The Kurt Russell Superhero Comedy That Predicted Gen V

By Douglas Helm | Updated

sky high
Sky High

Superhero schools are pretty popular nowadays. You have the massively popular My Hero Academia anime, and you have the upcoming The Boys spin-off Gen V, which will decidedly be much gorier than your typical superhero school. If you’re looking for something a bit more kid-friendly, the 2005 Kurt Russell-starring film Sky High was pretty early to the superhero high school game, and you can now stream it on Disney+.

Sky High, starring Kurt Russell, is a family-friendly movie, but it’s still a fun watch for superhero fans.

Sky High follows Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), the son of two major superheroes who enrolls in a high school for teenage superheroes after he develops his powers of flight and super strength. Along with Kurt Russell as Will’s father, the film also stars Kelly Preston, Danielle Panabaker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Steven Strait, Patrick Warburton, Dee Jay Daniels, Nicholas Braun, Lynda Carter, Cloris Leachman, and Bruce Campbell. The film was directed by Mike Mitchell (Trolls, Shrek Forever After) and written by Paul Hernandez along with Kim Possible creators Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle.

Thanks to an interesting premise and major stars like Kurt Russell, Sky High ended up doing okay at the box office, pulling in around $86 million worldwide against a production budget of $35 million. While the film initially got fairly mixed reviews, it has since developed a bit of a cult following due to its embrace of superhero tropes and its willingness to embrace the goofiness of the genre. Unlike the grittier, more dour superhero adaptations that became the norm in the 2000s, Sky High embraced a more fun and bright color palette.

sky high
Sky High

While Kurt Russell was undoubtedly the big star on the bill when Sky High was released, the film featured quite a few up-and-coming actors and some who were completely unknown at the time and went on to have much bigger careers. Daniella Panabaker had relatively few credits at the time, and she went on to become much more well-known, especially with her role in the CW’s The Flash series. Steven Strait, now well-known by sci-fan fans as James Holden in The Expanse TV adaptation, had his first acting audition ever for the film.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has become a massive star in her own right, only had small TV and film roles before Sky High. Two years later, she would nab a role in Death Proof alongside Kurt Russell before continuing to get major roles in films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Live Free or Die Hard, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. She can now be seen in one of the biggest franchises of all time, playing the Star Wars: Rebels character Hera in the Ahsoka series.

Kurt Russell hasn’t played a superhero since Sky High, but he hasn’t left comics, appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Ego, the Living Planet.

Sky High is a breezy 100 minutes long, making it the perfect movie if you’re in the mood for some lighthearted superhero shenanigans. It’s a Disney film, so don’t expect things to get dark like they do in Gen V or My Hero Academia, but it’s still plenty enjoyable to watch. Plus, how often do you get to see Kurt Russell playing a superhero called the Commander, who dresses in a Superman-like costume?

Sky High

Sky High is the last time we saw Kurt Russell as a straight-up superhero, but the acclaimed actor has since appeared in the biggest comic book film franchise of all time in the MCU. However, rather than playing a superhero, Marvel cast him as Peter Quill’s father, the supervillain and living planet Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. While Russell once again played the father of a hero in that movie, his character was decidedly less wholesome than his character is in Sky High.

Kurt Russell and his son, Wyatt Russell, will both star in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters as the same character at different ages.

Sky High should be the perfect film to hold Kurt Russell fans over until his next project hits Apple TV+ on November 17, 2023. Russell will be appearing in the highly anticipated series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, which takes place in Legendary’s Godzilla and King Kong universe. The series will follow the aftermath of the battle between Godzilla and the Titans and a family’s journey to discover the secrets of the Monarch organization that monitors and studies the monsters.

If you prefer your superhero content to be hyper-violent, you can look forward to the premiere of Gen V this Friday, September 29. The series will be premiering on Amazon Prime Video. In the meantime, you can check out Kurt Russell in Sky High on Disney+.