‘Unbreakable’ and 9 other superhero movies that aren’t really action movies

It’s natural to think that a movie about a superhero (or superheroes) is going to be an action movie. Honestly, the vast majority are, because having characters with superpowers can make for a lot of exciting action sequences and explosive settings. These are often characters who take it upon themselves to save others or even the entire world, and thus dealing with some sort of dire threat usually involves just that: fighting.

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But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Superhero movies can offer satisfying stories featuring powerful heroes and villains without emphasizing the action, as the 10 films below demonstrate. Some of the following have small amounts of action here and there, but all ultimately provide stories that are more connected to other genres and in turn help add diversity to the superhero genre as a whole. .

Batman (2022)

When it comes to live action Batman movies, 2022 Batman is far from the only film to portray the character in a dark light. the Tim Burton films contrasted with the low-budget 1960s version of Batman and by Christophe Nolan trilogy also aimed to take the character into more gritty territory (especially with 2008’s The Dark Knight).

But all Batman Films released before 2022 still functioned as action films. Batman It shifts gears, focusing more on Batman’s detective skills than his physical prowess, meaning audiences saw a version of the character that didn’t get his hands dirty as often. The slow pace, focus on solving the central mystery, and nearly three-hour running time also meant it was less moving. Batman more than usual, but the change was welcome (and rewarding).

“Unbreakable” (2000)

with Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan was quite successful in delivering a dark deconstruction of the superhero genre before it began to completely dominate the cinematic landscape. It’s a grounded and original take on the idea of ​​superpowers, centered on two men: one seemingly invincible, the other suffering from a condition that makes his bones extremely brittle.

Not an action movie, Unbreakable is an intense psychological thriller where the main characters have unusual physical conditions that make them look like superheroes/villains. He has resisted well and is benefiting from his loyal performances Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in the main roles.

“Superman” (1978)

while Superman (1978) is one of the first and most iconic superhero films of all time, making watching it more than forty years after its release an amazing experience. The fact that it’s a film largely devoid of action scenes sets it apart from most modern superhero blockbusters.

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Although this is far from a bad thing. If anything, it does Superman even better because the focus on the main character saving people and preventing disasters rather than fighting bad guys makes it surprisingly worthwhile. It’s a thrilling film and contains plenty of great special effects moments and sequences, even if it doesn’t have “action scenes” in the traditional sense.

“The Venomous Avenger” (1984)

A great mix of horror, raunchy comedy and superhero movie, A venomous avenger It is a cult classic that remains the most popular work released by Troma Entertainment. Don’t get me wrong: this protagonist is definitely not one of the most popular the avengers.

It parodies the typical comic book hero origin story, with its protagonist being a skinny young janitor who falls into a tank of toxic waste, which turns him into a super-powered mutant. After that, he becomes a vigilante who violently dispatches criminals and terrorizes anyone who crosses his path. It’s an acquired taste, of course, but given that it spawned a franchise and has a remake currently in post-production, it’s clearly found an audience.

“The Specials” (2000)

one of the first (and unfortunately worst) films written by James Gunn, Specials is a super low-budget movie with a cast full of superpowers who spend the entire movie fighting nothing. The members of the titular crew sit around a house for most of the film and argue over various things, given that their personalities are all quite large and therefore prone to clashes.

It’s a new concept and there are brief breaks in the film where everything works quite well. When it’s considered a sort of precursor to better superhero comedies Excellent (2010) or guardians of the galaxy series, it’s interesting, but otherwise it’s not a particularly great non-action superhero movie.

“High Heaven” (2005)

Image via Buena Vista Pictures

high sky combines a high school movie story with superhero characters to relatively entertaining effect. The main character juggles her new school, honors her parents, and fights a mysterious villain, all while dealing with the fact that she has yet to develop superpowers (which is unusual in the movie world, and her parents are legendary superheroes themselves). ).

It certainly feels like a period film and is a bit hokey, but it pulls it off thanks to a good heart and a surprisingly assembled cast. The action is minimal, it’s more of a family/teen film than an intense and violent fight between good and evil.

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)

the guardians of the galaxy movies can usually be counted on to deliver equal amounts of comedy and action, but 2022 Special for the holiday went in a slightly different direction. The adventure here wasn’t about saving the galaxy, but about making Peter Quill (AKA Starlord) remember Christmas.

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Even if getting there involves a slightly dangerous mission around kidnapping Kevin Bacon, this 45-minute special was still very light. It mostly worked, a nice little paid adventure for the fans before it got heavier and more intense. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is released.

“Chronicle” (2012)

For anyone wondering what a found footage superhero movie would look like, Chronic Your answer. It tells the story of three high school friends who suddenly gain superpowers and document their shared experiences, which start to get exciting before a dark turn of events leads to violence and tragedy.

Although there are serious life and death risks involved chronicle, the introduction of found footage ensures that it still feels more like a psychological thriller than an action film. It’s a grounded, unique take on the standard superhero origin story that delivers on its simple premise in a straightforward and satisfying way.

“The Iron Giant” (1999)

The Iron Giant is an unlikely superhero who defies convention by being a giant robot rather than a human (or humanoid) being. It may not come off as a superhero movie, but given the main character’s arc throughout the movie, it certainly stands out as one because it ends up saving a lot of lives at the end of the movie.

Hogarth, the young man who befriends the Iron Giant and teaches him morality and humanity, is certainly equally a hero, for without him the Iron Giant could not have sacrificed as he did. make. In general, their bond is formed Iron giant a very useful cartoon that also functions as an unconventional superhero film without too much conventional action.

“Glass” (2019)

Glass is a continuation of the two Unbreakable and 2017 Divide, combining the main characters of these two previous films for a spectacular finale. It’s basically set in a mental institution where the three main characters interact and end up going head-to-head, feeling like a superhero-themed movie on a very small scale, and claustrophobic due to the setting and premise. .

It’s a frustrating film at times, but it can’t be faulted for its originality and willingness to subvert the most likely expectations of the superhero genre. While it doesn’t feel like the sweeping, action-packed finale you might expect from the final chapter to the trilogy, it at least delivers some interesting characters and solid performances. Also a fact Glass it’s deliberately subversive, meaning that whether you love it or hate it, it’s going to be hard to forget.

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