Long before the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, adapting comic books for the big screen was a surefire way to get audiences hooked to the cinema, superhero movies Struggle to survive. The ’90s in particular was a difficult and strange time for the genre. Despite the desire of the big studios to capitalize on the appeal of comic books to children and adults alike, the execution of many superhero films at the time did not go the way it was expected of them. Massively popular characters like Batman, Spider-Man, and Captain America were sought after by studios who thought bringing fan-favorite characters to life would equal box office success.
The desire to bring comic book characters to the big screen for extended adventures has become so widespread across all major studios that almost any superhero character has been given the opportunity to receive a cinematic adaptation. Since many studios and filmmakers desperately wanted to try their hand at making superhero movies, a lot of these movies fell through the cracks. Certainly, some of the 90’s comic strip superhero movies did quite well, such as the mask or Batman Returns, but many of them were poorly received and eventually forgettable. With well-crafted and meticulously planned superhero films of the past 20 years, it’s unfortunately not surprising that there weren’t as many films of this genre talked about before as there are now. So, with that being said, here are ten long-forgotten superhero movies of the ’90s.
10 The Rocketeer (1991)
Rocketeer Creator Dave Stevens was a homage to the Saturday afternoon superheroes of the 1930s and 1940s. When the comic debuted under Pacific Comics in 1982, it quickly attracted a dedicated following. In 1986, Disney expressed interest in optioning the comic for a feature film adaptation, but superhero films had yet to reach the level of box office profitability they are today. Therefore, the comic about a young pilot who finds a prototype jet plane that allows him to become a masked hero was delayed until the early 1990s.
Disney wanted a modern-day, family-friendly tone, while Stevens and director Joe Johnston wanted a more adult-friendly 1930s tone. The compromise made was that it would be set in the 1930s, but with a lighter tone that would still appeal to families. Unsurprisingly, Disney’s choice to use a kid-friendly tone negatively affected the film, as it underperformed at the box office that summer.
9 Meteorite Man (1993)
This tale follows a high school teacher from a troubled neighborhood in Washington, D.C., who becomes a powerful superhero and decides to take on the gang that has been terrorizing his neighborhood and its citizens. The movie, which Richard Townsend wrote, directed, and starred in, this was clearly a passion project of his. meteor man Jefferson Reed sees Townsend gain x-ray vision, super strength, super speed, super hearing, telekinesis, healing powers, the ability to communicate with dogs, and the ability to absorb the entire contents of a book just by touching it. It was likely that he was a little cramped in the superpowers department.
The movie actually has a strong cast including Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Marla Gibbs, Sinbad, and more. However, mixing comedy and social commentary together may not have meshed well enough that the film has become relatively obscure in the thirty years since its release.
8 Blankman (1994)
Starring Damon Wayans as the titular BlankmanThe film is about a Batman-obsessed inventor who takes it upon himself to become a crime-fighting hero after his grandmother’s life is taken from her. Complete with a bulletproof outfit consisting of ordinary clothing and household items, he becomes Daryl Walker Blankman with the intent of being the lowest budget superhero ever.
Wayans of course brought his signature brand of humor to the superhero parody and had a likable role as the absent Daryl Walker. In addition to his bulletproof clothes, Daryl had several household items that were strange and interesting, as well as a talking robot named J5 that acted as his assistant. The movie flopped critically and commercially, with not many of the jokes sticking to the landing. Surprisingly enough, the movie was actually Greg Kinnear’s feature film debut.
7 Star Kid (1997)
Joseph Mazzello was a child star turned teen star in the 1990s who was known at the time for being in movies like Jurassic Park And The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Then he got his own superhero movie starring car, Star Kidin 1997. The film follows shy seventh grader Spencer Griffith whose life is changed when a meteor falls at the local junkyard and he finds a cybernetic suit, which happens to be a robot from another galaxy.
Spencer dons the suit to become the Star Kid so he can stop bullies and save his crush from danger. Of course, things take a turn for the worse when an alien race comes to Earth looking for trouble, leaving Spencer and his suit to defeat them. Even with the family-friendly tone and cuteness of young children, Star Kids bombed at the box office. Since then, it has been largely forgotten.
6 Barbed Wire (1996)
Set during the fictional Second American Civil War in the year 2017, Barb Weir (Pamela Anderson) owns a nightclub called the Hammerhead. Her life becomes more complicated when her ex-husband, Axel Hood, returns and has since married a runaway named Corinna Devonshire.
