March 4, 2024

The 90’s were the best decade for superhero films bold statement, I know

Sure, most people will say that we’re in the best time for super hero films. With the MCU going into its fourth phase, the DC film universe creating dark and gritty, but enjoyable properties, you might think so.

But remember the 90’s? Before all this consolidation and shared-universe building? I do.

Maybe it’s nostalgia talking, or perhaps my 10-year old self didn’t know shit about movies, but nothing can touch these movies from that glorious decade. They’re dark, flawed and insanely fun.

It was a glorious and heroic decade.

New Line Cinema

Blade (1998)

Forget the Black Panther, Wesley Snipes’ Blade was the first black Marvel superhero on film, and frankly, this movie still kicks ass. The effects are a little dated, but the action is superb.

Warner Bros.

Batman Returns (1992)

When ranking all the Batman movies in cinema, right behind the Nolan Bat Trilogy, is this one. I prefer it slightly more than the 1989 original, just because watching The Penguin and Catwoman fuck up Gotham’s christmas, is so delightfully zany. This film is as dark as a Batman film should be.

Miramax Films

The Crow (1994)

Not so much a superhero, but a supernatural anti-hero film this movie was epic. It’s infamous for being the last role of Brandon Lee, which tends to overshadow how well put together and awesome this film actually is. Much like the previous entry on this list, this is a surprisingly dark movie for the light and fluffy 90’s.

TriStar Pictures

The Mask of Zorro (1998)

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen this film, watch it again. It’s pretty entertaining. Plus you’ve got Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins as the original and new versions of Zorro, and the especially smouldering Catherine Zeta Jones.

We can credit this film for bringing her to our attention. Thank’s Zorro!

New Line Cinema

The Mask (1994)

In the 90’s, Jim Carrey was hilarious and unstoppable. You probably wouldn’t consider this a superhero film, but it’s based off of a comic property and Stanley Ipkiss fits a loose definition of an anti-hero.

It’s definitely due for a rewatch.

New Line Cinema

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

What more needs to be said about this one? The original is the best of the trilogy, full of dark humor, violence and creepy animatronic heads. Next to the animated series, this is my all-time favourite depiction of the turtles.

Warner Bros. Animation

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Batman: The Animated Series was, hands down, the best animated version of the hero, and this movie adaptation was absolutely perfect.

Warner Bros.

Batman Forever (1995)

While this film demonstrated a tonal change in the WB Batman Franchise, it wasn’t all that bad. Sure, I wish I could have seen a third film from Tim Burton, but Val Kilmer did a decent job, and the Riddler/Two-Face combo was pretty entertaining.

While Batman/Batman Returns still had some gloomy 80’s noir to it, this one embraced the camp and neon of the 90’s.

Buena Vista Pictures

The Rocketeer (1991)

Does anyone else remember this one? Directed by Joe Johnston, who went on to do Jumanji, Jurassic Park III and a little film called Captain America: The First Avenger, this film was epic. It was like the 1950’s serials, with enough fun and adventure to keep a kid like me entertained.

Plus it had a 21-year old Jennifer Connelly in it.

New Line Cinema

Spawn (1997)

For some reason, no one considers this a great film, yet every time it’s on tv, I’m compelled to watch it. I think Michael Jai White does a great job as Spawn, and both John Leguizamo and Martin Sheen as the villains ham it up to the point of absurdity. I can’t look away.

Orion Pictures

Robocop 2 (1990)

While not as good as the first one, the idea of putting a drug-addled criminal’s brain into a robot body is kind of interesting, and leads to a lot of moral questions.

It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a RoboCop film.

Universal Pictures

Mystery Men (1999)

This is the most non-traditional superhero film out there, and it’s actually not bad. With a star-studded cast playing superheroes with some of the worst powers imaginable, this flick’s got a few hours of entertainment for you.

Universal Pictures

Darkman (1990)

An original property written and directed by Sam Raimi, this film brought Liam Neeson to our shores as a scientist who develops synthetic skin, then has to use it for his quest for revenge.

My dad introduced me to this film, and it’s a cult classic that I watch over and over again.

Universal Pictures

The Shadow (1994)

A few people remember that Alec Baldwin once played this pulp hero in a film adaptation. With the powers to hypnotize people to be invisible save for his shadow, this movie isn’t amazing, but it’s a great Saturday afternoon film, with a bag of Doritos and a mild hangover.

Buena Vista Pictures

Dick Tracy (1990)

I remember when this first came out; I was fascinated with the talking watch/phone. Based off of a pulp comic from the 30’s, this vibrant film is a lot of fun to watch, and deserves a little more recognition.

Paramount Pictures

The Phantom (1996)

Another comic strip turned film, this film’s about the legendary Phantom – a costumed crime fighter who’s seemingly immortal.

This film is pretty campy and not all that well put together, but dam, those purple tights though.

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