All of our favourite superheroes and their respective movies have got one thing in common – they all stem from reliable source material in their comic book origins. But not all superheroes make their debut in the pages of their books – look at Abraham Whistler, Blade’s mentor for example. He was originally created specifically for the 1998 Blade film, but made his first appearance in the 1994 Spider-Man: The Animated Series and has yet to make a transition to the comic books. So with that in mind, here are our top picks for superhero movies that aren’t based on a comic book.
5) Sky High (2005)
Sky High is a film that combines the pressure of being a superhero with the ostracism, stress, nervousness and adventure that comes with attending high school. In this story that mixes puberty with heroics, Will Stronghold (Michael Anganaro) is a teenager who happens to be the son of the world’s greatest superheroes, The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). People expect great things from Will, but the thing is, he doesn’t have any superpowers of his own. It’s a cracking film that takes the pressure of doing well at school and mixing it with the world’s expectation of you to do a fine job of saving it.
4) Hancock (2008)
Most of the time, superheroes are widely-adored public figures who earn respect and admiration for their heroic deeds. Jon Hancock, however, is not one of them. He’s endowed with superhuman strength, the ability to fly and near-invulnerability, but these powers prove to be more of a hindrance than a help to the people of Los Angeles, as while he does stop crime in its tracks, Hancock causes more damage than he prevents and routinely costs the city millions of dollars in collateral damage. It’s a fun take on the many anti-heroes that grace the pages of comics, and yet another insight into what would happen if a superhero was a hate figure.
3) Chronicle (2012)
In Josh Trank’s directorial debut, he brings us a film that embodies the infamous Spider-Man maxim “With great power, comes great responsibility” to the letter. Andrew Detmer is a high school student from Seattle, whose mother is terminally ill and whose father is an abusive alcoholic. Along with his cousin Matt and Matt’s friend Steve, Andrew acquires telekinetic powers and the ability to fly from an unknown object. The trio at first use their powers for mischief and personal gain, but the story takes a turn for the worse when Andrew begins a descent into darkness that threatens the lives of everyone around him. Shot in the style of the found-footage genre, Chronicle is a story that shows the very real threat of power going to someone’s head.
2) RoboCop (1987)
Part cop, part machine, all superhero. RoboCop tells the story of Alex Murphy, a loving family man and police officer who’s assigned to the precinct of Detroit, Michigan. Murphy’s first case is taking down ruthless criminal Clarence Boddicker and his gang, but when Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis arrive to apprehend them, Murphy is ruthlessly gunned down and killed by Boddicker and his cronies. However, executive Bob Morton has Murphy’s remains fused with a new, cybernetic body, reviving him as RoboCop. Cited as one of the best films of 1987, RoboCop became famous for its unflinching violence and it’s underlying themes that include dystopia, capitalism, identity and human nature.
1) The Incredibles (2004)
The Parrs are not your typical, all-American family. For one thing, they all possess different superpowers, and Bob and Helen were once superheroes in their own right (Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, respectively) before a landslide of lawsuits against masked crime-fighters forced them to go into early retirement. Dissatisfied with living a normal life in a world that has covered up the existence of superheroes, Bob is given an opportunity to don his mask and tights once again, and the result is this visual masterpiece that received widespread critical acclaim for its mix of action-packed heroics with the dynamics of a normal family. The Incredibles earns our top spot for its combination of humour, action and fun for, well, the whole family.
Are there any superhero movies that didn’t stem from the comics that you think deserve a spot on our list? Leave it in the comments and don’t forget to like and share!