The 4 Most Insane Superhero Movies From Around The World

It's a great time for a comic nerd to be alive. But if you fear suffering a superhero movie burnout, I have a way to keep things fresh.
The 4 Most Insane Superhero Movies From Around The World

Superhero movies are currently about as big as a delicious roast ham, despite the yearly articles you'll read about how the genre is going to choke on its own colorful underoos and die any time now. Marvel is shit-stomping across the cinematic landscape with their massive shared universe, and DC has proven with Wonder Woman that they can hold their own. It's a great time for a comic nerd to be alive. But lest you still fear suffering a superhero movie burnout, I have a way to keep things fresh: different superhero movies! And with this delightful blend of caped wonders from around the globe comes lessons that Marvel and DC could stand to learn, if only to ensure that they make five trillion dollars next year, and not a measly four trillion.

The Superteam Movie: The Guardians

I want you to take one thing away from the knowledge that this movie exists, and it is this: There is a bear-man in this movie (by which I mean a were-bear, rather than a hirsute 4chan meme, though either could be equally heroic if written properly), whose pants tear off his big fuzzy bear ass every time he turns into a bear, and then regrow when he turns back into a man! I defy any of the current crop of American superhero movies to present a character with a power that incredible.

The Guardians comes to us from Russia with love, and I clearly remember seeing the trailer for it about a year ago and being immediately enraptured by the majesty of a movie that features an actual bear with a backpack full of machine guns. I literally cannot think of a single film that would not be improved by the addition of a bear toting a robo-gun backpack. The Godfather? Citizen Kane? Fuck your Rosebud, Orson, that bear is shooting people.

Like the Avengers, the Guardians are more than just a bear in pants. The team also features a man who can control rocks, a smoky ninja guy with big moony swords, and a lady who turns invisible but is not the Invisible Woman, because Russia. The bad guy has what appears to be foam rubber prosthetic man boobs. I can't say enough good things about this film.

What Marvel/DC Can Learn:

One of the main issues with superhero team movies, from Suicide Squad to The Avengers to several of the X-Men films, is the tendency for the storyline to get cluttered up trying to balance so many characters. That's not an issue in The Guardians because no one gives two fucks who anyone in this movie is. I literally just watched the movie, and I can't remember anyone's name. Why is that guy a bear? How come the ninja turns into smoke sometimes? Fuck off, give the rock guy an electric whip and let's mess some shit up.

You could argue that this is lazy filmmaking, but I loved the shit out of this movie and will argue that it's efficient filmmaking. I'm not wasting time learning about why Will Smith is the right guy to shoot a belly-dancing witch lady. Instead, I'm watching a man entomb himself in stone and wind, and then sprint really, really slowly across a warehouse to get beat up by a giant bald baby man. The same baby man who literally steals a skyscraper later in the film. He takes it. Takes it and leaves with it. That's all business and no clumsy storytelling bogging me down with things like "thoughts" or "concerns."

The Solo Hero Movie: Krrish/Krrish 3

From the exotic land of India and the perplexing world of Bollywood comes Krrish and its sequel Krrish 3. Wondering where Krrish 2 went? So did I, until about an hour and a half into Krrish (which runs for three hours), when it became clear that Krrish is actually a sequel to another movie with a totally different name. Right away, these movies are keeping me on my toes in ways that American superhero films haven't managed to pull off. Iron Man 3 should have been a sequel to Hulk. Just because.

Krrish is the story of Krishna, because that's easy to remember. A man who keeps being referred to as a boy despite the actor being in his 30s lives with his grandma in the middle of jackshit nowhere. Also worth noting is that he can leap great distances, climb mountains like a goat, and is generally awesome in every way. If this film is ever remade in America, it will inevitably be called Parkourman. The dude is extremely cut, as well. You could make a smoothie just by pouring a bunch of fruit on him while he does sit-ups. Everyone else in this movie looks like they were made in the Pillsbury factory, but the actor who plays Krrish may have been carved from solid oak. I'm not normally one to be wowed by a man's physique, but good for this guy, especially since his workout routine seems to only consist of outrunning horses.

The first film is mostly a romance, because that's what the kids want these days. Imagine if Avengers: Age Of Ultron spent the entire first act covering Hulk's wooing of Black Widow, and then spent the whole second act covering the same thing. But don't let that convince you that the movie's not good, because it's so damn long that it seems to have about five acts anyway. And one of those acts includes a refresher of the first part, which I never knew existed, in which we learn that Krrish's dad was born somewhat enfeebled until a blue alien named Jadoo zapped him with a smart ray, which was then passed on to his boy. Wow!

The sequel ups the ante with the introduction of villains who are not the X-Men, including a girl who isn't Mystique who can change shape to look like anyone, a guy with a long tongue who isn't Toad, plus a mastermind in a wheelchair who isn't Professor X and who is later not Magneto when he starts floating and tossing metal everywhere. Oh, and there's also a scene in which a lady curses out an orangutan. Never saw Hugh Jackman do that, did you?

What Marvel/DC Can Learn:

It's well, well, welllll into the movie before the first musical number appears. Over an hour. At that moment, you realize that you're watching a Bollywood film. From then on, songs happen with no kind of discernible timing, and no indication of whether or not the events that transpire during them are actually happening in the context of the film in a way that the characters are aware of. Are they really saying those things to each other or not? I have no idea. And that's why it's brilliant.

