The Marvel Cinematic Universe has quickly taken over theaters, totaling over $4 billion worldwide for its first 14 films.This year alone, Marvel is releasing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok with a long lineup of films set for 2018. It’s also worth mentioning that DC is releasing Wonder Woman and Justice League this year, and also has multiple films slotted for 2018. Everyone loves a good superhero movie, but every now and then it can get a bit overwhelming. It’s nice every once in awhile to kick back with some popcorn and watch movies that deviate a bit from our favorites, without straying too far. In some instances, films similar to superhero movies (but don’t actually feature a superhero) might even be more fun to watch. If you feel you may need a little break before delving into the next Marvel phase or DC’s Extended Universe, check out 15 Great Movies To Watch If You’re Sick Of Superhero Movies.
15 Mad Max Fury Road
If you liked the recently released film Logan, you’re going to want to look at Mad Max: Fury Road. Both films are already being compared because of their similar desert orange looks and post-apocalyptic settings. But if you want the insanity of Logan taken to a new extreme, Mad Max: Fury Road is your next watch.
The 2015 action film starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy is so fast paced and aggressive, that the editors went through extreme measures to figure out exactly where your eye would be at a given time and use that information to motivate their cuts, so the film doesn’t get too disorienting. That’s right, the filmmakers thought the movie was so sporadic and insane that they spent that much time to keep you in the zone. For the record, they even brought home an Oscar for that endeavor, not to mention the five others they won.
14 Men In Black
If you like every single movie S.H.I.E.L.D is in, you’re going to think Men In Black is the coolest thing ever. S.H.I.E.L.D appears in a few films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as the first and second Iron Man movies, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the ABC television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
S.H.I.E.L.D is a high profile law-enforcement agency in the Marvel universe, and in Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it was regarded as rather secretive. S.H.I.E.L.D deals with all sorts of things like aliens, supervillains, and terrorism. As for the 1997 action comedy film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, Men in Black is based on a comic book about an extremely secret organization that employs agents to deal with extraterrestrial beings who live on Earth. Men in Black is a fun action film and is only the first in a series of three. So you’ll have quite a few movies to binge.
13 Jurassic World
If you liked The Avengers, you would love Jurassic World. Starring Guardians of the Galaxy actor, Chris Pratt, and Black Mirror actress, Bryce Dallas Howard, the 2015 Colin Trevorrow directed film is part of the larger Jurassic Park series, but is a bit of a soft reboot at the same time.
There’s surprisingly a lot these two films have in common. Both films are part of larger franchises and had a lot riding on them to be successful. Jurassic World and The Avengers have very similar tones and even look similar color wise. Not to mention the ending of The Avengers, where the team has to take on a ton of aliens coming to take over the planet, is very similar to when Owen and Claire, our protagonists, have to save the park from the dinosaurs breaking free. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler. The difference is it's up to people with no superpowers to contain them, which is arguably even more fun to watch. Jurassic World 2 is set to be released in June 2018.
12 Harry Potter Series
If you liked Doctor Strange (2016), you’re going to want to check out the Harry Potter series. The Harry Potter series consists of eight films starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. It is based off of the world famous book series of the same name written by J.K. Rowling.
Both Doctor Strange and Harry Potter are centered around magic or the mystic arts and a character who is unfamiliar with it, but must learn from scratch to become one of the greatest. Both Harry and Strange, who both are a bit arrogant, just saying, must learn from mentors and ancient texts to take on more than they could ever imagine. Doctor Strange is definitely much grander and fantastical seeing as it has to somehow fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Harry Potter series is a good fit for someone who likes Doctor Strange because it is another magical universe for viewers to explore. Catch Benedict Cumberbatch reprise his role as Dr. Stephen Strange in the 2017 Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok.
11 The Man From U.N.C.L.E
If you are desperately waiting for Black Widow to get her own movie, you can check out The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015) to hold you over. This spy movie is set in 1960s Europe and includes a KGB agent, a CIA agent, and the daughter of a nazi scientist who all have to team up to save the world from Nazi sympathizers. It also features Henry Cavill, who plays Superman in the DC Extended Universe and Alicia Vikander, who will play Lara Croft in the 2018 Tomb Raider film.
