The 20 Most Underrated Superhero Movies of All Time

Superhero movies have permeated society and formed an entire genre of their own variety, and films in that category have evolved significantly since the days of Christopher Reeves and Adam West. These movies speak deeply to a large sect of society that wants to experience something amazing, but not all superhero movies are shown the respect and admiration they deserve. Those who only stick to the truly mainstream superhero movies will miss out on some gems. Below is a list of the most underrated superhero films ever made.

Dredd

Compared to the Stallone version, this updated film takes the classic Judge Dredd character and revamps him for the modern world. The movie makes great use of CGI and 3D effects, and the stoic nature of Dredd’s perfect justice permeates every scene.

Daredevil

Long before Ben Affleck donned to hood of the Dark Knight, he took the role of Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen with extraordinary senses. This movie didn’t quite get the acclaim it deserved, and many feel it was slightly ahead of its time.

Green Lantern

This film gets a lot of grief because of the animated super suit and the sarcastic portrayal of Hal Jordan by Ryan Reynolds. However, when taken at face value, Green Lantern is an excellent self-contained superhero flick with a lot of heart and great entertainment value. Hopefully, a remake will be in the works for the DCEU.

Darkman

With Liam Nesson in the titular role of this movie, it’s no wonder the movie is good. It was one of the first superhero films produced in the modern era, and it was directed by Sam Raimi before he went on to direct Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man.

Hellboy

Hellboy is one of the best superhero movies on Netflix, and it’s based on a comic series that is often overlooked next to the mainstream heroes like Superman and Spider-Man. The detail in Hellboy is amazing, and it has an ethereal feel that transcends most superhero movies.

Blade

Before the Underworld series redefined modern vampire action movies, Blade set the precedent with Weasley Snipes as the leading man. Snipes was brilliant in the role, and the plot development was engaging and grungy. The blending of modern tech themes with ancient vampire mythology for this film is genius.

Batman Forever

Compared to the Nolan Batman universe, everything before is generally subpar, but Batman Forever is a rare exception. Jim Carrey as The Riddler was the prefect casting choice, and even though the movie is over 20 years old, it still plays well with audiences thanks to its one-liners and zany appeal.

The Rocketeer

While not often considered a legitimate superhero movie, The Rocketeer perfectly fits the bill. This movie was released in 1991, so it was long before the majority of modern superhero movies, but it was written well and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Mystery Men

This adaption of a little-known series was released in the middle of the superhero movie drought that occurred after the Tim Burton Batman series, but it didn’t deserve to be ignored. It has an all-star cast and lots of grit, and the level of comic relief is perfect for such an unorthodox superhero movie.

Spider-Man 3

It’s hard not to give credit to Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 for revitalizing the superhero movie industry. Spider-Man 2 is widely held as one of the best superhero movies of all times, but its sequel isn’t given much credit. Some hated how Spider-Man 3 included multiple villains, but as a finale in the series, it couldn’t be much better. They probably could have found a better Venom/Eddie Brock than Topher Grace, though.

Super

Much like the movie Kick-Ass, in which a non-superpowered individual decides to become a superhero, Super is based more in reality than typical superhero movies. It didn’t do well in the box office, but it has great action, humor, and acting from the cast that includes Rainn Wilson and Kevin Bacon.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

The animated Batman series was iconic in its portrayal of the Caped Crusader, and this movie is animated with the same style and voice actors. Mark Hamill was brilliant as the Joker, and the movie gets away from the childish narratives of typical cartoons for something more serious and true to the source material.

Unbreakable

Perhaps Shyamalan’s most memorable movie beyond The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable is the story of a normal man who slowly discovers he might actually be a superhero. The contrast between Willis and Sam Jackson in the role of the villain was palpable, and it appears as if a sequel is in the works after the events in Split.

V for Vendetta

Hugo Weaving absolutely destroyed the role of an escaped test subject in futuristic England, and the movie has a message that goes much deeper than mere entertainment. This movie proves that knowledge is just as powerful as actual superpowers.

Watchmen

The Watchmen graphic novel is often called one of the best literary works of all time, and the movie adaptation is surprisingly adequate at summarizing the long and convoluted story. If nothing else, the power of Dr. Manhattan is awe-inspiring

Batman Returns

Although Tim Burton’s first attempt to make a Batman film was a disaster, the sequel was a refreshing new take on the superhero film. Burton’s gloomy version of Gotham and artistic style that only he can pull off is something to be remembered. Plus, how can you beat Danny DeVito as the Penguin?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

This film may not be the best X-Men movie to be released, but it is still an incredible piece of cinema. Although it strays from the story originally told in the comic books, the movie is emotionally riveting and has some of the best action sequences of all time.

The Punisher

Released in 2004, this film did not get talked about enough. It’s a gritty action-packed rollercoaster of entertainment with a great revenge story to match. Watching John Travolta play the king pin in the film is just one of many reasons to put this film on your watch list.

Blade II

Wesley Snipes fighting with vampires against a combat of Reapers: how can you not love this film? Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film has been neglected in the superhero series likely because it isn’t a white dude saving the day.

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider is a fiery film about a stunt motorcyclist (Nicolas Cage) giving up his soul and raising hell against evil on earth. It deserves a mention because it takes on a new supernatural approach that you don’t get with most superhero movies.

Anyone with a passing interest in superhero movies should certainly take the time to work through this list. Remember, don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a comic book movie by its critics. Just because a movie doesn’t reach mainstream success doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching.

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