Theater audiences love superhero movies. Every year critics confidently predict superhero fatigue will finally stall the success of the Marvel and DC movie juggernauts. And yet every year superhero movies make billions of dollars at the box office.
People aren’t sick of superheroes yet. However, they are looking for movies that go beyond the MCU and DCEU formula. If you are also ready to watch some alternative superhero movies, Netflix has plenty of options to choose from…
1. V for Vendetta (2005)
Dystopian Political Thriller | IMDb: 8.2 | RT: 73%
Welcome to an alternate future, where a neo-fascist regime has taken control of Britain. The only one standing in the path of the authoritarian government is the mysterious entity known simply as V.
His aim is to bring about a revolution that would overthrow the government through a series of elaborately staged terrorist acts. Starring Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, and Stephen Rea in lead roles, the film was directed by James McTeigue.
The screenplay is written by The Wachowskis, based on the DC/Vertigo Comics limited series of the same name. The film drew praise for its stylized action and complex socio-political themes. V for Vendetta is sumptuous fare for those looking for deeper themes in superhero films.
2. Krrish (2006)
Bollywood Superhero Sci-Fi Thriller | IMDb: 6.4 | RT: 100%
The concept of a Bollywood superhero film might leave western audiences scratching their heads. But Krrish upends expectations of what you can get from such a film. It combines Matrix-style action with old-school Hollywood romantic musical tropes.
The film is a sequel to Koi Mil Gaya (imagine E.T. crossed with Forrest Gump). It follows the story of a young man named Krishna, who must hide his powers from the world at the behest of his grandmother.
Love brings Krishna to Singapore. There he becomes involved in a sinister conspiracy involving his dead father and a scientist bent on world domination.
The movie stars Hrithik Roshan as the charismatic lead, with Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra opposite him. Krrish is a throwback to the kind of superhero movies Hollywood was making in the Christopher Reeve era.
Roshan’s commanding performance and the film’s emphasis on practical stunts instead of CGI makes Krrish a definite standout in the crowd of foreign superhero films.
3. Hellboy (2004)
Supernatural Horror Action-Adventure | IMDb: 6.9 | RT: 81%
The world is beset by threats of the paranormal demonic variety. A secret government organization has been tasked with identifying and neutralizing such threats.
The ace up their sleeves is a demonic beast-turned-superhero nicknamed Hellboy. Sarcastic, swaggering, and supremely irreverent, Hellboy makes his own rules when it comes to protecting the world from his paranormal kin.
Starring Ron Perlman in a role that seems custom-made for him. Hellboy shows us the early genius of Guillermo del Toro as he takes over the director’s chair of a superhero film for the second time after Blade II.
The movie is based on Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, a graphic novel published by Dark Horse Comics.
4. Watchmen (2009)
Neo-Noir | IMDb: 7.6 | RT: 64%
Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen is undeniably brilliant. The critically acclaimed graphic novel series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons on which the film is based is owned by DC. But it superbly satirizes DC’s own trademark tropes when it comes to superhero comics, as well as Marvel’s.
In 1985, the arrival of a god-like being named Dr. Manhattan shakes up the world and the superheroes populating it at the height of the Cold War. It is up to a group of retired heroes to navigate a myriad of complex moral and interpersonal dilemmas in their quest to uncover a vast and sinister conspiracy regarding the fate of the entire world.
5. Next Gen (2018)
Sci-Fi Action Comedy-Drama | IMDb: 6.6 | RT: 80%
The world has moved forward technologically. Sentient robots are commonplace. Mai Su is a lonely teenage girl who encounters a top-secret robot prototype known simply as 7723. The two unlikely allies must band together to put an end to a vicious threat.
Starring John Krasinski, Charlyne Yi, Jason Sudeikis, and Michael Pena among others. This Canadian-American-Chinese feature was directed by Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander, and scheduled for a 2018 Netflix release.
The movie effectively puts its young protagonist at the center of the action. It is the relationship between Mai and 7723 that drives much of the narrative. This is a great watch for the whole family.
6. Psychokinesis (2018)
South Korean Superhero Adventure | IMDb: 5.9 | RT: 88%
Director Yeon Sang-ho follows up his blockbuster zombie feature Train to Busan with a film about an average Joe who gets superpowers. When bank security guard Shin Roo-mi gains telekinetic powers following contact with a mysterious meteor, his whole life turns upside down.
He finds himself in the crosshairs of an evil construction company that wants to take over his neighborhood. Unless Shin can step up to the challenge and save the day.
The movie is frequently funny and offers some sharp social commentary. Psychokinesis also features the type of practical actions scenes that South Korean cinema is famous for.
More emphasis is laid on the human side of the superhero narrative instead of throwing out scene after scene of CGI spectacle.
7. Astro Boy (2009)
Hong Kong-America Computer Animation | IMDb: 6.3 | RT: 50%
Based on the popular Manga series of the same name. Astro Boy follows the story of Tobio Tenma, a 13-year-old boy who was disintegrated by a dangerous weapon. His distraught grandfather constructs a robot replica of Tobio using his memories.
The robot must come to terms with the memory of its human self while battling the very machine that took his life earlier.
With a voice cast which includes Freddie Highmore, Nicholas Cage, and Eugene levy among others, Astro Boy is a marvelously designed piece of cartoon kinetics. The lack of originality of the plot is more than made up for by the visual thrills it offers.
Exploring Sci-Fi Beyond DC and Marvel
At the end of the day, most superhero films can basically be defined as “Science fiction movies featuring men in tights”. But the science fiction genre itself ranges far beyond conventional superhero fare. You can explore the genre further with the best modern sci-fi movies on Netflix.
And if you still feel the need for a superhero fix, these forgotten superhero games you should definitely play will put you in the shoes of your favorite superpowered characters.