This movie is perfect for fans waiting to see Black Widow in her own stand alone film because of the setting (constantly moving around Europe), that classic spy movie tone, fantastic filmmaking by Guy Ritchie, and the fact that it stars a strong female character. Alicia Vikander does a fantastic job on screen, but it will be nothing compared to the undoubtable strength of the heroine Black Widow. Fingers crossed that Marvel gets a move on with releasing this film.
10 Sherlock Holmes
If you liked Iron Man and can’t get enough of Robert Downey Jr., take a look at Sherlock Holmes. This is the second Guy Ritchie film to make the list; this one is a fast paced mystery film based off of arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional character. Like Iron Man, it still has RDJ's witty humor, but this film is set in the 1890s.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s onscreen chemistry is captivating, and their clever banter flows with such easy, exactly like the source material. They captured the hero-sidekick dynamic while adding some self-aware comedy about it. There has also been some talk surrounding a third film in RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes installment; as of late 2016, all that has been confirmed is some early talk about putting together a writing room for the film. Either way, Sherlock Holmes is the perfect film to watch while you eagerly wait to catch more of Tony Stark in this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
9 Catch Me If You Can
If you liked the action packed Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Catch Me If You Can is worth the watch. Starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks, the 2002 film is based on the real life story of Frank Abagnale, a man who successfully conned multiple people out of thousands and thousands of dollars by impersonating all different people ranging from his father to the pilot of an aircraft, all while he was just a teenager.
There’s obviously a lot of differences between these two films, but if you liked the chase aspect of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’ll definitely enjoy this movie. While there's much less destruction in Catch Me if You Can, the hunt for Frank Abagnale, who is played by Leonardo Dicaprio, is pretty similar to the hunt for Cap and Black Widow, except it took a lot more wit to catch Frank. Catch Me if You Can is fun and intelligent, and definitely a movie to check out.
If you liked Guardians of the Galaxy, you’re going to love Serenity. Both films are colorful space outlaw movies. Joss Whedon director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, wrote and directed the 2005 space film, Serenity. Serenity has an interesting backstory that not many other films can boast. The characters, story, and universe was based on the TV show, Firefly, after the show only lasted one season on air. In fact, the last two episodes didn’t have premieres and only aired through syndication and digital/DVD releases. While the show didn’t get as much love as hoped for by director Joss Whedon, overtime it became a cult hit, and it gave Whedon the opportunity to bring the Firefly universe to the big screen.
While Serenity is not nearly as humor driven or funny as Guardians of the Galaxy, Serenity is still full of impressive special effects. It is definitely worth the watch if you’re looking for a movie full of imagination and battles in space to hold you over until the May 5, 2017 release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2.
7 Kill Bill
If you liked Deadpool, Kill Bill: Volume 1 might be the movie for you. Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a 2003 film written and directed by film genius Quentin Tarantino, that grossed over $180 million worldwide. It’s safe to say that Uma Thurman’s character in this film, who has mastered martial arts and sword fighting, could definitely give Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool a run for his money.
Lovers of Deadpool would like this film because, like a true Tarantino film, it’s a story of revenge full of edgy action and gore. Expect jaw dropping and brain boggling moments as Thurman dominates the fight scenes with ease. With that said, the action is on par with Deadpool, but expect a lot less dialogue driven comedy in this revenge flick. Deadpool is definitely much more light-hearted than Tarantino’s 2003 film, but Kill Bill is still worth the watch to hold you over until the release of Deadpool 2 in 2018.
6 V for Vendetta
If you thought Watchmen (2009) was good, wait until you see V for Vendetta (2005). Both films are based on books written by Alan Moore; V for Vendetta is a British graphic novel and Watchmen is a comic-book limited series. It’s extremely difficult to argue which story is the best here, but the influence of Alan Moore definitely showed in both films.
You might recognize the same Guy Fawkes mask from the movie being used as the symbol for real-life hacktivist group Anonymous, and it’s likely you’ve heard the saying “Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason, and plot.” As with Watchmen, the graphic novel and film are more than just an interesting story to many people. V for Vendetta is not just a cult classic, but it’s an eerie warning about how easily a government can become an oppressive force and how powerful a group of people can be. Both dark films are set in a dystopian world full of destruction and corruption. They are both successful in sending brilliant and meaningful messages about the government and society all while acquiring extremely devoted fans. They both deliver feelings of unease and tension in a crumbling world. If you haven’t seen V for Vendetta or Watchmen, they both need to go to the top of your must-see (and must-read!) list.
