As this list shows pretty quickly, it’s very easy to take characters from a major action franchise and spin them into their own movie, or a reworking of the original source material. You take a popular intellectual property and instead of making a direct sequel, producers look at a popular supporting character and flesh out that character’s world into their own film.
It’s essentially how the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) does its business, spinoffs after spinoffs on top of spinoffs. While there are some Marvel movies on this list, this is more about true spinoffs. Here are 10 of the best spin-off movies of all time according to IMDb.
10 Joker (9.5)
It’s not even out yet and IMDb grades do fall once the film has been released worldwide. But according to most critics and fans lucky enough to see early screenings, Joker is worth every percentage of its near perfect grade.
The praise heaped all over Joaquin Phoenix for his portrayal of a man cracking under all of the pressure, eventually becoming The Clown Prince Of Crime has him on pace to finally get an Oscar nomination.
9 Into The Spider-Verse (8.4)
With all of the pyro and ballyhoo running rampant about where the next live action Spider-Man adventure will take place, it’s good to know that the animated Spider-Verse is in good hands. Into The Spider-Verse takes some of the live-action Spider-tomfoolery, mixes in its own brand of humor, and successfully introduces Miles Morales into the cinematic world.
There’s a lot of reasons that this movie is quickly being considered the best Spider-Man movie there is, with the montage set to “What’s Up Danger?” being the fist-pumping moment that a lot movies need.
8 Logan (8.1)
Hugh Jackman has always been able to captivate audiences as Wolverine, but it took three X-Men movies and two of his own solo adventures to finally get it perfect for the third Wolverine film, Logan.
There was a lot to like about The Wolverine, but the final Wolverine picture is easily one of the top comic book movies ever made. As a neo-western, the movie features the raging Canucklehead down and defeated. But he’s trudging on to protect and near-ancient Charles Xavier and a girl who may or may not be his daughter.
7 Deadpool (8.0)
Despite a completely abysmal appearance in the abysmal X-Men Origins film, the consensus was clear that Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, The Merc With A Mouth was perfectly cast. He wanted to do the role justice, the fans wanted it, now it was up the studio to take a chance on an R-rated superhero comedy.
The movie did so well that it spawned a sequel and a promised third film, still starring Reynolds, despite being sold to Disney.
6 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (7.8)
“Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”
Those mere few sentences that have been a part of Star Wars fandom for decades was finally depicted in Rogue One. Part war movie, part spy thriller, and all Star Wars, the movie was a good jump-off point for the stand-alone stories that Disney was trying to accomplish.
5 Creed (7.6)
Rocky might be one of the greatest sports franchises that ever existed. But rather than attempt a remake or a reboot that would anger a lot of fans, writer-director Ryan Coogler went an entirely different direction.
Creed hits a lot of the series’ popular tropes and thanks to star Michael B. Jordan, the movie shines as more than what could have been just a tired rehash. Thanks to Tessa Thompson, the film has a lot of heart.
4 Hobbs And Shaw (6.7)
In 2011, Dwayne Johnson hopped aboard the The Fast And The Furious franchise and along with its new wild direction, the series was reinvigorated. Several years later and the Rock got his own Hobbs movie - Hobbs And Shaw.
Thanks to the popularity of both the Great One and the franchise, the movie was destined to be a hit. Which it was, bringing all of the fun lunacy that the Fast franchise is known for full circle by continuing to do whatever they want, plot and physics be damned.
3 U.S. Marshals (6.5)
Tommy Lee Jones’ impassioned speech and subsequent hunt for Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive was as compelling if not more so than watching Harrison Ford’s race to prove how innocence. Since the movie was such a runaway success, a sequel featuring Jones as Marshal Sam Gerard in 1998’s U.S. Marshals.
Gerard again is searching for a fugitive wrongly convicted while Wesley Snipes plays an equally capable federal agent. No, the movie isn’t as good as the original, but it’s still a great way to spend a few hours.
2 Minions (6.4)
After serving the Despicable Gru in a few films in the Despicable Me series, the little yellow guys got their own movie in Minions (what else would you call it?). After telling a brief history of the Minions being there whenever destruction was called for (pushing a T-Rex into a volcano, for example).
The movie features several of the Minions, Kevin, Stuart, and Bob venturing out of exile to find a new master and they might have stumbled upon an answer when they decide to head to Villain-Con and meet up with Scarlet, who wants to steal from the queen of England.
1 This Is 40 (6.2)
Judd Apatow has created an entire career out of using a lot of the same actors, but he never made an actual sequel or spinoff to any of his movies until he wrote This Is 40. Centering around Pete and Debbie and their family, introduced in Knocked Up.
Where the original film worked on the charms of Seth Rogen, this one features a more dramedy-type of approach as Pete and Debbie both confront hitting 40, having kids and living mundane lives.