We live in the era of superhero movies. Marvel is riding high right now with hugely-successful films featuring superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, and even a talking raccoon named Rocket. DC Comics, while less successful, is still making an impact with Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and they are home to two of the most popular superheroes of all time: Superman and Batman. With all the films there, it’s no surprise that there are some that flew under the radar and are remembered by very few. Here’s a list of forgotten movie superheroes:
Released in 1994, this superhero movie starring Damon Wayans is technically a parody. It follows Daryl, a mild-mannered nerd who invents a bulletproof costume for himself. He hits the streets to stop crime, but after having spent his life studying, he’s ill-equipped. He didn’t even come up with a good superhero name, and he becomes “Blankman” after he’s asked who he is, and he “goes blank.” Audiences did not connect with Daryl’s awkward heroism and the movie bombed. Damon Wayans did go on find success on his sitcom “My Wife and Kids,” but Blankman is a superhero that will most likely not be getting a reboot.
“Darkman” joined the ranks of forgotten movie superheroes in 1990. Starring Liam Neeson as the title character, the movie is one of the few on this list not based on a comic book. Director and writer Sam Raimi wanted to pay homage to movies from the 1930’s, and Darkman’s bandaged look is very reminiscent of the Invisible Man. Dr. Peyton Westlake has a perfect life and recently discovered a synthetic skin substitute for burn victims. However, he’s forced to use the technology on himself after he’s attacked and presumed dead. He also somehow gains super-strength, and must now essentially 3-D print his own faces. Frances McDormand also stars as Darkman’s grieving fiance. The film did pretty well with both audiences and critics, and there are two direct-to-video sequels, though Liam Neeson does not return.
Based on a comic book by Dave Stevens, this superhero film features stunt pilot Cliff Secord, who finds a jet pack. He then flies around pursuing justice and must evade both the FBI (who is searching for the jet pack) and the Nazis. The film is set in 1938 and has a strong classic Hollywood vibe. The special effects were done by George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic and directed by Joe Johnston, who was considered a protege of Joe Johnston. Billy Campbell plays the lead, despite pressure from Disney to cast a better-known actor like Johnny Depp. Critics enjoyed the film, but it failed to make enough money to justify planned sequels. Disney is planning some kind of reboot, however, in the form of a kid’s animated series starring a female rocketeer.
Not all forgotten movie superheroes were played by less than A-list actors like Billy Campbell. In 1999, Ben Stiller joined forces with an impressive cast for “Mystery Men,” a story about unimpressive superheroes forced to fight evil when all the good heroes go missing. With names like Mr. Furious and The Shoveler, this crew represents the underdogs of the superhero world. The film is very loosely based on Flaming Carrot Comics, a parody, and didn’t play well to audiences. It cost $68 million to make, and only made $33 million back. It has a modest 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, however, and is somewhat of a cult favorite in certain circles.
All this superheroes have movies of their own, but there are some that will probably never see the big screen. From a man who gets the speed of a mongoose to a woman whose superpower is her weight, here’s a list you’ll most likely never see in a movie.