If you liked the Dark Knight Trilogy, you will love Inception. Christopher Nolan directed the Dark Knight Trilogy as well as Inception, and you can seriously feel it. While one film focuses on Batman in his attempts to save Gotham and the other on Leonardo DiCaprio stealing information from someone’s subconscious mind, there are countless similarities between the them.
They attract the same audience because they both feel like the stakes are high and include overwhelming problems our team of heroes must face. Not to mention that these films have extremely similar dark tone and epic feel, with huge sets and incredible visuals. The trilogy and Inception both feature actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, and Tom Hardy, as well as actress Marion Cotillard. Nolan’s next film to be released is Dunkirk in July 2017, and we’re willing to bet it’ll be another huge success that attracts the same audience that loves the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception.
4 Now You See Me
If Suicide Squad (2016) is the movie for you, you’re going to want to check out Now You See Me. Despite negative reviews critiquing the less-than-satisfying plot, Suicide Squad grossed $745 million worldwide. There is also some major buzz about a second Suicide Squad film (possibly directed by Mel Gibson ) already in the works for DC. But if you want to see the central theme of this movie (bad guys you can root for), Now You See Me is a better bet.
Both films have the same reluctant, criminal ridden team that eventually figures out how to work together. The difference is the characters in Now You See Me are very well thought out and developed fully. Their team dynamic is intense and interesting, but still allows each individual character to have screen time. This film is fast paced, witty, funny and Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, really shines. And if you enjoy Now You See Me, there’s also a Now You See Me 2 that is even more fun.
3 Ocean’s Eleven
If you liked The Avengers, you’re going to love Ocean’s Eleven. Equipped with a brilliant cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia and even more, Ocean’s Eleven grossed more than $450 million worldwide. Based on the 1960 film of the same name, the film was released in 2001 and was quickly followed by two more films with the same cast.
Of course the differences stack up between the two films, for example one is full of aliens and superheroes and the other is full of criminals who decide to rob the Bellagio, but they attract the same audience. Ocean’s Eleven shows the assembling of a team like The Avengers, showing each of them in their natural habitat with their own set of skills. In all honesty, this team is much more exciting to watch because they’re wittier and funnier and don’t even have to knock down half of New York City to keep our attention. A spin off from the Ocean’s Trilogy called Ocean’s Eight is set to feature an all female team and be released in 2018.
2 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
If you thought Ant-Man was good, wait until you see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Edgar Wright, who directed Scott Pilgrim was originally set to direct Ant-Man, but later backed out. However, you can tell his influence made it to some parts of the 2015 Marvel film. Wright even wrote the original screenplay before he left the project, so we can assume some of the quirkier jokes that made it into the film might be because of him.
Scott Pilgrim is full of Wright’s quick paced editing and fluid writing, except this time it’s on steroids. Basing the material off writer Bryan Lee O’Malley, who himself is a quirky unpredictable writer, the mixture of these two minds makes for an unbelievable movie. The transitions alone will make your jaw drop.Interesting fact: it is based on six graphic novels. The film was being made as the last graphic novel was being created, so the filmmakers didn't even know how it ended. They both end up in the same place, but how they got there is a bit different. It is definitely worth the watch if you’re in the mood for an eccentric comedy with amazing visual effects.
1 Kingsman: The Secret Service
If you liked the dark comedy/superhero movie Kickass, Kingsman: The Secret Service will be your next favorite film. These films have the same screenplay writers, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, and Vaughn even directed both. They’re even common in their source material; Kick-Ass (2010) and Kingsman (2015) are based off of comics written by Mark Millar from Icon Comics, and Millar’s clever humor from the comics definitely influenced the success of the Kingsmen movie.
Both films are full of dark comedy and unlikely heroes with mentors to help them along the way. Starring Colin Firth, Samuel Jackson, and Taron Egerton, the 2015 movie Kingsman: The Secret Service is about Eggsy who decides to leave his life as a delinquent and fill his deceased ex-spy father’s shoes, aiming to join the recruits of the Kingsmen. The film is hilarious and full of stylized action scenes, doing a fantastic job of poking fun at classic spy movies while being an amazing modern spy movie all on its own. The films sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is set to release on October 6th of this year.