From movies that deserve a second chance to films that were so underrated that you might not have even heard of them, we’ve rounded up a selection of superhero films from the past 15 years that don’t receive much acclaim, but may be worth a (re)watch.
Hitting theaters less than two months after Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Batman Begins in 2005, Sky High offers a very different take on superheroes than Nolan’s gritty, grounded saga. The movie follows Will Stronghold the son of beloved superheroes the Commander and Jetstream as he starts his classes at Sky High, a high school in the clouds that’s aimed at training the children of supers to become the heroes of the future. The only problem? Will has no superpowers, which makes things tricky when a villain takes all the super-parents out of commission, and suddenly, it’s on the kids of Sky High to save the day.
Although Sky High performed decently at the box office and received generally positive reviews, it was never truly able to establish itself as a mainstay in the superhero canon. Perhaps after Batman Begins, viewers weren’t in the right mindset for a lighthearted, campy romp, or perhaps adult audiences didn’t fully connect with the teen cast. Whatever the reason, Sky High didn’t make a huge splash when it came out, and it’s mostly faded from memory.
However, don’t let its modest performance or poor staying power fool you. Sky High is an energetic, cheesy blast, filled with heartwarming friendships, high-stakes adventure, and charmingly weird superpowers from characters like the girl with the ability to transform herself into a talking guinea pig.
Years before Nick Fury teased a project called the “Avengers Initiative” and over a decade before Deku started classes in My Hero Academia, Sky High delivered a team of funny, endearing superheroes the whole family could enjoy.
If you’ve never heard of the 2006 superhero-themed dramedy Special, you don’t need to turn in your superhero cred card just yet. Barely anyone saw the low-budget film during its limited theatrical release. As for the plot, Special follows a man named Les, played by Michael Rapaport, who believes he’s developed superpowers after experiencing an adverse reaction during a clinical drug trial. Despite attempts from his doctor and friends to persuade him to stop taking the drug, Les becomes convinced that he was given these powers for a reason, so he sets out to make things better for the citizens of his town by thwarting a series of small crimes. However, as Les gains notoriety, the company conducting the trial becomes increasingly desperate to silence him, terrified that Les’ antics will cost them their funding.
While Special is a departure from standard superhero tropes in that Les only thinks he has powers in reality, he’s running into walls when he believes he’s phasing through them and flailing on the floor when he thinks he’s flying its themes couldn’t be more true to the genre, as Les wrestles with whether his powers make him special, or if he can be special without them. Even when the film feels a little uneven, Rapaport’s earnest performance, along with the film’s unique premise, makes Special truly worthy of its title.
Hancock follows an angry, irritable amnesiac who proves that having superpowers doesn’t necessarily make you a hero. Finding himself hated by the public for his surly disposition, John Hancock hires a public relations specialist to rehabilitate his image. As a result, he winds up not only making a few more enemies, but also discovering a piece of information about his past that will change his entire future. Keep watching the video to see the most underrated superhero movies of the last 15 years.
Sky High | 0:14
Special | 1:54
Hancock | 3:13
Push | 4:31
Megamind | 6:01
Thor: The Dark World | 7:22
Defendor | 8:24
Avengers: Age of Ultron | 9:13
Saban’s Power Rangers | 10:37
The Darkest Minds | 11:41
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