Summer blockbuster season is upon us again, bringing with it another helping of superhero films. But maybe you want something a bit different to fill the gap before Guardians of the Galaxy? Don’t worry, FilmDoo has you covered with our pick of 10 of the weirdest and most wonderful superhero films from across the globe.
1. Zebraman (Dir: Takashi Miike, Japan, 2004)
Shinichi Ichikawa, a down-on-his-luck family man and teacher, is inspired by an old television show to become Zebraman in this Japanese take on the superhero genre. Our hero soon finds himself battling aliens and has to embrace his destiny as the true Zebraman. As well as all kinds of daft action, Zebraman is also noteworthy for having possibly the greatest costume of any film, ever.
2. Krrish 3 (Dir: Rakesh Roshan, India, 2013)
This Bollywood extravaganza sees the return of Krrish, the superhero with seemingly limitless powers, who is reluctantly forced to do battle with telepathic villain Kaal. Full of tension and ludicrous CGI battles, the action in this one has to be seen to be believed.
3. The Return Of Captain Invincible (Dir: Philippe Mora, Australia, 1983)
In this musical parody of the superhero genre, Alan Arkin plays the eponymous Captain Invincible, a superhero who is driven out of America after he is accused of being a Communist and prosecuted for wearing underwear in public. Retiring to Australia, he becomes an alcoholic until his archenemy Mr. Midnight (Christopher Lee) reappers to threaten America and our reluctant hero is forced to return to the superhero lifestyle. Sadly we’re unlikely to see a reboot of this franchise anytime soon, with the film grossing just $55,110 in Australia despite its $7 million budget.
4. Cicak Man (Dir: Yusry Abdul Halim, Malaysia, 2008)
After a lab accident leaves the unassuming Hairi Apek with mysterious powers, such as sticking to walls and making chirping noises, he becomes Cicak Man (that’s Gecko Man in English) to the get to the bottom of things. However things take a sinister turn when he is drawn into a plot threatening the city of Metrofulus. Can Cicak Man defeat his enemies, the Gingerboys, and save the day? Find out in this Malaysian blockbuster.
5. The Batwoman (Dir: René Cardona, Mexico, 1968)
Batman’s unstoppable popularity in the 1960’s spawned many imitators, among them this, err, homage from Mexico. The Batwoman (or La Mujer Murcielago) is a wealthy urbanite and martial arts expert who uses her skills in the service of justice. Capturing perfectly the spirit of the Adam West Batman, this campy classic is worth watching just for the contrast with superhero movies of today. Also because the villain’s plan involves stealing the glands of Mexican wrestlers.
6. Ultraman (Dir: Kazuya Konaka, Japan, 2004)
Ultraman, one of the most iconic figures in Japanese pop culture, got a big-budget outing in 2004 with this feature. Shunichi Maki, a pilot in the Japanese air force, finds himself transformed into the hero of the title, and has to choose between looking after his family and fighting monsters as Ultraman. Belonging to the special effects-heavy tokusatsu genre, Ultraman has all the drama, destruction and robot-fighting action you could ask for.
7. Faust: Love of the Damned (Dir: Brian Yuzna, Spain, 2000)
Think you know the story of Faust? If so, then expect to be surprised by this Spanish retelling of the myth which recasts Faust as an artist who makes a deal with the devil to avenge his girlfriend’s death only to find himself transformed into a hideous monster. With really, really big claws. Winning Best Special Effects at the Catalonian International Film Festival, this guilty pleasure is sure to delight horror fans
8. Mercury Man (Dir: Bhandit Thongdee, Thailand, 2006)
The superhero and martial arts genres collide in this Thai action film. Ancient Tibetan magic grants a Bangkok firefighter the power to generate massive amounts of heat and he uses his new-found powers to fight the terrorist Osama bin Ali. With fight choreography from Panna Rittikrai (of Ong-Bak fame), Mercury Man should be a must-see for lovers of action films.
9. Evil Brain From Outer Space (Dir: Koreyoshi Akasaka/Akira Mitsuwa, Japan, 1964)
This fantastically titled feature, assembled for American audiences from the Japanese short film series Super Giant, is classic fantasy fare, complete with robots, aliens and some anti-nuke subtext. It’s probably easier if you just watch it for yourself!
10. Black Lightning (Dir: Alexandr Voitinsky/ Dmitry Kiseilov, Russia, 2009)
You might think that because Black Lightning’s hero, Dmitry Maykov, doesn’t have any superpowers he might not make for much of a hero. But who needs powers when your can fight crime with a flying car? If you’ve ever wanted to see cars flying around Moscow and shooting rockets at each other (who hasn’t?) then this is your chance.
Disagree with any of our choices? Got any obscure cinematic heroes you’d love to share with the world? Let us know in the comments.