Strangest Superhero Movie of 2024 Comes From Captain Marvel Directors

Strangest Superhero Movie of 2024 Comes From Captain Marvel Directors
Image credit: Vertical Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Lionsgate

Looking for something a little bit weird?


  • The creative duo behind Captain Marvel has just released Freaky Tales.
  • It’s a weird and wonderful series of short interweaving stories that take place in the Bay Area of 1987.
  • Stars include Pedro Pascal and Ben Mendelsohn.

If there was one major criticism of Captain Marvel when it was released back in 2019, it was that the movie was… bland. Not particularly funny, not particularly exciting, not particularly strange or surprising or even interesting. It was just… you know… a cookie-cutter Marvel movie.

It might surprise you to know that the directors of that blockbuster have gone on to write a brand-new superhero movie, and that Freaky Tales stands in direct opposition to the duo’s previous project. It’s a strange, singular, off-the-wall movie that owes as much to Pulp Fiction as it does to comic books.

Creative BFFs

​​Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are an American filmmaking duo who first drew attention for their 2004 short film Gowanus, Brooklyn. That film won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, while their follow up movie Half Nelson was nominated for an Academy Award.

Contrary to what is often reported, Boden and Fleck are not married, though they did date briefly at one point. Luckily their creative partnership was not impacted by this foray into romance, and they co-directed Captain Marvel from a script they wrote with ​​Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

A Different Kind of Superhero Movie

Five years after the release of Captain Marvel, Boden and Fleck have returned to the world of superheroes, but not in the way you’d expect. Freaky Tales is a superhero flick, an action movie, and a comedy. But it’s also a love letter to the San Francisco Bay Area and its history and legends.

In Freaky Tales, we visit the Bay Area of 1987, which is infused with a hazy green aura. Where this green glow comes from and what it’s made of we’re never told, but apparently it’s always been there and is the source of the area’s electric energy. The four interweaving stories of Freaky Tales touch on Bay Area residents who learn to harness the power waiting for them in the haze.

Strangest Superhero Movie of 2024 Comes From Captain Marvel Directors - image 1

The First Tale

In story #1, Tina (Ji-young Yoo) and Lucid (Jack Champion) are two young music fans at the Bay Area’s real-life music club The Gilman. The Gilman is a place where punk rock meets open arms, with every intersection of identity welcome. When a group of neo-Nazis lay siege to The Gilman and challenge its pacifism, the members of the club must decide whether to turn the other cheek or go out and punch some Nazis.

The Second Tale

Next we move on to the story of real-life rap duo Danger Zone, individually known as Barbie and Entice (Dominique Thorne and singer Normani Kordei). When the duo is hand-picked to go up in an improvised rap battle with local legend Too Short, they know it’s their chance to make a name for themselves – or it could cut short their career.

Ben Mendelsohn makes an appearance as a creep who comes on to Entice at her frustrating day job.

The Third Tale

The biggest star in Freaky Tales is Pedro Pascal, who appears in the third story as Clint, a loan shark enforcer who is expecting to be a father. Clint is planning to retire and go straight, but then his past catches up with him.

The Fourth Tale

There are a few connecting threads between the stories, but one of the strongest is the presence of Sleepy Floyd (Jay Ellis). He was an NBA-All-Star before he became the spokesperson for a Psytopics, which tells its cultish followers how to harness the green glow of the Bay Area and develop superpowers.

A Trip for Everyone

If you grew up in the 80s, and especially in the San Francisco area, there are hundred references and homages in Freaky Tales that will make you point at the screen and hoot.

And if you don’t understand any of that background? Well, that will just make these tales a little bit extra freaky.