Bollywooding a superhero movie adds a new dimension to the film. It challenges the writer to come up with a clever way to write a song that ties into the story. And more importantly, it lets your main character stop flying around and punching holes in dicks so that they can dance with all the background characters for three minutes. Killer Croc would have been so much more effective in Suicide Squad if he busted out a dance rendition of "It's Not Easy Being Green" with colorfully costumed backup dancers, because it would've completely shifted the tone for three minutes with no in-movie consequences. It's like a plot mulligan that lets you add a dash of flavor before moving on with the story, and that's kind of an awesome thing.

The Anti-Hero Movie: Big Man Japan

If you haven't seen the Japanese hero/kaiju movie Big Man Japan, you really need to track it down, as it may be one of the greatest superhero/mockumentary films ever produced. From a monster that's described as having the combined stink of 10,000 human feces to the accidental murder of a giant baby with cat ears, this movie really sells you on the trials and tribulations of superhero-dom, with a healthy dose of the depressing real-world lives of superheroes in their downtime tossed in. Imagine Logan with less swearing and more learning the dynamics of how a superhero fits into bus-sized underpants.

Since it's portrayed as a documentary, a lot of the film focuses on just how shitty this man's life is when he's not out saving Japan. And Big Man Japan definitely doesn't skimp on the things that want to eat Japan, as they're some of the best enemies ever put on film. They include what looks like a furry chicken with an eyeball dong, and the Michelin tire man with a combover. And to stop them, Big Man Japan gets paid garbage, and he has to sell add space on his huge chest to make ends meet. Also, his wife left him and took his kid. Plus his cat isn't even really his. This is the anti-superhero story everyone's been trying to make for years.

What Marvel/DC Can Learn:

I don't want to go ahead and spoil the end of the movie for those who haven't seen it, but it also came out like a decade ago and the ending is the best part of not just this film, but possibly film in general. After the entire run of the movie featuring borderline CG monsters and crazy fights, the end switches to "live mode," and the whole movie takes a shit in your coffee cup. Now everything is low-budget Power Rangers, the main character is in a fat suit, and a family of robots literally kick a baby at a bigger, redder baby as a weapon before spending a solid five minutes ripping his damn clothes off. It doesn't even look like this part of the movie was scripted, and it comes across like these people literally put costumes on and tried to kill a guy dressed like a big red devil baby.

This movie is a masterful subversion, and that's not hyperbole. The ending so contrasts everything that came before it as to be damn near baffling. It's a twist that would make M. Night Shyamalan fear-poop. It's breathtaking. You want to give people a movie they'll remember, you do this. It's barely even the same genre of film for the final ten minutes. It's like if instead of telling Luke that he was his father, Vader took off his mask and was a cat. Any superhero movie made by Marvel or DC that would dare shake up the narrative this much at the end would be legendary.

How they could do it in a way that didn't make viewers think they'd been licking peyote paste off of a hallucinogenic toad that was high on morphine I can't say. But damn, someone oughta try it.

The Gritty Hero Movie: They Call Me Jeeg

From Italy comes They Call Me Jeeg, the most cynical of all superhero movies until maybe the last 15 minutes, when it tries for a redemption story that still includes beating a man with a toilet and a severed head. And because it's Italian, there are also references to butt stuff and porn. So tread lightly, unless you're down with butt stuff and porn. In that case, I say step into the light, my child.

Jeeg is a Japanese cartoon character that a woman in the film has a weird obsession with, because she's not mentally well and has been seriously abused in the past. But you will see her naked in the movie because reasons, and she also gets a sex scene in a princess dress for also reasons. It's the most uncomfortable part of the film, and that's saying something, since it also includes a severed toe that someone tries to tape back on, a guy getting lit on fire, and another guy being murdered with an iPhone because it was the wrong color. It stops just before a character leaps from the screen to beat a senior citizen with a flip-flop.

Logan gave us a dark, harrowing look at a hero at the end of his journey. They Call Me Jeeg is a dark, harrowing look at a hero at the beginning of his. Instead of a "Spider-Man leaping from rooftops to enjoy his newfound powers" scene, we get a guy who robs an ATM and uses the proceeds to buy a shitload of pudding and porn DVDs. Everyone's origin story has to be a little different.

What Marvel/DC Can Learn:

Logan and Deadpool have been lauded as examples of how an R-rated superhero movie can still draw an audience. Neither of these go quite as far as Jeeg here does, and both still manage to balance levity with serious action. Jeeg's levity includes a superpowered burn victim channeling David Bowie as he punches an old lady brandishing an iron to death in slow motion. I mean, it doesn't sound funny when I reread it like this, but I kind of chuckled when I watched it in the movie.

Jeeg's significant lesson is that if you want a dark, gritty hero, you can make that shit so much darker than The Dark Knight. You can have a man beat a hole into another man's head with a phone and still feel like you're not being subjected to madness for the sake of madness. It's just the less-than-sunny world these characters live in. And hey, it even has a romantic subplot, because you need to keep your hero human when he's not robbing armored cars or doing any of the other awful things that They Call Me Jeeg asks us to just be cool with.

While Logan was great for giving us the depressing world of what happens when you take the spandex off and the superhero-ing is done, Jeeg is pretty damn good about showing you what happens if everyone is just a piece of shit, including the hero who has about two hours to evolve into not a piece of shit. And isn't that a journey we can all relate to?

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