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The best superhero parody films, from 'Kick-Ass' to 'Mystery Men'

Some the best satire comes from superhero movies. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
Hancock (2008); MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND (2006); Superhero Movie (2008)

There’s no shortage of superhero films out there, even if you don't expand your horizons beyond the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Universe. If you do look past those two ever-expanding franchises, however, you’ll find more than a few superhero parody films that satirize many of the tropes common to the superhero genre. 

Read on for a list of superhero parody movies to check out if you looking for something that pokes some fun at the comics we know and love. 

Mystery Men (1999)

Mystery Men (1999)

In Mystery Men, a group of superheroes with slightly-less-impressive powers than others find themselves as the last balustrade to prevent their city from being overcome by evildoers. The cast of the comedy film is impressive, and includes Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Greg Kinnear, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Reubens, Kel Mitchell, Wes Studi, Geoffrey Rush, Lena Olin, Eddie Izzard, Claire Forlani, and Tom Waits. And while the film didn't fare too well at the box office when it first came out, it's a movie that deserves to be watched and appreciated, even more than 20 years later. 

Mystery Men is now streaming on Peacock

Blankman (1994)

Blankman (1994)

In Blankman, Damon Wayans plays a very nerdy repairman named Darryl who decides to become a superhero like Batman, much to the annoyance of his brother, played by David Alan Grier. Darryl’s superhero persona may not have as sophisticated gadgets as Batman, but what he lacks in cutting-edge technology, he makes up for with comedic relief.

Blankman is now streaming on Peacock.  

James Gunn's Super (2010)

Super (2010)

Before James Gunn directed movies for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and became the creative head of DC’s film, television, and animation efforts, he directed a dark comedy superhero movie called Super. In it, a short-order cook named Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson) decides to become a superhero even though he has no special abilities in an attempt to get his wife back. The movie is a violent one that got mixed critical reviews. In addition to Wilson, it stars Elliot Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, and Nathan Fillion. 

Will Smith in Hancock (2008)

Hancock (2008)

Will Smith stars as a grumpy, alcoholic superhero who often gets called an a-hole by the people he rescues. The movie starts out with him trying to rehabilitate himself with the help of a public relations specialist named Ray (Jason Bateman) that he saves. Ray and his wife Mary (Charlize Theron) work with Hancock to rehabilitate him and the move veers on from there, in ways that many critics didn’t appreciate.

Luke Wilson and Uma Thurman in MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND (2006)

My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)

Ever wondered how dating would be if some people secretly had superpowers? That’s the premise of My Super Ex-Girlfriend, a romantic comedy directed by Ivan Reitman that stars Uma Thurman as G-Girl and Luke Wilson as the normie, Matt Saunders. The two start out dating but then break up, and G-Girl is none too happy about it. Things get complicated and buildings collapse, but the movie ends on a happy note with Matt and G-Girl finding the people they’re truly meant to be with, some of whom may have superpowers as well. 

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

The Toxic Avenger is a cult classic that has spawned an entire franchise. In the first film, a janitor in New Jersey named Melvin falls into a vat of toxic waste and becomes a deformed creature with superhuman strength. The film is a clear spoof on superheroes, and has several violently funny moments.  

Superhero Movie (2008)

Superhero Movie (2008)

This film written and directed by Craig Mazin, is a clear parody of Spider-Man and Batman Begins and centers around a high school student named Rick Riker who gets humped by a bunch of animals and then bit by a chemically enhanced dragonfly at a school trip to a science lab. The parody remains strong from there, with the film taking hits at the X-Men as well. Superhero Movie was largely panned by critics, but its arguably the most explicit parody out there. 

Chloe Moretz in KICK-ASS (2010)

Kick-Ass (2010)

Kick-Ass is based on a comic of the same name and centers around a high school kid, Dave Lizewski, who decides he wants to become a superhero, even though he has no powers. Kick-Ass is a bloody superhero movie — Dave gets stabbed and run over on his first foray out — but the film has gained a cult following and features Nic Cage as a superhero called Big Daddy. What more could you want? 

Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2011)

Zebraman (2004)

Zebraman is a tokusatsu comedic superhero film that centers around a ne’er-do-well family man named Shinichi Ichikawa. To bring some excitement to his life, Ichikawa dresses up each night as Zebraman, the star of a 1970s television series that was canceled after its seventh episode. The movie gets weird and more than a little bit sci-fi, but it’s a funny film that parodies the superhero genre admirably.  

Looking for even more superhero action? Stream Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, and more on Peacock right now.