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Movies: Overlooked Superhero Movies

All jazzed up for "Spider-Man" but don't want to brave opening weekend crowds? Fire up the DVD and enjoy one of these fine superhero movies that you've probably overlooked.

  • Mask of Zorro According to legend, Martha and Thomas Wayne were walking home after a seeing Zorro with their young son when they took an ill-fated detour through an alley; years later it was the memory of his parents' death -- and the movie that proceeded it -- that inspired Bruce Wayne to adopt the identity of The Batman. The 1998 retelling of The Mask of Zorro demonstrates why the tale of the swashbuckling hero is one of the crucial building blocks on which the modern superhero is built. A thoroughly entertaining flick which will unearth latent "gee! wow!" feelings in even the most jaded of moviegoer.
  • The Rocketeer When I went to see The Rocketeer in high school, I was soundly mocked by my fellow comic book afficionado who said that the film would be little more than a tame and cheesy piece of Disney fluff. But this derision (which turned out to be spot on) didn't stop me from having a blast. The Rocketeer did an admirable job at capturing the spirit of the old Saturday afternoon serials, and managed to tell a charming story almost completely free of cynacism (no small feat coming, as it did, in the era of The Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen). Have popcorn on hand.
  • Blade So the niave innocence of Zorro and The Rocketeer doesn't float your boat. Then have you seen Blade? Lord knows I'd understand if you hadn't -- if fact, I can't for the life of me remember why I rented this one. But to my surprise both my wife and I quite enjoyed it. Your willingness to suspension your disblief may be a little overtaxed by the end, but the director does such a good job of setting the "comic book" tone that you'll happily overlook a lot of logistical flimflam. Blade succeeds where The Crow fell short. (P.s. If you've seen "Blade II," drop me a line and talk me into or out of seeing it, would'ja?)
  • Unbreakable Just by listing Unbreakable under the heading of "superhero film" I've already told you too much about it, so here endth the discussion of plot. But I will say that this film, the second by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, was (in my opinion) unfairly dismissed by many as "not as good as The Sixth Sense". This insistance on comparing Unbreakable to its older brother ignored the fact that it was a very fine film in its own right. That said, I offer no guarentees that you'll like this one: it's one of those flicks that you either love or hate. I am firmly in the former camp.
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Fans of the animated Batman series should check out Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the first full-length feature film by the creators of the show. Even those Batman fans who have not seen the show should give this one a try -- despite the G rating it's a sophisticated story, and better by half than any the live actions Batman movies. Perfect for watching on a Sunday morning over waffles and coffee.

Posted on May 03, 2002 to Movies