With 'X-Men: The Last Stand' still in theaters and the release of 'Superman Returns' imminent, superhero movies are very much at the forefront of the American pop-culture consciousness. And when it comes to superhero movies, pretty much everyone knows the greats ('Spider-Man 2,''Batman,''Superman') AND the dogs ('Batman & Robin,''Daredevil,''Catwoman'). I'll always remember the first time Christopher Reeve ripped open his shirt to reveal that gigantic "S," as John Williams' kick-ass score swelled in the background. I'll also always remember -- much to my dismay -- the first time I laid eyes on George Clooney's gigantic pepperoni-sized bat nipples in 'Batman & Robin.' That image still haunts me -- and it's one of the least offensive things about that movie. But in addition to these superhero masterpieces and disaster-pieces, there are a handful of amazingly entertaining superhero flicks that have somehow managed to fly inconspicuously under the radar. They're not good movies by any means. In fact, they probably fall into the "so bad they're good" category -- but that doesn't stop me from loving them. So, in honor of Superman's big day next Wednesday, I present you with the Top Three Most Underrated Superhero Flicks of All Time.
The Toxic Avenger (1985): It's the story of a scrawny janitor who gets tossed into a vat of toxic waste and emerges as a vengeful, muscle-bound, mop-wielding instrument of justice. He is known as "TA" for short, which is appropriate considering there is just as much T&A in this movie as there is actual crime-fighting. That said, everything in this spoofy work of superhero genius is tongue-in-cheek, from the extreme close-up of a guy's head getting run over by a car to the hilariously named sequels, 'The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie' and 'Citizen Toxie: 'The Toxic Avenger IV.' Toxic waste has never smelled so good.
Orgazmo (1998): Written by, directed by and starring Trey Parker of 'South Park' fame, 'Orgazmo' is the story of a diehard Mormon named Joe (Parker) who accepts the role of Captain Orgazmo in a porno in order to pay his way back to Utah. I know what you're thinking: A Mormon in a skin flick -- that's scandalous! Don't worry. Joe refuses to appear in any of the sex scenes, but he does learn a thing or two about crime-fighting from his on-screen alter ego. Accompanied by trusty sidekick Choda-Boy and armed with a gun that stuns people with spasms of sexual bliss, Joe assumes the identity of Orgazmo off-screen as well, waging an orgasmic war on organized crime. Hilarity ensues.
Condorman (1981): Before he originated the role of the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Michael Crawford played Woody, the eccentric author of the 'Condorman' comic book, in this 1981 flick. The plot goes something like this: As a favor for his CIA buddy, Woody agrees to rendezvous with a Russian defector named Natalia (Barbara Carrera). She mistakes him for a real agent, he falls in love with her, and suddenly Woody is drawn into a deadly game of international espionage. And that's when he assumes the role of Condorman, employing all the gadgets of James Bond -- a winged suit that really flies, a car that turns into a boat, etc. -- but with none of Bond's signature grace. Still doubt the awesomeness of this movie? It's so good that a copy of the DVD currently costs $93.95 on Amazon.com. OK, so maybe that's because it's no longer being produced, but whatever ...
Tags: The Toxic Avenger, Condorman, Orgazmo, Superman Returns, summer movies