It’s truly amazing how the superhero genre has evolved from the pulp vigilantes of yore to the titans of pop culture we insistently worship or have become resentful of currently. Superhero mythology, tropes, and iconography are so well known by this point that they lend themselves so easily to parody or satire. And many works of this type already exist.
For longer than you might think, a variety of movies and shows have taken humorous jabs at superhero characters, stories, and themes, sometimes in a heartfelt joke, while other times, with a simple mockery. There are some efforts that naturally succeed better than others, but it’s always fun to see what the industry comes up with, especially these days.
“Mystery Men” (1999)
The metropolis of Champion City has long been protected by its chief superhero Captain Amazing (Greg Kinner). But with the growing lack of sensational crimes to thwart, Amazing’s sponsors lose interest in him, forcing the selfish “hero” to orchestrate the return of his nemesis Casanova Frankenstein, which unwittingly leads to Amazing’s capture and the endangerment of Champion City. So it’s left to a group of budding heroes with questionable crime-fighting abilities to save the day.
This film was arguably ahead of its time in attempting to satirize superheroes. While more refined works of the genre would emerge later, Mysterious mendeserves credit for its wacky and clever ideas, in particular, which include its premise of a superhero inadvertently perpetuating the central conflict because he was a slave to brands and publicity. Get it today from AMC on Demand.
“The Incredibles” (2004)
In the world of The Incredibles, superheroes were respected and commonplace until growing controversies and lawsuits drove them into hiding. Bob Parr (Craig T Nelson), a costumed crime veteran called Mr. Incredible, is now a frustrated white-collar worker and family man who yearns to relive his glory days, which he eventually gets the chance to do, but it ends up putting him him and his loved ones at risk.
In some ways, The Incredibles may have been too smart for his own good. It offers undeniably entertaining but almost uncomfortably realistic commentary on superhumans trying to fit into society. Still, who couldn’t appreciate the sheer ridiculousness of classic superheroes, like rambling supervillain monologues and impractical capes? Get on Disney+ and watch it.
‘Sky High’ (2005)
Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is the son of the world’s most famous superheroes, but he apparently didn’t inherit any of their extraordinary powers. In his high school debut at the prestigious Sky High superhero academy, he’s supposed to be ranked in the “Sidekick” class for those with little potential. Things eventually start to look up for him, except then he’ll have to decide what he’s willing to sacrifice to be who he thinks he’s meant to be.
sky high is a charming mix of superhero and high school narrative conventions with a clear love for its influences. At the same time, it maintains self-awareness and comically pokes fun at the dumbest aspects of traditional comic book superhero stories. A good time guaranteed now on Disney+.
John Hancock (yes, that’s his name. played by Will Smith) is an all-powerful but apathetic alcoholic who occasionally aids Los Angeles as his personal superhero. Unfortunately, his actions often cause more chaos than they stop. Between Ray Embrey (jason batman), a struggling public relations specialist who sees an opportunity to improve his and Hancock’s reputation by taking him on as a client.
The concept behind Hancock is a novel that opens up many comic possibilities. Although the movie turns into a very different and more dramatic film halfway through, it can still get quite a few laughs as it shows Hancock and Ray dealing with the former’s attitude and PR issues down the road. to get there, and even then a few more decent jokes are delivered the rest of the way. Look for it on Amazon Video.
Teenager and comic fan Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) wonders why no one has ever tried to be a superhero in real life. So he buys a wetsuit to use as a costume and does just that…with predictable and painful results. Undeterred, he pushes on, calling himself Kick-Ass and earning a sequel, only to find himself embroiled in a war between the mob and two legitimate costumed vigilantes.
The unconventional comic inspiredKick ass could be seen as a prototype for several similar films and series down the line, infusing gritty violence into superhero satire. The film is so compelling and gleefully brutal that you can’t help but get morbidly amused by it. Jump straight into the madness on HBO Max.
After countless losses, criminal super-genius Megamind (Will Ferrell) finally eliminated his great rival Metro Man and took over his beautiful Metro City. However, he realizes that his life is meaningless without someone to fight, prompting him to find a replacement for Metro Man (brad pitt), with disastrous consequences.
Megamind takes familiar superhero archetypes and twists them in hilariously effective ways, to the point where things like simple selflessness become questionable. Even when you think you know where the story is going, which is still largely validated, the movie loves throwing curve balls at you. Stream this underrated gem on Amazon Prime Video.
“One Punch” (2015-19)
Saitama, a recreational superhero who is so strong he can literally finish off any opponent with one punch, is exhausted from continually being unmatched. Stepping out of his comfort zone, he befriends other heroes and joins the Hero Association, whose members protect the planet from monsters, aliens, and villains.
Presenting a realm where hardly anyone watches the people in spandex or the man-eating creatures that show up in their neighborhood, One-punch man takes glorious advantage of anime’s outlandish sense of humor without skimping on exhilarating superhero action. Buy the series on Apple TV.
The long-awaited R-rated adaptation of Marvel Comics anti-hero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) focuses on his origins, from the moment he first fell in love, to experimenting to treat his terminal cancer, to pursuing revenge against the villains who tortured and disfigured him. .
This tiptoe film strikes a delicate balance between fourth-wall shattering, the irreverent grit of superhero movies, and adhering to the same tropes for storytelling stability. Anyway, despite the dark plot points, dead Pool is just hysterical. Check out all the wacky antics on FXNow.
‘Harley Quinn’ (2019 – Present)
Based on popular DC characters, harley quinn focuses on the eponymous villain/anti-heroine (Kaley Cuoco) as she breaks off her unhealthy relationship with the famous Joker (Alan Tudyk) and tries to make a name for herself in the supervillain world, aided by a small circle of allies.
In this show’s crazy universe, dangerous criminals can congregate in a prominent building to discuss their nefarious plans, throw parties with civilians, and superheroes seemingly couldn’t be bothered to do anything. or unless they are actively committing serious crimes. Nothing is off limits in terms of subject matter, which means anything can happen in the series, and most of the time they go for absolute puzzlers. Stream your way on HBO Max.
‘The Boys’ (2019 – Present)
In a world where superheroes are public champions for good, treated like celebrities and licensed by the highly influential corporation Vought International, civilian Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) witnesses the violent death of his girlfriend at the hands of a careless “Supe”. After failing to find justice for her murder, Hughie is approached by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), the leader of a group dedicated to eliminating the Supes, as most of them are corrupt individuals who abuse their power under Vought’s protection.
The boys is utterly unforgiving in its superhero parody, and a lot of the comedy comes from the extent to which it goes so far as to portray the depravity of its world and characters. Sure, much of the show’s content may be too disturbing for some, but when you see heroes supposedly prostituting themselves into commercialism or superpowers being used to indulge in weird fetishes, how can that not tickle this funny cynical bones in your body? Prepare to be shocked by this contemporary favorite on Amazon Prime Video.
KEEP READING: Superhero TV Shows That Aren’t Marvel or DC