We are currently spoilt for choice in regards to Superhero Movies. The biggest blockbusters of the current generation are based on superheroes from comic books. One can argue that this phase will soon end. But with movies like Logan, that divert from the usual superhero formula and provide us with just superb cinema, I don’t think the end is near. Another fact is that there has been good quality comic book superhero movies since the 80s. DC Comics Superman and Batman proved to us that the characters that we love in the pages of comic books can be just as resilient on the big screen. As we progressed to the 90’s, comic books became more popular and so did their adaptations. Here’s a look at my Top 5 Superhero Movies of the 90s.
Top 5 Superhero Movies of the 90s
5. The Mask (1994)
In The Mask, an out of luck bank clerks stumbles onto the mask of Loki, the God of Mischief. This mask grants him cartoonish and comical powers which he unknowingly uses to cause trouble within the city. Circumstances change and The Mask now needs to use these powers again but in a more meaningful and positive way. The movie cemented Jim Carey as a certified Hollywood star. It also gave us a very sexy introduction to Cameron Diaz (still my favorite part of the movie!).
The Mask is based on a comic book series originally published by Dark Horse Comics. It was released back in 1994, a super successful year for Jim Carey. There were two other successful comedies starring Jim Carey in that year (Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber). The Mask, however, was more comic book-centric and strangely enough one of Carey’s more serious roles at the time (especially when he is Stanley Ipkiss). But when the green face was on, it was a signature Jim Carey performance. A performance that would rake in more than $ 350 Million.
4. The Mask of Zorro (1998)
Zorro is a swashbuckling hero who defends indigenous people as well as commoners of the land (typically California). The true identity of Zorro is believed to be Don Diego de la Vega. The Mask of Zorro may not come straight out of the comic books, but Zorro still is a masked superhero with a secret identity. Robert Rodriguez was initially attached to direct the movie. He managed to cast his Desperado star, Antonio Banderas, in the lead role. But Banderas actually played the successor to Don Diego who was played by Anthony Hopkins.
The aging Zorro, Don Diego escapes prison in order to find his daughter (Zeta-Jones) and avenge his wife. He enlists a younger Alejandro Murrieta to take on the mantle of the mysterious masked savior Zorro. They both have unfinished business with Governor Montero and work with each other in order to bring him to justice. The Mask of Zorro worked well as a Superhero movie but was more in line with a Spielbergian adventure movie which was popular at the time. Spielberg actually was involved in the development of the movie but dropped out along with Rodriguez and Mikael Salomon.
3. Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Returns sees The Dark Knight take on his most difficult challenge yet. That challenge comes in the form of a corrupt businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) who manipulates The Penguin (Danny DeVito) into running for Mayor of Gotham. Max does this for personal gain and even goes as far as killing his assistant, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), in order to hide the truth about his business affairs. Kyle rises from the dead and becomes Catwoman.
Batman Returns is the sequel to 1989’s Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and directed by Tim Burton. At the time the 1989 Batman movie was the most legit superhero movie. If you take a look now you will pick up on more than a dozen irregularities that are not consistent with the Batman comics. Burton made major changes to the Batman mythos and also changed the Jokers origin. But at the end, this all worked. The same cant really is said about the sequel.
Burton went a bit overboard and a bit too dark with Batman Returns. The overall design of The Penguin was a bit too hardcore for kids. DeVito’s performance was good, but it wasn’t pulled off as well as Jack Nicholson’s Joker performance from the first movie. On the other hand, Michelle Pfeiffer was electrifying as Catwoman. A performance that would place her at the top of the list of Catwoman actresses.
2. The Crow (1994)
The Crow tells the story of a rock musician who is resurrected from the dead so that he can seek revenge for the murder of his fiance and his own death. Eric Draven, The Crow is played by the late Brandon Lee (son of the legendary Bruce Lee). Brandon Lee actually passed away mysteriously while filming this movie. It was due to a faulty blank bullet. Lee’s performance is spellbinding and The Crow and its characters are very intriguing which is why this movie is such a cult classic.
The Crow is actually based on an independent comic book created by James O’Barr. O’Barr created this comic book as a means of dealing with the death of his girlfriend. The comic book is completely in black and white, like The Walking Dead.
1. Blade (1998)
Blade is a Vampire Hunter based on the Marvel Universe. He is a powerful hybrid with both human and vampire abilities. The most notable human ability is being able to walk in the sun, whilst his vampire ability gives him super strength and a healing factor. In Blade, the modern vampire Illuminati try to harness Blade’s “day walking” ability, oh and plan a total takeover of humankind.
I still hold this movie in high regard even to this day. Wesley Snipes is Blade! It was also at the time the most legit effort from Marvel. The opening sequence is probably still the best sequence you will ever find in any movie. Wesley Snipes is a total badass and the best part about this movie is that it’s the vampires that freak out when they see him.