ByTrevor Norkey, writer at
Writer, filmmaker, actor and film enthusiast.
Trevor Norkey

Marvel is currently known for starting and popularizing the concept of a cinematic universe, combining multiple different films into one enormous franchise. This concept has been very successful for Marvel and other film franchises are now trying it too, such as DC which is creating its own shared universe.

Marvel has done a lot more than that, though. Marvel is best known for being a superhero franchise, yet some of the Marvel films manage to stretch outside of the superhero genre. Marvel is trying to create a new name for superhero films, adding new elements to what can define a superhero movie.

Here are 8 genres besides a straight forward superhero genre that Marvel has explored in its shows and movies from both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other Marvel films.

1. Fantasy - Thor (2011)

This film was quite possibly the first big jump for superhero movies. Though there were already comic book movies that weren't superhero movies in the past (The Punisher, Howard the Duck, etc.), there was yet to really be a film that was a superhero movie in a different genre.

Thor broke this boundary by being both in the superhero genre and the fantasy genre, opening new doors for superhero films in the future. Thor took the ideas of ancient Norse mythology and turned it into a present day fantasy film with magic hammers, frost giants and different realms.

2. Space Opera - Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Everyone called Marvel crazy for making a movie about a tree, a raccoon, a blue/green man, a green girl and a human flying around in space in a ship named after Alyssa Milano - but Marvel freaking rocked it!

Marvel managed to create a superhero space opera that miraculously wowed audiences around the world. This was the first superhero film to take place almost entirely in space and Marvel proved themselves worthy of completing the task.

3. Crime Drama - Daredevil (2015 - )

Daredevil was released on Netflix earlier this year and critics raved about how phenomenal the show was. The best part of the show was that it was not fully a superhero show, but rather a crime drama with a superhero lens.

Similar to other crime dramas like Dexter, the show told the story about Matt Murdock as he fought crime during the day as a lawyer and fought the crime that the law couldn't stop during the night as Daredevil. He somehow had to manage to avoid interfering with the laws of his job while fighting the villains behind the scenes. It was a very enjoyable show unlike any superhero show I have ever seen that I highly recommend.

4. Political Thriller - Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger brought forward a new element that had not been touched on yet in the MCU - a political thriller. Captain America: The Winter Soldier introduced the concepts and themes of a political thriller to the superhero genre with its anti-government mood.

This film was almost more of a political drama than it was a superhero film. It told the story of a man being hunted by his corrupt government who planned to take over the world by killing a large portion of its population. It's no wonder why this movie is considered on of the best Marvel movies of all time - that summary alone sounds awesome!

5. Heist - Ant-Man (2015)

This year, for the first time ever, Marvel introduced their smallest hero onto the silver screen - Ant-Man! The trick to this film was not making it a straightforward superhero origin story, but rather making it into a Heist movie, almost to the point of being a spy movie.

The entire plot of the movie was about breaking into a place to steal some stuff. I don't remember any other superhero film before this carrying the same plot. Ant-Man added the ideas of a Heist film to a superhero film and I, for one, certainly enjoyed it quite a lot.

6. Time Travel - X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Though the X-Men franchise is produced by Fox, X-Men is still technically a Marvel franchise so I will count it! Days of Future Past introduced to the superhero genre the concept of time travel, which had yet to be touched on in any live-action superhero movie before this, with the exception of Superman reversing time in the old Superman flicks, of course.

Days of Future Past did more than just reverse time - it allowed the two timelines to coincide with each other as Wolverine traveled back into the body of his old self to create a newer, better timeline for the world to live in. This concept of time travel will likely appear during the MCU later on when the Time Infinity Stone is introduced.

7. Comedy - Deadpool (2016)

Though it's not out yet, Deadpool is going to be a complete comedy. It will most likely carry other elements like action with it, but Deadpool was made just for the sake of comedy.

Though elements of comedy have appeared during other Marvel films, like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, it was not a primary identifier for the films. This is the first superhero movie to be made primarily as a comedy superhero movie and I for one am very excited to see it.

8. Thriller - Jessica Jones (2015 - )

Jessica Jones is set to hit Netflix later this week, but the first episode has already been released to private audiences with great feedback coming out of it. Like Daredevil, Jessica Jones will be adding a darker element to the superhero genre. This time, Marvel is introducing a pure thriller mood.

In the show, we will see Jessica being constantly harassed, followed and manipulated by the Purple Man who can control the minds of others. While watching the trailer, if you erase the Marvel logo, it doesn't even look like a superhero film. It looks just like another suspenseful, thriller TV show.

David Tennant as the Purple Man in Jessica Jones
David Tennant as the Purple Man in Jessica Jones

Marvel has created countless films over the years, and while most of them are basic superhero flicks, some go out of those boundaries. This is why I love Marvel so much - it bends its own rules in order to entertain the audience in new, breathtaking ways. Whether I want a comedy, a thriller, a fantasy or a space opera, I always know I can go to Marvel and find something to fit my tastes.

Which of Marvel's non-superhero genres do you think was done best? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!


Which genre do you think was done best?


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