action movie freak    

Action Movie SUBGENRES


This is a huge, ongoing project that I live to work on :D  If a movie that you think should be in a category is not there,
it's probably because I haven't gotten around to re-watching it to be sure. Same thing, if you see any glaringly wrong placements
of films in categories, please email me: For a list of movies, see my Hit List.


"It's a bird . . . It's a 'plane . . . " Way back when, when Superheroes moved from TV shows to the big screen what we looked forward to most was whether they could finally make it believable that Superman could fly. How far have we come!! As the subgenre grew in popularity and more and more superheroes were brought to life on the big screen, we were happy (depending on which were our favorites), but nothing was that major again until The Avengers.  The scene where the camera swirls around the group as they create a circle to do battle in the street still gives me goosebumps. "Avengers assemble!"   Seeing so many characters together was the realization of every happy moment we spent reading comic books, and every movie of individual superheroes until then.  [Hence, the Ultimate Marvel Marathon! ]

Where Superhero movies have caused fan grumbling a little is really in just one place (because we eat up everything else about these movies): the actor/costume.  The most critical part of these movies is who plays the role, and whether they measure up to our mythic expectations. Then, fans tend to pick on the costume. Overall, you cannot be unhappy with the use of CGI in these movies. With superheroes, reality is not something we care about.




SUPERMAN (15 Dec 1978)
Christopher Reeve

SUPERMAN II (19 June 1980)
Christopher Reeve

SUPERMAN III (17 June 1983)
Christopher Reeve

BATMAN (23 June 1989)
Michael Keaton

THE PUNISHER (8 July 1990)
Dolph Lundgren

(30 Mar 1990)

DICK TRACY (15 June 1990)

BATMAN RETURNS (19 June 1992)
Michael Keaton

THE PHANTOM  (7 June 1996)
Billy Zane

BATMAN & ROBIN  (20 June 1997)
George Clooney

SPAWN  (1 Aug 1997)
Michael Jai-White

BLADE  (21 Aug 1998)
Wesley Snipes

X-MEN (14 July 2000)

BLADE II (22 Mar 2002)
Wesley Snipes

SPIDER-MAN (3 May 2002)

X-MEN 2 (2 May 2003)

HULK (20 June 2003)
Eric Bana

HELLBOY (2 April 2004)

THE PUNISHER (16 April 2004)
Thomas Jane

BLADE: TRINITY (8 Dec 2004)

FANTASTIC FOUR (8 July 2005)

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (26 May 2006)

IRON MAN (2 May 2008)

Edward Norton

(11 July 2008)

 (1 May 2009)

IRON MAN 2 (7 May 2010)

THOR (6 May 2011)

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (3 June 2011)

(22 July 2011)

THE AVENGERS (4 May 2012)

Andrew Garfield

IRON MAN 3 (3 May 2013)

THE WOLVERINE (3D 26 July 2013)

(8 Nov 2014)

(4 April 2014)

(25 March 2016)

(6 May 2016)


X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (27 May 2016)

WONDER WOMAN (2 June 2017)

THOR: RAGNAROK (3 Nov 2017)

(17 Nov 2017)

BLACK PANTHER (16 Feb 2018)


Superman 1978 movie poster

Superman II 1980 movie poster

Superman III 1983 movie poster

Batman 1989 movie poster

The Punisher 1989 Dolph Lundgren movie poster

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 movie poster

Dick Tracy 1990 movie poster

Batman Returns 1992 movie poster

The Phantom 1996 movie poster

Spawn 1997 movie poster

Blade 1998 movie poster

X-Men 2000 movie poster

Blade II 2002 movie poster



Superman (15 Dec 1978)
Aaaah Christopher Reeve! He did the suit proud. Everyone was so excited to see a superhero on the big screen and we wondered how it would look when he flew. We were not disappointed. It was a big leap for special effects that it came off as well as it did.

