Whether you just saw The Avengers, are looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises, or are one of the few Green Lantern fans out there, everyone can see we're in a golden time for superhero based feature fare.
But for every box office busting smash there are films that get lost in the shadows. So I decided to scour Wikipedia and Youtube for a half hour to find some superhero flicks you might have missed.
1. The Phantom
Does anyone else remember the “Smash Evil” tagline? This might be the most well remembered of films that I mention here, but it doesn’t make it any less obscure.
Billy Zane got super fit for this movie and the all-purple jumpsuit he wore STILL managed to make him look bloated. For your comic strip characters created to exist during the 30's and 40's The Phantom got a little bit of the short end of movie stick in 1996.
When my friends and I saw it I remember we had to convice each other that we weren't going to punch ourselves in the face over how bad the movie was. Smash Evil, indeed.
2. Generation X
This trailer uses the dreaded “They’ve got the [insert what you have here]!” trope to describe how f*cking radical these people are. You weren’t ready. 1996 wasn’t ready. Hell, we still aren’t ready.
People love the X-men, right? So what if the X-men were teenagers going through puberty and really liked Quad City DJs, No Doubt, and popular fashions? My response? What if they didn't.
This isn’t a knock on the comic, which was good, or its creator, whom I know. Just that I’ve seen this movie and it’s the poops.
3. The Meteor Man
I’ve never seen this Robert Townsend helmed flick. So I can't and I won't judge it. But holy crap this film is a who’s who of black actors and comedians. And Luther Vandross?! Get outta here.
But for looking and sounding like a product of its time it does very, very well. There's a gunfight where Cyprus Hill is involved, a lot of commentary on crime, and African pride. This was two years after Boyz In The Hood so white America was still learning a lot about the black community. So of course imagine our relief when we found out they had their own superhero. Thank god we didn't have to lift a finger to save those poor, crime ridden communities now that Meteor Man was around. I'm sure glad nothing bad happened after this movie came out!
It’s trailers like this that make me wish Tyler Perry had integrity and control of the Milestone Comics characters. I could easily see a Static Shock film launching in this superhero friendly climate.
4. Howard The Duck
Howard The Duck isn't necessarily bad as much as it's incredibly strange and a weird note in George Lucas' career. That is until Kingdom of The Crystal Skull, but that's for another time. You know the idea that people are predesposed to be nostalgic about the year in which they were born? That doesn't include this film for me.
Howard the Duck is an actual Marvel comics hero, though an obscure one. But the most fondly remembered moment of Howard the Duck for me was when he was combined with DC Comic's over-the-top, intergalatic bounty hunter character named Lobo:
Now that's a comic I can get behind! It's like if Donald Duck f***ed the Punisher.
5. Dr. Strange
At first, I thought it was a joke. This looks too much like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace to actually be real. But I was so very wrong.
This is also a film I've never seen but I have to say, it seems acurate. Could you imagine if Dr. House had to deal with lupus that actually turned people into werewolves?! Awesome, right? So I suppose the idea of a doctor having to trust in the arcane to defeat his enemies makes total sense in that light.
But "The Le Fay Method"? C'mon Stan Lee you're practically telegraphing the villian reveal! It's like you can't stop writing overly wordy expository dialogue…
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