With Marvel and DC coming out with amazing hero based films, it’s sometimes hard to recall the superhero films that came before, especially films that didn’t have a major theater release. We at Cliché think it’s time to visit the little known or all but forgotten comic book films, and show that you don’t need to be the great Man of Steel, Iron Man, or a god in order to kick major butt. So here’s our list of the 5 Superhero Films That Deserve A Following, from oldest to newest, of superheroes that deserve some more recognition.
1) Darkman (1990) This film has a cult following, but no way near enough where it should be. The movie centered on a scientist who is severely deformed after an attack from mobsters; which stemmed from his girlfriend’s discovery of their corruptive actions. Two things make this film great: notable makeup work, and a tragic love story. This story focuses on a man that not only loses face, along with his identity, but also shows how he copes with who he has become; all this before the credits roll.
2) The Phantom (1996) Set in 1934, this feature was based on the comic series of the same name. Its hero was Kit (a.k.a The current Phantom), who comes from a long line of men that have trained, and focused their lives to stopping evil throughout the world. In their family line, the father passes down the mantel of the Phantom to his son upon his death, or retirement (usually by death, as was the case in the film). The movie has a strong supernatural story, nice romantic pace, and reflects the Phantom’s history very well.
In 2009, the Phantom was rebooted into a two-part miniseries, set in the present day. The miniseries does a good job at introducing the history of the Phantom as well and would have made for a good TV series. The Phantom has a mix feeling of Batman, Zorro, and a strong sense of honor/duty to it. It’s sad that he doesn’t have more of a mainstream following.
3) Spawn (1997) Spawn is the story about a man sent to hell and brought back to life by the devil. The main character returns with super powers in order to take revenge on those that took part in his death. The film was loosely based on the comic series of the same name. Because the main character is sent to hell, you know off the back that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. It featured a decent story line, cool costumes, an evil demon clown, and some well deserved payback. It makes for a fun evening.
*Sidenote: There have been long talks of a potential sequel, and last year there were talks to begin filming in 2014. It’s stated that the movie will have less supernatural elements, which is interesting because it’s a character from Hell.
4) Blade Series (1998, 2002, & 2004) Blade was the story of a half vampire, half human that spent his days, and nights, hunting down vampires and other evil creatures (though it is mostly vampires). While the Blade films did well, and he has become a household name, he has been thrown into the back burner in the pop-cultural vampire world. With vampires being shown as cuddly beings of the dark (think Twilight), Blade reminded us that, for the most part, vampires are evil serial killers that needed to be put down. The series is soft horror, action packed, and normally well written (the last one not so much). Even the failed Blade TV series makes for a good watch as you get to see the strong political double standards of the vampire world while still showing that vampires are not the kind of people you want to snuggle up to.
5) Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) This animated feature tells the story of how Hal Jordan became a Green Lantern. This movie is a great way to learn about the Green Lantern Corp. along with showing the best faces from the group. Unlike the live-action feature, starring Ryan Reynolds, Hal is more like his comic book counterpart. It has a strong focus on the power, honor, and duties of the Green Lantern Corp. For anyone that wants to learn what it means to be a Green Lantern, or why there is a strong comic following, this feature and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights are two great films to watch.