It’s no secret that the superhero film genre has expanded significantly over the last decade. Thanks to the likes of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, Marvel’s expansive cinematic universe, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, superhero films and comic book adaptations are the hottest commodities in Hollywood right now.
That trend will only quicken over the next few years, too. Marvel is showing no signs of stopping and will soon release three films a year up until at least 2028. Warner Bros. is building an entire DC Cinematic Universe off of last year’s Man of Steel, that includes Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 and nine untitled projects slated for release from 2016 to 2020. Fox has finally hit its stride with Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will give way to a sequel in 2016 and various spin-offs to go along with Josh Trank’s reboot of The Fantastic Four. Then of course there’s Sony, the studio building an entire universe around The Amazing Spider-Man franchise that includes villain-centric spin-offs for Venom and The Sinister Six, a female-led superhero pic in 2017, and two more Amazing Spider-Man installments.
With as many as thirty superhero films on the horizon from these big studios alone, the cinematic landscape for the next decade feels a bit crowded. However, the “big four” studios aren’t the only ones making superhero films. In fact, some of the projects made by other companies are arguably more enjoyable than any Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy that’s come our way.
Since it’s easy for these projects to slip between the cracks and get lost in the tentpole superhero shuffle, here’s a list of 12 films to check out. Some are bigger budget fare, while others are small indie pics that may have gone completely unnoticed. In any case, they should help keep you motivated to navigate the treacherous waters ahead and combat some of that big-budget superhero fatigue caused by the likes of Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, and Captain America.