with his Tromatons and then kills the criminals in very violent and gory ways. The budget is very low, but the practical effects are inventive to say the least, and there are zero full-fledged actors which give it a certain amount of goofy charm. It’s a must see if you’re a fan of cheesy horror and want to know what Troma films is all about.
This movie is the first well-recieved movie on today’s list even though it’s not obviously a comic book property or a superhero. But when Stanley Ipkiss, played by Jim Carrey, puts on this mysterious mask, he becomes a cartoon-inspired superhero. It’s also interesting because he initially uses his powers for his own personal gain and doesn’t really become the superhero until he’s forced to save the girl. There’s also the unintentional Marvel connection as the mask is an artifact from the Norse god of mischief Loki. This movie is still a lot of fun, and even though it’s a bit predictable in places, this is probably the 90’s comedy from Jim Carrey that feels the least dated especially when compared to something like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Men in Black
This is the movie that I debated about the most before putting it on this list, even though it’s based on a comic book it’s much more of a sci-fi action comedy than a superhero movie. But at the core of it is still two regular people on a modern era Earth that’s not set in the future battling extraordinary creatures while wearing a specific uniform which could on a stretch be considered a costume. On top of all that, it’s just a really fun and enjoyable movie before spawning two sequels of varying quality and a cartoon series. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents Jay and Kay have such great chemistry together it’s hard not to like them. It’s been ages since I’ve watched the original though I did quite enjoy the recent third movie.
When looking at the world of superhero parody movies this is an interesting one because it’s not specifically a parody of a superhero team, but instead it’s an adaptation of a comic book that itself is a parody of other superhero comics. It has heroes along the lines of Mr. Furious, the Shoveler, the Blue Rajah, and the Spleen played by the likes of Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Geoffrey Rush, and Paul Reubens. And I haven’t mentioned their super powers yet, like getting really angry, throwing forks and other silverware with uncanny accuracy, and becoming invisible when no one is looking. It does have the downside of trying to focus a bit too much on the plot and action at times at the sacrifice of some of the comedy, but overall it’s still one of the best superhero parodies out there.
This is a Disney superhero movie before they acquired Marvel, and fitting with the time it’s centered around a much younger audience, focusing on the children of superheroes and the school they go to where they learn to become superheroes in their own right. It has a cast of comedy alums including Kevin McDonald & Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall, Tom Kenny and Cloris Leachman, and of course Bruce Campbell. It also has Wonder Woman herself Linda Carter playing the principal. It’s also filled with up and coming young actors including Michael Angerano, Danielle Panabaker, Nicholas Braun, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It does have the very typical plot of the group of misfits who band together and save the day in the end, but it’s still a lot of fun along the way. And there really aren’t all that many superhero movies that can be watched with the whole family, more and more are gearing for a hard PG-13.
This is honestly one of my favorite animated superhero films right alongside the Incredibles. It has Will Farrell playing the greatest supervillain ever, Megamind. He has essentially the same backstory as Superman, but instead of falling into the home of an honest couple in Kansas, he fell into a state penitentiary. It begins with a very funny breakdown of the Superman vs. super-villain relationship before Evil wins out in the end and is left to figure out what meaning there is in his life without anyone to challenge him and ultimately becomes a very sympathetic and rich character while still managing to bring the funny from beginning to end.
What I left out
There are a quite a few superhero comedies I left off this list, including the awful parody of Spider-Man along with a few brief tidbits of other movies: Superhero Movie, and to a lesser extent Epic Movie which I haven’t seen but I believe also includes many superhero movies. I also left off Blankman, which even though it is one of the very few movies to feature a black superhero, I didn’t connect with its humor at all nor did I think the superhero elements of the movie worked very well, and the same goes with My Super Ex-Girlfriend even though that is also one of the very few superhero movies with a female lead. And while I personally prefer Zoom over Sky High, I have to concede that Sky High is the better movie. I also excluded Hero at Large and Super Fuzz mainly because I haven’t seen them. And finally I excluded the mockumentaries Superhero Me and Superguy mainly because they are both very obscure and low budget that I doubt anyone besides me has even heard of them. And I don’t even want to mention Son of the Mask. Whew, there are quite a few superhero comedies & parodies out there and there are a lot of them that aren’t all that great too. Disagree with me? Then contact me Bubbawheat@msn.com and offer to write your own defense of My Super Ex-Girlfriend or Super Fuzz and I just may include it in this project to let the readers decide if it should be included or not. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.