Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Top 5 Super-Hero Movies or TV Shows NOT Based On Comics

As you can see in recent posts, I've gotten on a list-making kick, and my post comparing the 90s Electric Superman to Steven Spielberg's Freakazoid inspired the following round up of five of the best super-hero sagas of movies and television that are not adaptations of comics.  
For a moment, I considered putting Batman Beyond on this list, since Terry McGinniss is an original creation for TV, but, in the end, he's still calling himself Batman and Bruce Wayne is still hanging around. Heck, if I were gonna include Batman Beyond I might as well throw in the Lou Ferigno The Incredible Hulk series, since it shared little other than a title with the comics that were supposed to have inspired it.
Also, although I've heard good things about it, and enjoyed other films by Sam  Raimi, especially the first two Spider-Man films and the Evil Dead series, I've never actually seen Darkman, so that's why it didn't make the list.
Anyway, the list I finally settled on follows the jump.  Please feel free to share your thoughts on this list, as well as any additions or substitutions you might have made.
5.  The Greatest American Hero
 Ok, this was, ultimately, a one-joke show; that joke being that an ordinary guy gets handed a super-suit by aliens and promptly loses the instruction book, leading to him fumbling awkwardly through a series of adventures but ultimately saving the day.  The chemistry between stars William Katt, Connie Selleca and Robert Culp, however, served to keep things fresh. 
4. Heroes
To be honest, I've only watched the show a couple of times, which is why its so low on the list, but what  I have seen has been pretty spectacular.
3. Freakazoid!
You knew this was on the list, since I mentioned it in my intro, and if you've ever seen it, you know why.  Freakazoid works both as super-hero adventure and as hilarious parody of not just super-heroes but all aspects of 90s life and pop culture.
2. Unbreakable
So, Sam Jackson's character, "Mr. Glass", spends his childhood reading comics and grows up to be a mass-murderer?  Who wrote this screenplay? Fredric Wertham?  This little quibble only occurred to me a couple of days after seeing Unbreakable.     When you  are watching the film, you get totally caught up in the world of this marvelously entertaining, edge of the seat psychological thriller featuring wonderful performances by Bruce Willis and Jackson, finally getting the screen time together that Pulp Fiction denied them.
And now,  (drumroll, please):
The #1 Movie or TV Show Not Based On A Comic Book:
The Incredibles
 My favorite film from Pixar Studios is an exciting, hilarious, and heartwarming mash-up of The Fantastic Four and Watchmen that would rank pretty darn high on a list of best super-hero movies whether based on comics or not and any list of best super-hero stories in any medium, as well.  Plus, a featurette on the DVD introduced me to one of my favorite writers, Sarah Vowell, who provided the voice of Violet. She's just one of a fine ensemble of voice  actors including Craig T. Nelson and Jason Lee (and, of course, a cameo by John Ratzenberger,best known as Cliff on Cheers, who has appeared in every Pixar film and is called the studio's "good luck charm" by Incredibles director Brad Bird in a DVD  commentary.)
Ok,  I'm getting off topic here, but I'm sure what else there is to say about this wonderful film. It's my #1 pick and it deserves to be, and that's that.

1 comment:

  1. When you get the chance, you should check out Darkman. It's hard to go wrong when your two leads are Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand. I haven't seen it in years, so I have no way of knowing how well the film has aged, but I Darkman clearly shows the earlier steps Raimi took on his way to making Spider-Man.