On one occasion, Richard Donner spoke about his vision of. Superman and insisted that the hero of DC had a disturbing side, despite his acknowledged goodness and incorruptible morals. For the director, who was responsible for the character’s arrival on the big screen in 1978, the last son of Krypton was something more than a powerful alien. Among the atypical superhero movies, this one also showed a space visitor with detailed knowledge about humans who could impersonate one. According to the director, it was reassuring that he had the values of our planet and did not object to them with violence.
This is a premise that has interested the film world, even before the revolution of the superhero genre. What happens when a human being is given all kinds of abilities that uncontrollable? Will he always opt for the good, as the most popular comics suggest? Can the absence of physical or other restrictions transform anyone into a perverse being?
Speculation of the effect of unlimited abilities is part of a sinister side of heroic figures. Much more so when linked to our culture’s need to confer meaning on extraordinary abilities. However, not always a great attribute is an important liability, sometimes it ends up becoming the most fearsome weapon.
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We leave you with five atypical superhero movies that tell stories where power is more than just an advantage. It’s also an exploration of human nature, good and evil. But, in particular, of how terrifying a creature can be when it knows that nothing can stop it. Perhaps, the most intriguing exception in the ever-growing universe of superheroic characters.
Brightburn: son of darkness
David Yarovesky’s film does not disguise its influences. This tale of what might have happened if Superman were more than a well-meaning alien is terrifying for the subtext it examines. At the hands of the director, and with James Gunn producing, it becomes part of the genre of atypical superhero horror films. Beyond that, it is a reflection on the nature of evil and how power can awaken a dark and latent part in anyone.
Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) is a seemingly ordinary boy in rural America, until he discovers his astonishing origin. After believing he was the adopted son of a loving couple, he turns out to be part of some mysterious civilization, from which he inherits colossal abilities. During its first stretch, the script makes direct nods to the DC character. But it soon becomes evident that the narrative will take new paths. Which includes the boy’s self-discovery about what it means that nothing in the world he knows can stop him.
Filled with scenes of explicit gore and with a chilling ending, this example of the atypical superhero movie genre takes the idea of an evolving villain to new heights. At the same time, it makes it clear that superior physical and mental abilities are no guarantee of goodness. An element on which the film insists in a macabre epilogue about what Brando will become.
HancockWill Smith and the atypical superhero movies
Usually, a superhero is usually considered an illustrious symbol in the city in which he or she lives. With the exception of the Hancock played by Will Smith, who whips Los Angeles as a major catastrophe. This man, with exceptional strength and all sorts of physical attributes, is much more of a threat than a comforting figure. Not for lack of good intentions. His desire to help is evident, even if the methods he uses are more than questionable. Even more serious is the ambiguity of his personality. For the disgruntled superhero, good and evil have all sorts of gradations.
Hancock Is about finding a purpose to follow. Also to have better public relations. A very mundane resolution in a figure on the level of a demigod. However, Vince Gilligan and Vincent Ngo’s script shows a character on the verge of collapse. With no memory of his past and the conviction of being completely different in a world that isolates him, he struggles to understand his obligation. What is a hero’s duty in real life supposed to be?
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Among the atypical superhero movies, the plot of Hancock has enough wit to make the film tragicomic, until a change of tone transforms it into something different. In its second half, the moody protagonist becomes a tragic figure who discovers a complicated love story. Becoming an ineffective combination of philosophical reflection and drama, the film loses its ability to discourse on spiritual duality. Nevertheless, it retains some of its bitter insight into extraordinary attributes and how they can be understood.
The Old Guard
Andy (Charlize Theron) and her group of mercenaries have all the accumulated knowledge of a very long life. So much so that they believe any one of them could be immortal. But without clear certainty that they are invulnerable, every day becomes a risk.
Among the atypical superhero films, this is an action film and its plot, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is based on the comic book of the same name by Greg Rucka. A feature film that offers a reflection on predestination in the figure of the superhero. What would happen if living forever was the only power against an implacable enemy?
The plot thickens as Andy and his team face a contemporary nemesis. An adversary who does not wish to defeat them, but to carefully study their ability to regenerate and longevity. It is then that each of these anti-heroes, aged, time-wounded and disenchanted with the concept of good, must make a decision: Will they lose the gift of eternal life without a fight? Will they finally die without finding a transcendent goal? The film, which will have a sequel on Netflix, leaves the questions unanswered, but is skilled enough to make them relevant in the long run.
Watchmen: The Watchmen
Before Zack Snyder got involved with DC’s failed attempt to create a big screen universe, he directed a plot and visual oddity that still surprises within atypical superhero movies. Watchmenby Alan Moore and Dave Gibson, is unanimously considered one of the best graphic novels in history. At the same time, the most complicated to adapt.
So the decision to film a movie version raised suspicions, complaints from fans and fears for the integrity of the original material. The project was passed between production companies and studios until it reached the hands of Warner Bros, which gave the green light to a project in which no effort was spared.
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From having an astronomical budget for atypical superhero films, to trying to adapt every complicated arc of the original storyline. The film transcended industry boundaries for the genre and became an auteur work. And if that wasn’t enough, it took the storytelling of a group of powerful figures with a shady past to levels of astonishing quality.
Fourteen years after its release, the feature film continues to be considered a cult film among fans. At the same time, a demonstration that superhero stories can reach completely novel and adult limits. An element that Watchmen stands out in each of its scenes.
The Protégéone of the best atypical superhero movies.
After becoming one of Hollywood’s most recognizable directors for his success in The Sixth SenseM. Night Shyamalan decided to tell a plot from the atypical superhero movie genre. This one involved an invulnerable man and a possible secret that would make him a reluctant hero. It was a boldness that, at the time, was incomprehensible. Iron Man was still seven years away and, in fact, much of the superhero genre was underappreciated by Hollywood.
But the filmmaker told an intimate tale of an ordinary man faced with inexplicable circumstances, who had to solve the secret of his identity at the cost of his family and future. The Protégé took comic book fans by surprise. Beyond the power of David Dunn (Bruce Willis), was a tragic tale of moral growth. At the same time, a completely new perspective on formidable capabilities.
Turned into a trilogy, the film became a bizarre piece of an often underrated genre type. Nevertheless, two decades after its release, it is considered a brilliant work that opened a new space for unique characters that redefined the behavior of the traditional hero on the big screen.