The best superhero movies out there that aren't Marvel or DC include The Crow, Hancock, and The Incredibles.
Contrary to popular belief, not all superhero movies start with “Marvel” or “DC”. Granted, both entities get the bulk of the lion’s share, but there are also plenty of great properties that are not part of the Big Two. Of course, these non-Big Two films don’t come around often but when they do, they tend to leave a lasting impression.
Some are in-your-face superhero flicks, while others (one in particular) may not be so in-your-face until the closing credits are about to roll.
With that in mind, we have put together our list of the 10 best superhero movies that aren’t part of the Marvel or DC family. Tell us what you think.
THE 10 BEST SUPERHERO MOVIES THAT AREN’T FROM MARVEL OR DC
10. Chronicle (2012)
Back in the day when “found footage” movies were popular, scribes Max Landis and Josh Trank (who also directed the film) came up with Chronicle, a found footage gem about superheroes and villains in the making.
The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Dane Dehaan, and Alex Russell as three high school students who come in contact with a strange object that gives them unique powers that, at first, they use for fun and games until tragedy strikes.
Andrew (DeHaan) is a lonely high schooler who decides to purchase a video camera to log his trials and tribulations. Shortly after, Andrew’s cousin Matt and his friend Steve ask Andrew to videotape a large hole the two of them found in the woods. Turns out when they go through the hole, they find a large object that begins to react when the three get close to it.
When they turn the camera on again, the three have developed some type of powers. Over time, they begin to learn how to harness them, but Andrew’s history of being bullied begins to take a dark turn and he begins to use his powers to harm rather than do good.
Chronicle is a superhero origin story that ultimately pits good vs evil in a very entertaining way.
9. Mystery Men (1999)
Mystery Men is a superhero comedy movie starring Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, and Hank Azaria as the amateur superhero team Mr. Furious, the Shoveler, and the Blue Raja.
Wanting to prove their worth any chance they get, they typically end up failing as their superpowers are dubious at best. When supervillain, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush), is released from the insane asylum and captures the true superhero, Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), the amateur superheroes jump into action.
Finally realizing that they might need more allies to help save Amazing, they recruit more “heroes” for the cause. They bring in Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell), The Spleen (Paul Reubens), and The Bowler (Janeane Garofolo) and the team is complete.
8. The Mask (1994)
The Mask is an entertaining superhero movie that stars Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz and is based on the comic from Dark Horse Comics. It tells the story of Stanley Ipkiss, a bank clerk with little going for him. He lives with his dog Milo and has but one friend.
Things get worse for Stanley when Tina Carlyle (Diaz) walks into his bank and he is immediately smitten. But Tina is the girlfriend of a local gangster, Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene).
Life for Stanley is truly about to change when he finds a mask floating in the river. The mask takes charge of his life, turning him from a mild and meek man into a green-faced hero that has the ability to animate himself as well as turn himself into just about anything he wishes.
The movie offers a show-stopping musical number and an unhinged, hilarious performance by Jim Carrey.
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Over the years since Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created the comic book about the Heroes in a Half-Shell, there have been numerous animated and live-action versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This 1990 version is the first time the Turtles were seen live-action and remains one of the best.
This one follows crime reporter April O’Neil as she begins to report a crime wave taking over New York City. Her investigation leads her to Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, four turtles who have grown to human size with amazing fighting abilities after they came in contact with a strange ooze.
Together, and along with vigilante Casey Jones (Elias Koteas), they team up to rescue the Turtles’ mentor, Splinter, and battle bad guy Shredder and his henchmen, the Foot.
6. Hancock (2008) – GFR score: 6.6
Just as Marvel was beginning to hit the multiplexes with Iron Man in 2008, Will Smith was starring in an original superhero movie of his own, Hancock. This one had more of a serious tone to it (though there was some fun to it as well) as Smith’s hero was an alcoholic with no regard for too much around him.
