This week we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Unbreakable, M. Night’s inaugural entry in his Eastrail 177 Cinematic Universe (which include Split and Glass).
The excitement around Unbreakable is a little hard to understand today. Superhero films were in a bit of a slump. The ones in the spotlight were the Schumacher Batman films, movies that were pretty derided around nerd circles. Comics had generally moved past the Adam West style campiness. Fans wanted movies that took superheroes seriously.
Unbreakable gave those fans a taste of that serious approach (i.e. closer to the Vertigos and the Valiant Comics of the world). In a world before superhero movies were cool again, Shayamalan showed that Biff! Bam! Pow! Comic book movies weren’t just for kids anymore.
Removing the camp is only one way of doing a unique superhero movie, though. Some go all in. Some are parodies. Others are created because the director couldn’t get rights to, say, The Shadow. And there’s that one guy who’s got a rocket jetpack.
Bonus prompt: what is your favorite non-Marvel, non-DC superhero film?
Next week: film scores.