Between this ongoing competition between the Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment at the Box Office, there’s a sudden flood of a number of superhero films released year after year.

Most of the superhero movies are either based on our favorite icon or they are based on the storylines, most of the comic book fans are familiar with.

All in all, a genre that was always seen in parts in the past has evolved into different and successful movie franchises mostly dominated by Marvel and DC.

While there’s always a race to supremacy between the two giant production companies today, there have been a series of superhero films made earlier as well as recently that either didn’t achieve the right kind of acceptance as DC and Marvel universe or somehow performed great despite being not so popular or from these two franchises.

Today, we have listed down some lesser Known Hollywood Superhero films that surely are worth watching.

Best Lesser Known Hollywood Superhero Films

Unbreakable (2000)

unbreakable-movie
Source : A Still from Unbreakable

While we are all familiar with comic book superheroes, M. Night Shyamalan decided to go rogue and directed a film based on a superhero outside the comic book world. Yes, Unbreakable is a 2000 unpopular superhero thriller film starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in the lead roles.

The film tells the story of a Philadelphia security guard David Dunn, portrayed by Bruce Willis, who somehow discovers that he has acquired some superhuman powers turning him to unbreakable. Although the film is never included among the list of superhero films right away in the fan circle, Unbreakable did earn a lot of recognition and accolades which has turned the film into a cult classic.

The film tells the story of a Philadelphia security guard David Dunn, portrayed by Bruce Willis, who somehow discovers that he has acquired some superhuman powers turning him to unbreakable. Although the film is never included among the list of superhero films right away in the fan circle, Unbreakable did earn a lot of recognition and accolades which has turned the film into a cult classic.

Hancock (2008)

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Source : Hancock Film

Now when we talk about superhero characters, we think about someone with superhuman powers, out of the ordinary combat skills or powerful technology. However, all these superhero, although apart in terms of strength and power, have one thing in common.

All of them were always extra careful and valued human life with utmost care and safety. Well, the 2008 American superhero comedy film Hancock introduced us a new superhero, who is reckless with this actions and often causes trouble than solutions. The film is directed by Peter Berg, while the movie stars Will Smith in the titular character alongside Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, and Eddie Marsan in important roles.

All of them were always extra careful and valued human life with utmost care and safety. Well, the 2008 American superhero comedy film Hancock introduced us a new superhero, who is reckless with this actions and often causes trouble than solutions. The film is directed by Peter Berg, while the movie stars Will Smith in the titular character alongside Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, and Eddie Marsan in important roles.

Jumper (2008)

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Source : Jumper 2008 Film

Unlike most superhero films, Jumper is a bit different as the main protagonist, despite having superpowers, is not a superhero, not yet. This 2008 science fiction film is loosely adapted from the 1992 science fiction novel of the same name penned by Steven Gould.

The film stars Hayden Christensen as a Jumper, while Samuel L. Jackson plays the leader of Paladins group, whose only mission is to hunt down and kill all the Jumpers. The film also includes Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Max Thieriot, AnnaSophia Robb, Diane Lane, and Michael Rooker in important roles.

Watchmen (2009)

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Source : DC Comics

Watchmen is a 2009 neo-noir superhero film and also the first film on our list based on the limited series edition of the same name by DC Comics. This superhero film was directed by Zach Snyder and features an ensemble cast of Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Gode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson. Unlike other superhero films, Watchmen is a dark satirical film.

The film is set in an alternate history and follows a group of retired American superheroes, who are trying to find the culprit behind the murder of one of their own. However, their investigation leads to a much deeper conspiracy that even challenges their morality at certain times.

Push (2009)

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Source : Push 2009 Film

Push is a 2009 science fiction film based on superhuman skills developed in some humans passed on from their ancestry. The film stars Chris Evans as a mover and it also marks his second character portrayal of a superhuman after the Fantastic Four franchise and before donning the iconic role of Captain America in Marvel films later on.

Directed by Paul McGuigan, the film is focused on a bunch of people inhibiting superhuman abilities and their fight against a corrupt government agency that is using a dangerous drug to enhance their powers and in order to form an army of super soldiers.

Dredd (2012)

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Source : A Scene from Dredd

Dredd is a 2012 science fiction film based on the 2000 AD’s popular comic strip Judge Dredd. Directed by Pete Travis, the film is basically about the titular character Judge Dredd, who becomes a law enforcer in a dystopian metropolis set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and punishes the offenders as the sole judge, jury, and executioner.