Barbed wire It basically borrows the plot of the classic movie White House And turns it into a futuristic war movie. In addition to being a nightclub owner, Barb is also a mercenary by night in one of the last free zones in the United States. Afterwards, she is caught up in a top-secret government plot when Axel and Corinna show up at her club. This movie was supposed to be the first of many movies Anderson starred in, but the movie did so poorly that she was never the lead in another big budget movie again. Which is upsetting considering what was going on in her life at the time and the fact that she just wanted to act.
5 Captain America (1990)
21 years before his official debut in the MCU, Captain America had his own movie simply titled captain America. The film stars famous author J.D. Salinger’s son, Matt Salinger, and follows a version of Captain America that has been frozen from the end of World War II until 1990. When he awakens, he discovers that his old adversary, the Red Skull, has changed his identity and plans to kidnap the President of the United States.
Val Kilmer was originally chosen to star in this campy screen adaptation, but turned down the chance to star as the titular lead in this low-budget endeavor. The film was delayed for two years and eventually released direct-to-video in 1992. It was remembered as a sloppy, weird film if it was remembered at all.
4 Fantastic Four (1994)
As much as comic book fans enjoy The Fantastic Four as characters, it’s proven time and time again that turning comic book stories into live-action movies is incredibly difficult. movie 2005, Fantastic FourIt wasn’t as good, and the 2015 reboot was received worse than the first. People love to talk about how bad these iterations are, but many don’t even realize that there was another attempt to resurrect these characters in 1994. The Magnificent Four.
This movie was never theatrically released. It was not televised nor shown on video. The movie eventually appeared on YouTube only years later. It has been suggested that the reason the film was made in the first place was because executive producer Bernd Eichinger wanted to keep the rights to the characters and the story. Making the movie on an impossibly low budget would have allowed them to keep the rights and make a better movie in the future. Apparently he denied it, so there is further speculation that a lower-level Marvel executive named Avid Arad bought the movie rights because he didn’t want Marvel to be associated with such a low-budget project and hide it from public view. .
3 Tank Girl (1995)
A girl named Rebecca (Laurie Petty) is among the few remaining survivors of a dystopian world controlled by the tyrannical Water and Power Corporation who happens to rule the wasteland that remains of Earth. After she and her friend Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) escape from prison at the hands of W&P, they steal a tank and a plane in order to bring down Water and Power for good.
tank girl It is a direct adaptation of the popular British sitcom of the same name. Lori Petty was hand-picked for the role after director Rachel Talali decided to helm the project after reading an issue while filming her directorial debut, Freddy’s Death: A New Nightmare. Disney was interested in making the film, but Talalay decided to go with MGM because they promised to keep the adult themes that the comics had. Talalay’s approach has resulted in a wildly messy film that has unfortunately gone through a number of cuts. It was a failure at the box office, but has gained somewhat of a following in recent years, though it is still considered a messy film.
2 Dark Man (1990)
After Sam Raimi was unable to secure the rights to the superheroes he was interested in making films about, he decided to create one of his own. The movie was based on a short story written by Raimi, titled Dark man, which paid homage to the 1930s world classic monster horror. The story is about a scientist named Peyton Westlake who has developed artificial skin that can be useful for burn victims, but the only problem is that the skin deteriorates after 100 minutes of exposure to light. When he is attacked by thugs and horribly burned, he is presumed dead. Peyton becomes the Dark Man and takes revenge on those who burned him, he is able to assume anyone’s identity, but only for 100 minutes.
Raimi wanted his longtime friend Bruce Campbell to play Darkman, but Universal Studios thought it would be best to have a bigger name attached to the film, so Liam Neeson was brought on instead. Frances McDormand also appeared in a supporting role. More importantly, it was a test run for Raimi to see if he could handle the superhero genre before Tobey Maguire came out. Spider Man The famous trio. Bruce Campbell has ended up making a cameo, too.
1 Generation X (1996)
The idea behind this movie was to bring a X-Men universe on the small screen without having to use their most iconic characters so Fox could save them for theatrical films. Essentially, it was one of Marvel’s first attempts to expand the vast universe of comic books into the realm of television before Netflix and Disney+ could even be considered. The tenth generation It was supposed to become a TV series, but it didn’t make it past the pilot episode. It has been repackaged as a TV movie.
It featured some familiar characters like Jubilee, Emma Frost, and Banshee, as well as lesser-known names like Mondo. The TV movie sees young teenage mutants training at their school of superheroes where they learn to harness any super-powered abilities they have in order to defeat an evil scientist who wants to take over the residents’ dreams. It features some characters and effects that don’t hold up well, so it’s not shocking that this TV show was turned into a TV movie by the way.