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Underrated: Six 90’s Comic Book Movies

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Comic Book Movies From The 90’s

With the cinematic landscape jam packed with comic book inspired movies these days, I had to wonder what the 90’s looked like, and whether any of those movies held up today. So I asked myself, I said “self, are there any movies that you feel are, for whatever reason, somewhat underrated?”

Turns out, there is.

A few things before we start; firstly, these comic book movies may have been well received when released, but may never have garnered as much attention as they deserved. Secondly, some of these movies I’m probably viewing with the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.

phantom.jpgThe Phantom (1996)
This is probably one of the only comic book movie on this list with an actual spandex bodysuit in it, and Billy Zane does admirably well in the roll. I haven’t seen this movie since the 90’s, but not for lack of trying – it is very tough to track down for a reasonable price. The Phantom is a hugely enjoyable movie, so long as you take it for what it is (Guardians of the Galaxy, it is not), you can’t fail to not enjoy it. But do yourself a favour and skip the two part mini series released in 2010.

Batman Forever (1995)
Joel Shumacker ruined the Batman movie franchise with Batman and Robin, that’s no lie, but before he did that he made Batman Forever. I still enjoy this flick to this day. It echoes the Adam West TV show of the 1960’s, updating the camp foolishness of that time into a slightly more modern and darker time, bridging the gap expertly between Tim Burton’s films and the TV show. The movie stars because of its villains; Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face and Jim Carry’s excellent portrayal of the Riddler.  No, the film isn’t the best batman movie out there, but it isn’t as bad as Shumacker’s other offering.

crow.jpgThe Crow (1994)
The Crow is a certified cult classic at this point, and with a new adaptation of the source material coming in the near future, I thought it would be worth familiarizing myself with one of my favourite movies (and was the genesis of this column). Brandon Lee is a revelation in this film, and the tragedy of his untimely death during filming only adds to the overwhelming sense of sadness and the themes of love that are woven through the movie. The film is a love story at heart, with just shy of half a dozen characters’ fates being intertwined through their actions; you’ll also notice some of the cinematography and visuals having an influence on some of the darker comic book movies that would follow.

rocketeer.jpgThe Rocketeer (1991)
A film in the vein of Indiana Jones and the adventure films of the 80’s, The Rocketeer is an entertaining romp set during the late 30’s as war brews in Europe. A stunt pilot finds a secret weapon, the jetpack, and struggles to win back his girl and stop the weapon from falling into the wrong hands. A genuinely entertaining film that you can watch with your kids (assuming you watch the adventures of Dr. Jones with them), The Rocketeer has long held a special place in my heart.

The Mask (1994)
Jim Carry’s rubber face is on full display in this outrageously fun and completely stupid offering. You can’t watch this without either laughing or rolling your eyes because The Mask is a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and nor should you take it seriously. Just watch it and enjoy the fun.


That’s all we have for this week, folks. Come back next time  when there’s something else Underrated to talk about.