The whole world is taking on a familiar shade of red and blue as The Man of Steel turns 80 this spring and the industry is celebrating on multiple fronts, including all-star retrospectives, illuminating birthday tributes, DC's Action Comics #1000 hitting comic shops April 18th, and SYFY airing their electrifying new Superman prequel, Krypton.
With all this Superman love and goodwill it only seems natural to turn to the invigorating realm of amateur fan films to see what types of inspired shorts we can corral. Fan films represent a very specific corner of geek culture and we've previously featured non-profit offerings for Batman, Star Wars, Transformers, Harry Potter, Alien, and more.
From humorous depictions of Clark Kent and animated homages to old Superman cartoons, to The Man of Steel clashing with the Joker or the Terminator, this dozen dashing Superman fan films will soar into your heart with a patriotic flair and irresistible charm.
Have a look as you wish the most famous Son of Krypton Happy Birthday and tell us which ones capture the charismatic character best!
Superman vs Bizarro 2008
There are not many examples of Bizarro in live-action form and this short from The Mancinetti Brothers matches The Man of Steel against his diabolical white-faced clone Bizarro. Remember that fan films are foremost about having fun and these three brothers must have had a blast creating this silly but appealing homemade flick, which is complete with goofy sound effects, classic music, and baggy costumes.
Hello Mr. Kent 2013
Here's a Superman fan film with an Asian-American flair that was written, scored, and directed by Daryl Lim. It's a cute story about Clark Kent and his trip to a college in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia representing Metropolis' Daily Planet and his clumsy interactions with the female members of the staff. Made with friends and family over the course of six months on a zero budget, it embodies the true essence of fan films.
Die Laughing 2010
Blinky500 has a couple fan films on our list and this interrogation exchange between the Clown Prince of Crime and Superman is a moment reminiscent of a similar scene in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, but with The Man of Steel going mind-to-mind with the maniacal villain instead. The Joker visiting Metropolis is an interesting set-up as it's rare we see his antics outside of Gotham City and we'd be riveted to see how Supes would deal with his game-playing and manipulations.
Superman: Sylvia 2017
We love to see fan films venturing into interesting territory and this one certainly fits that bill, telling the story of a transgender woman and her accidental associations with Superman. This is a poignant depiction of what it's like to be an outsider told from different perspectives, both human and alien Directed by Chris R. Notarile, it showcases an intensely sensitive side of Superman not often depicted in films, but often highlighted in comics.
Superman vs The Terminator 2014
DGDX Animation tackled this tempting project, which takes the detailed Hot Toys action figures of Superman and the Terminator and has them beating the stuffing out of each other. This stop-motion gem showcases the Christopher Reeve Superman and the Arnold Schwarzenegger T-800 in a smackdown to stop Cyberdyne Systems from unleashing a torrent of nuclear weapons. An admirable effort that even has an Obama "Atta-Boy" cameo in the icy Fortress of Solitude at the end. Bravo!
Superman vs The Joker 2015
Check out this impressive short directed by Avishai Weinberger for his NYU Studio class. Remains an excellent example of how your fan film can stand out with dedicated actors and a sharp script. The Joker has journeyed to Metropolis and planted seven bombs around the city. Superman meets up with the lunatic to discover his demands. Exhibiting the immediacy of live theater, it was all shot and edited live and is actually based on Max Landis' Adventures of Superman #14 from 2014.
Man of Tomorrow 2016
This short from France was chosen as an offiical featured DC Short and boasts exceptional production values. Jonathan Kent and Lana Lang, Clark's greatest love have both been killed. Clark Kent travels from Smallville to Metropolis, burning with the fires of revenge against "Omega Corp." Batman appears to help Clark fight Darkseid and encourages the Kryptonian to evolve into the hero he needs to be to finally fulfill his destiny. Excellent pacing and structure zoom this fan film near the top our our list.
Supermen World War 2018
Supermen World War is an extremely ambitious feature-length project, written and director by Donald Callahan and starring Kevin Caliber As Superman. It recently premiered at a private function to great reviews and was partially crowd-funded by an Indiegogo campaign and was shot on a $25,000 budget. The period piece has Lois and Clark assigned to the Press Corps in France near the end of WWII, as Lois and her photographer, Private Donald Callahan, get kidnapped by Nazi Super Soldiers and taken hostage to Berlin. Superman must battle Hitler's elite soldiers to save the day!
Superman Classic 2011
Behold this beautiful animated fan short by director Robb Pratt, who created this valentine to Superman based on his love of the old Saturday matinee serials and cartoons. It's animated traditionally around the classic music from the period and spotlights the vocal work of John Newton, TV's Superboy, from the live-action series of the 1980s and his wife, Jennifer. Will leave you seriously begging for more!!
The Death And Return Of Superman 2012
Chronicle's Max Landis made this hilarious, NSFW parody video on the importance (and unimportance) of the world's first superhero. Landis rants and raves about the absurdity of the character and his depiction in comics and movies while having a few drinks, accompanied by a crazy array of cosplayers enacting his theories about how Superman sorta sucks. There is certainly some truth behind this comedic short, made in 2012 right after Chronicle became a sleeper hit. Think it's a fluke? 3.3 million people can't be wrong!
Director Gabriel Sabloff creates an effective Superman-ish fan film centered around Dick Grayson and his attempt to fill the violent mantle of the Dark Knight after his tragic death. But it's up to an aging beefcake Superman (Alex Ross-like) to get the renegade Grayson out of the equation, resulting in a battle on the beach and cameos by Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Green Lantern, and others. This version of Superman as an angry, grizzled alien lifting an Armored Personnel Carrier is what MANY fans would love to see some day. Some startling imagery and crackerjack editing make this a Top 3 finalist.
Superman Meets Batman 2016
One of the best Superman fan films on the internet, this superb short was written and directed by rising talent, Kacey Baker. It stars Troy Honeysett as Superman/Clark Kent and Rupert Rainieri as Batman/Bruce Wayne in an entertaining little gem pointing out some of today's most topical issues. Revealing stellar acting for a fan film, especially Christian Serge's Joker, it's a polished passion project with much to admire. Someone in the hallowed halls of Hollywood should take a peek at Baker's work and give him a budget to work with. Takes gold!