Five More Offbeat Superhero Movies Like ‘The Hyperions’


Jon McDonald’s “The Hyperions” is the latest in a long tradition of humorous, offbeat superhero movies. The operatic tone of the genre, combined with the origin cliches and the inherent silliness of the costumes, lend themselves to parody surprisingly well.

As a kid, I enjoyed watching the “X-Men” and “Batman” animated series, but I was genuinely in love with “The Tick,” which gleefully pokes fun at the genre cliches. Since then, there have been numerous movies — both sincere and otherwise — that have turned the genre on its head and looked inward. Below are a few examples of offbeat superhero movies that deserve further attention.


Night Shyamalan’s follow-up to the immensely-successful “The Sixth Sense” had all the trappings of a supernatural thriller before it was eventually revealed to be a superhero origin story. Bruce Willis plays the survivor of a horrible train wreck who soon discovers that he may be nigh indestructible. This attracts the attention of Samuel L. Jackson, an eccentric comic book enthusiast, who believes superhero tales to be the mythology of the modern world and rooted in truth. The film is a moody, thoughtful exploration of superhero lore, bolstered by committed performances. Shyamalan would revisit these characters years later, to middling effect, but “Unbreakable” stands on its own as an original, engaging riff on the genre.

SUPER (2011)

Before he made “Guardians of the Galaxy” in 2014, director James Gunn crafted this hilarious, violent, and heartfelt superhero movie starring Rainn Wilson from “The Office.” A movie that owes just as much to “Taxi Driver” as it does “Batman,” the story revolves around an anonymous schlub who becomes The Crimson Bolt, a costumed vigilante who desires to cripple the underworld. With the help of his trusty wrench, The Crimson Bolt calls out major crime and minor slights with equal passion, resulting in set pieces that are equal parts hilarious and disturbing.


Josh Trank’s found-footage movie about three high school boys who gain super powers from a crashed meteor hits many of the same beats as Spider-Man’s well-known origin, but this film is much more interested in the honest exploration of what would happen if a teenager was suddenly imbued with unspeakable abilities. While there are plenty of moments dedicated to the boys using their powers for their own enjoyment, the eventual emotionality inherent in the teenage experience pushes the film in a more tragic direction. Featuring great performances by Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell, and Dane DeHaan (two of whom would go on to play supervillains in major franchises), “Chronicle” places superhero cliches in the middle of an all-too-real world.

DREDD (2012)

This one may be a bit of a cheat, as some might consider the character of Judge Dredd to be anything but heroic — and not particularly super. In fact, he is just one of many brutal law enforcement officials keeping the peace in a dystopian future. However, Pete Travis’s “Dredd,” featuring a committed performance by Karl Urban (now the lead of “The Boys”), is every bit as action-packed as “Iron Man” and as visually distinctive as Tim Burton’s “Batman.” Travis creates a heightened, nightmarish world where violent crime is the norm, and only the most seasoned, hard-bitten enforcers would dare try to make a difference. The character of Dredd may be brutal — and borderline fascist — but he is in the tradition of such anti-heroes as The Punisher and Rorschach, whose brutality and rage suggests a deep longing for a better world.


There’s nothing new about a superhero movie questioning itself. As far back as Alan Moore’s classic “Watchmen” comic, writers have been speculating about the potential societal hazards of masked vigilantes and their lack of accountability. David Yarovesky’s “Brightburn” goes a step further, suggesting that super-powered individuals are not the stuff of escapist dreams, but of nightmares. A horror riff on Superman’s origin story, this film sees a young boy adopted by a kindly rural couple after he falls to Earth from space. As he grows older, he develops frightening powers and soon uses them to exact revenge on those that would seek to oppress him. Soon, the boy is found to be an unstoppable monster, much more akin to Jason Voorhees than Clark Kent. A terrifying but thought-provoking film.

Of course, there are several other films we could mention here, including “Kick-Ass,” “Mystery Men,” “The Incredibles,” and more, but these are just a few movies for those who might be growing tired of what traditional superhero films have to offer. Feel free to add more in the comments below. 

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

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