The film stars Karl Urban in the titular role, while Olivia Thirlby plays Judge Anderson, a young apprentice partner to Judge Dredd. The film is highly centered upon Judge Dredd’s quest to bring down a 200-storey high-rise block along with its drug lord resident Ma-Ma, played by Lena Headey.

The Rocketeer (1991)

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Source : The Rocketeer

The charm and fame around superhero theme has even attracted Walt Disney Pictures and the production company also tried its luck with the genre by making the 1991 period superhero film The Rocketeer.

The film was based on the not so popular comic book character of the same name created by Dave Stevens. Starring Bill Campbell in the titular role, the film was directed by Joe Johnston. Alongside Campbell, the film also starred Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, and Tiny Ron Taylor in important roles.

Punisher: War Zone (2008)

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Source : Punisher : Warzone Film

Well, if Watchmen is the first film by DC universe on our top unpopular superhero films list, then Punisher: War Zone is credited as the first on this list from Marvel Universe. Produced under the banner of Marvel Studios, this 2008 vigilante action film was directed by Lexi Alexander.

The main character of the film is based on the Marvel Comics character The Punisher. Starring Ray Stevenson in the titular role, the film is actually a reboot of The Punisher franchise rather than a sequel to Jonathan Hensleigh’s 2004 film The Punisher that featured Thomas Jane in the titular character.

Super (2010)

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Source : Super 2010 Film

Super is a 2010 black comedy superhero film written and directed by James Gunn. The film stars Rainn Wilson as the superhero vigilante The Crimson Bolt, while Ellen Page plays his sidekick Boltie. The film is about a short-order cook Frank Darbo, who is depressed as his wife has left him.

After getting a vision from God, he decides to become a superhero and becomes The Crimson Bolt to fight crimes in the city and eventually save his wife Sarah, played by Liv Tyler, from a strip club owner Jacques, portrayed by Kevin Bacon.

The Shadow (1994)

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Source : The Shadow

Based on the pulp fiction character of the same name, The Shadow is a 1994 superhero film directed by Russell Mulcahy. The film features Alec Baldwin in the titular character, while John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Boyle, Tim Curry, Jonathan Winters, and Ian McKellen play supportive characters in the film.

The film is set in the post-First World War era and follows the life of Lamont Cranston, who after rigorous training and teachings from Tulku, becomes a vigilante superhero in the New York City to fight against crimes. All goes well until Tulku’s protégé Shiwan Khan, who wakes up from his tomb and tries to conquer the world. Now, the only hope for humanity lies with The Shadow. Whether he is able to subdue Khan or not forms the rest of the film.

The Phantom (1996)

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Source : The Phantom

I believe that Phantom is the most popular comic book superhero character in our list of Lesser Known Hollywood superhero films. Despite being popular, the 1996 American superhero film The Phantom still lies in the shadows of other popular superhero films about Batman, Superman, Spiderman and the others.

Starring Billy Zane in the titular character, the film is directed by Simon Wincer. Based on the Lee Falk’s comic strip The Phantom, the story of the film is derived from three different Phantom stories, “The Single Brotherhood, The Sky Band, and The Belt as well as adds a few new characters and is full of new supernatural elements not featured in the comic strip.

Constantine (2005)

constantine unpopular superhero film
Source : Constantine The Film

Well, superheroes come in all forms. While there’s a Kryptonian in Superman and technologically as well as highly combative Batman, there’s also Constantine, who deals with supernatural elements, unlike other contemporary superheroes. The uniqueness and the horror element of this DC Comics character led to the making of the 2005 occult detective action film Constantine.

The film stars Keanu Reeves in the titular character of John Constantine and is directed by Francis Lawrence. The story of the film is inspired by Vertigo Comics’ Hellblazer comic book, while some elements are derived from Dangerous Habits and the Originals Sins storylines.

The Spirit (2008)

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Source : The Spirit Film

The Spirit is a 2008 American neo-noir film written and directed by Frank Miller. The film is actually based on the popular newspaper comic strip The Spirit by Will Eisner. The film stars an ensemble cast comprising of Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Jaime King, Sarah Paulson, Dan Lauria, and Paz Vega in different roles.

The movie basically follows the life of Denny Colt, portrayed by Gabriel Macht, who died in the line of duty as a cop but is revived somehow and becomes a masked crime fighter vigilante.

Also Read : Best Superhero TV Shows Currently Running

Your Turn!

These are the Best Less Popular Superhero films. You can share your favorite list in the comment section.

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Rajeesh Nair is a true Gizmofreak and an addictive movie buff. He blogs at LifeBlender.com – a lifestyle Blogzine which focuses on general life related topics of the 21st Century.

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