Superhero Fatigue? Try These 10 Non-Marvel, Non-DC Options
These are not your typical origin stories or superhero flicks: superpowers – sure, heroes? – not so much.
Fans of "The Boys " will find this one sounding just a bit too familiar. A couple in Brightburn, Kansas, adopts a baby who crash-landed in a spaceship. Named Brandon, he starts exhibiting extraordinary powers – great, right? Except, he uses them to terrorize the town, not save it. It's a grim, violent twist on the superhero genre, and man, it is relentless. No moral high ground here, just a straight-up descent into chaos.
What happens when three teens stumble upon a glowing meteorite and acquire telekinetic abilities? They goof off, initially – floating LEGO blocks and all that jazz. But soon, these powers take on a sinister undertone, especially for Andrew, the troubled one. Ever wondered how the teensy-weensy actions of today might snowball into catastrophes tomorrow? Well, Andrew's downward spiral will give you a crash course. There's no spandex in sight, yet "Chronicle" packs more punch than a legion of caped crusaders. It has its issues – teen angst can get a tad melodramatic – but hey, no one said being a super-teen was easy, right?
Meet Frank – a short-order cook who turns into Crimson Bolt when his wife leaves him for a drug dealer. It's a deconstruction of the superhero mythos, but don't expect a lot of flying around or cape-flapping. Armed with a wrench and a shaky moral compass, Frank fights petty crime. Don't look for polished choreography here. This is the gritty, messy side of heroism, minus the polish but full of dark laughs. Is it a satire? Or is it the slapstick answer to superhero melodrama? Frankly, no pun intended, it might be a bit of both.
Jumper, takes the superhero genre and turns it into a game of global hopscotch. David Rice discovers he can teleport and goes from his high school tormentors to the Sphinx in Egypt. No capes, no mentors, just raw, unfiltered escapism. Until, of course, Samuel L. Jackson shows up as a Jumper-hunter. Why? Because you can't have power without someone wanting to yank it from you, that's why! There's globetrotting, action, and a dash of moral ambiguity. Teleportation's never looked so alluring – or dangerous.
5. "Sky High"
What if 'High School Musical' melded with superheroes? Voila! Welcome to Sky High, a school in the sky for teenage supers. Will Stronghold, son of the world's greatest heroes, has yet to manifest any powers. Oh, the hormonal calamity! He finds himself in 'Hero Support,' aka the loser class. However, all's not well in this high-flying utopia. A villain threatens the school, and it's up to Will and his underdog pals to save the day. Think zits, first loves, and saving the world, all wrapped up in a buoyant package. It's quirky and plays it just a bit too safe, but still: a great watch before Amazon's "Gen V " ruins young supes for you for good.
Forget origin stories, training montages, and even, um, muscles. Dave Lizewski, an average high school kid, decides one day to become the vigilante, Kick-Ass. The outfit? A scuba suit. The weapons? Batons. Oh, and he gets his butt kicked – a lot. But the real scene-stealers are Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, a father-daughter duo with lethal combat skills. It's crude, it's irreverent, and yes, it kicks ass! Vulgar one moment and sentimental the next, "Kick-Ass" defies easy categorization.
We're talking secret government agencies, psychics, and a fight to control a drug that could create super soldiers. Our guy, Nick, is a telekinetic on the run. Then there's Cassie, a young clairvoyant. Together they must outwit the Division. What's in it for you? Well, imagine shootouts with mental bullets and action scenes that defy the laws of physics. Critics didn't exactly push for "Push," but if you're willing to roll with its erratic tempo, it offers thrills aplenty.
Meet Arthur, a regular guy who moonlights as Defendor, a vigilante with marbles and lime juice as his weapons. Is it gritty? Oh yeah. Is it absurd? Even more so. He's on a quest to find his arch-nemesis, Captain Industry, a villain that doesn't really exist. It's the Don Quixote of superhero films, a tragicomic tale that lays bare the human delusions behind the masks.
9. "My Super Ex-Girlfriend"
A rom-com for the ages – or maybe just for those who love superheroes but also need a break from their grandiosity. Matt Saunders is an average guy who breaks up with his girlfriend, Jenny, only to find out she's G-Girl, a superhero. Cue vengeful antics that only a super-ex could pull off – like tossing a live shark into his apartment. It's hilarious, awkward, and gloriously ridiculous. But more importantly, it answers the question: what if your crazy ex-girlfriend could literally drop a car on you?
What if I told you that somewhere between the screams of comic book battles and the swoosh of capes, there exists a silent superhero story? After surviving a train accident unscathed, David Dunn, a security guard, grapples with the realization that he might be indestructible. No leaping tall buildings or saving damsels in distress; it's existential. It's quiet. It's about finding your purpose in a whisper, not a shout. M. Night Shyamalan opts for the subtle over the extravagant.