When the film was first produced, it received an R-rating and needed to go through a couple more edits to get it to its final PG-13 rating.
Hancock also stars Jason Bateman as Ray Embrey, a man whom Hancock saves and tries to help Hancock rehabilitate his public image. Charlize Theron is Ray’s wife, Mary, but her connection to Hancock goes much deeper.
5. The Rocketeer (1991)
Well before Marvel and DC began to dominate superhero moviedom, Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone brought to life The Rocketeer, a film set in the late 1930s and one based on an original comic from Dave Stevens.
The film is about stunt pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) who happens to find a prototype rocket pack that just so happened to be built by business magnate and all-around rich guy, Howard Hughes (Terry O’Quinn).
Not blessed with one superpower, Cliff instead uses the rocket pack to do his good deeds, which include rescuing his girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly) and fighting off the Nazis, who are keen on obtaining the prototype rocket pack for their own nefarious deeds. Disney had a winner with The Rocketeer.
4. Hellboy (2004)
We would like to impart a bit of advice to those unknowing. Disregard the 2019 reboot of Hellboy, turn the clock back to 2004, and enjoy the “hell” out of the Ron Perlman-led version. Truthfully, how can you not since it was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, which he based on the Dark Horse Comic?
Del Toro brings his superhero up from the depths of Hell to team up with an amphibious humanoid and a pyrokinetic psychiatric patient to fight off demons small and large. One of the better superhero films that weren’t spawned from the depths of Marvel or DC.
3. Unbreakable (2000)
The brilliance behind M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero movie is that you may not even know you are watching a superhero origin film with Unbreakable. Yes, Bruce Willis’s David Dunn does survive a train derailing that killed everyone but himself, and yes, he discovers that he may be able to lift a lot more weight than he ever expected, but “superhero” is not what we label him.
Slowly, though, we begin to realize that we just may be seeing the beginnings of one. Willis is joined by Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Elijah, a man suffering from brittle bone disease, causing him a lifetime of pain and anguish, and one that makes him bitter to the world around him. It appears that we are also seeing the birth of a supervillain as well.
The wonderful superhero movie produced two sequels, Split, which introduced James McAvoy in a brilliant performance as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with numerous split personalities, one who claims to be the monster The Horde.
The other was the final film in the trilogy, Glass, which brings all three characters back together, David Dunn, Elijah, and Kevin Wendell Crumb.
2. The Incredibles (2004)
Disney scores again in the superhero movie department with their Pixar animated film, The Incredibles. The story follows a family of superheroes as they try to live a normal life after a government mandate said superheroes could no longer perform their superhero duties. Try as they may, the Incredibles are forced out of hiding when one vengeful superfan turns into a supervillain to exact his revenge.
Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Spencer Fox voice the Incredibles and are joined by Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone. Jason Lee is on board voicing superfan-turned-bad guy Buddy Pine, while Brad Bird who wrote and directed the film, is Edna, the Incredibles fashion designer.
1. The Crow (1994)
James O’Barr’s comic creation, The Crow, came to life in 1994, though it was marked by the tragic death of rising star, Brandon Lee, who was the son of legendary martial arts master and actor, Bruce Lee. The excellent superhero movie tells the story of rock musician Eric Draven (Lee), who is killed when he and his fiancé are attacked after they are part of a protest about the forced evictions at their apartment complex.
One year later, the young girl they were watching after, Sarah, visits their graves. As they leave, a crow lands on Eric’s gravestone, tapping it, and bringing him back to life. Now, guided by the crow who brought him back to life, Eric is on a quest to exact revenge on those who took his and his fiancé’s life.
Lee was accidentally and mortally shot on set after most of his scenes were filmed. The movie was completed using a couple of minor rewrites, a stunt double, and some fancy (at the time) special effects.
is fiancé are attacked after they are part of a protest about the forced evictions at their apartment complex.
- GFR Score calculated using averages of audience and critical reactions across multiple platforms.