The Top 5 Most Underrated Superhero Movies
As the comic book adaptation has fast become the dominant genre at the box office, filmmakers of all styles attempted to take on the genre and make it their own. We're gonna tell you right now - for every superhero flick as good as Batman Begin, there are three more like 2003's botched attempt at Daredevil. Still, there are quite a few great superhero movies out there - including some that have been unfairly overlooked. We fancy ourselves pretty informed in film here at Open Air Cinema. So, we put together a list of the Top 5 Most Underrated Superhero Movies out there В - the kind of films that will impress your comic book geeks and your film geeks at the next night of cinema under the stars.
(Joe Johnston, 1991)The Rocketeer was such a bomb at the time of its release that its two scheduled, contracted sequels were quickly put on permanent ice. However, its Saturday matinee inspiration and its flawless production design makes it less of a clunker and more a poor man's Indiana Jones. It's charming, if a little heavy on the dialogue spectrum of the action-adventure model. Plus, Timothy Dalton is pretty diabolical as an Errol Flynn-esque actor-cum-Nazi agent.
(Stephen Norrington, 1998)Blade not only stands out as a superhero movie, but also as vampire flick. As dated as its cyberpunk aesthetic may be by today's standards, where this first tale in the saga of the Daywalker stands out is how it treats the subject of vampirism - as hedonistic as a true addiction, with all the savagery of a primal, infernal urge. Norrington pulls no punches when it comes to the violence in this movie - but even as vampires run around literally covered in blood, it rarely feels over the top.
(Guillermo Del Toro, 2004)Anyone not familiar with the original comics might find this film's insane plot and lack of historicity somewhat distracting, even for a superhero movie. The occult arm of the Third Reich, in partnership with Rasputin, invade the coast of Scotland in hopes of opening a portal that will release the dragons of Revelations from their prison in deep space. But for all of it's unlikely melange of perils, the film works thanks to Ron Pearlman's sardonic turn as the film's even more unlikely hero - a sideburned demon with a penchant for Baby Ruth bars, kittens, and bullets filled with holy water. Add director Guillermo Del Toro's hip treatment of all things gothic and gloomy and you have a film that works pretty good in practice, despite looking like hell on paper.
(M. Night Shayamalan, 2000)Shayamalan may be one of the film world's biggest disappointments - В but this film definitely stands as testament to this hotly-debated director's once-great promise. Unbreakable has almost none of the classic superhero movie tropes - no histrionic origin sequences, no sweeping string and horn arrangements constantly blaring, and the gaudiest piece of costuming in the movie is a purple blazer on Samuel L. Jackson, who always looks good in purple. But its treatment of the hesitancy and caution with which an older man would explore his newly-discovered super powers gives the film an unmatched sense of realism. That same realism, coupled with Shaymalan's noirish direction, really drives home the tension and terror in the film's climactic scene.
(Tim Burton, 1989)The first major box-office attempt to adapt the Caped Crusader has been unfairly overshadowed for many years by Christopher Nolan's gritty reboot. Yes, Nicholson chews the scenery like a beaver on adderall in his turn as The Joker. Yes, the movie gets a lot of details from original comic wrong. Yes, the songs by Prince, while still timelessly funky, feel out of place. But, the 1989 Batman expertly walks the line between the overbearing gloom of Nolan's effort and over-the-top shlock aesthetic that would marr Joel Schumacher's contributions to the canon. And, unlike Christian Bale, Michael Keaton manages to portray the Dark Knight without sounding like Tom Waits with a bad head cold. The superhero movie is definitely a genre that is here to stay. No summer is complete without them, whether you see the new ones being released in theaters or you revisit some of the classics of the genre with your inflatable screen in the backyard. But, remember, you don't have to limit yourself to the heavy-hitters - there are some superhero classics which definitely warrant more watches than they've gotten.