Superman II (19 June 1980)
Christopher Reeve was back to kick butt and advance his romance with Lois Lane. The characters in the movie are really dumb but it has some great one liners.  It's fun to watch for Superman fans. He defeats three villians with comparable strength, thereby enhancing his invincibility!  I found this on Wikipedia and really like it: 

"Reeve was never a Superman or comic book fan, though he had watched Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves. Reeve found the role offered a suitable challenge because it was a dual role. He said, 'there must be some difference stylistically between Clark and Superman. Otherwise, you just have a pair of glasses standing in for a character.'

On the commentary track for the director's edition of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz spoke of how Reeve had talked to him about playing Superman and then playing Clark Kent. Mankiewicz then corrected Reeve, telling him that he was always, always playing Superman and that when he was Clark Kent, he was 'playing Superman who was playing Clark Kent.' Mankiewicz described it to Reeve as a role within the role."

There is a moment in this movie, where Clark Kent is talking to Lois, who misses Superman. When Kent takes off his glasses, he's still Kent, and the camera cuts away. When it comes back to him, you can see the moment when Superman replaces Kent. A moment ago you were looking at the same glasses-less face, but now it's somebody else. I think Reeve really captured that advice!



Superman III (17 June 1983)
In the third movie, Christopher Reeve had just starred in Deathrap where he kissed a guy.  I remember being in the theater and someone screamed out "Superman, say it isn't so!" At the time, it was lightly funny (and not meant to be homophobic).  In some ways, looking back, he really stood out, like Arnold: Bigger than most men and really good looking.



Batman (23 June 1989)
Michael Keaton. Michael Keaton?  Yep! I thought he was great (forgiveness for big '80s hair! He's an underrated actor. Come on, before he was Batman, he was Bill Blazejowski (Night Shift), Betelguese (Beetlejuice), and Daryl Poynter (Clean and Sober). Following Batman, he did Pacific Heights. His character was so malevolent—What a performance! But, back to Batman . . . Tim Burton directed. Oh yeah, that's an amazing combination, and it worked!  They had a really cool Batmobile, Kim Basinger, Jack Nicholson (as Joker). I liked Batman's costume. It had big pointy ears (not the Doberman-ish domerman ears of the latest incarnation). When he crashes through the glass and spreads his bat wings, it's as close to campy-comic book as you can get with live action.  It totally satisfied. Made us want more. They gave us just one more with Keaton, Batman Returns.




The Punisher (5 October 1989)
This version stars Dolph Lundgren. I have yet to watch this movie. It's a favorite of many Action Movie freaks and still talked about and watched a lot. I just love the Thomas Jane version so much. I guess that's why. According to IMDb trivia, Dolph did most of his own stunts. Another real selling point: "All of the fight sequences were performed with real contact by the actors to give the fights a sense of realism, and because the Kyokushin karate champions Kenji Yamaki and Hirofumi Kanayama's sense of honor would not allow them to fake it." Also, IMDb shares that the character of The Punisher "first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129, dated February 1974." That comic was selling on e-Bay for $8,000 in June of 2022!

Wish this version existed: "The film's 98 minute work-print version features a prologue written by writer/producer Robert Mark Kamen that was cut to shreds and used as flashbacks as intended originally in Boaz Yakin's original script which showed Frank Castle's back story and his pursuit of Gianni Franco, leading to his wife and daughters being killed and Castle barely surviving and becoming The Punisher. It also established the relationship between him and Jake as partners, and featured a lot more violence and a different ending in which a lot of this material was forced upon to be cut by the MPAA. Director Mark Goldblatt was dismayed with their decision."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (30 Mar 1990)
4 brothers, 4 ninjas, 4 turtles:

  • Donatello (purple mask, weapon: bo staff)

  • Leonardo (blue mask, weapon:  two katanas)

  • Michelangelo (orange mask, weapon: nunchuks, loves pizza, he's the clown)
    Raphael (red mask, weapon: a pair of sai,  the bad boy and the strongest)

This is the origin story of Splinter and the Turtles vs. The Shredder. It's almost like you can't go wrong with TMNT, we love them so much.



Dick Tracy (15 June 1990)
Madonna was a real big deal at the time. "Madonna's in a movie!" As, what else, a singer.  She sang well. The song "Sooner or Later" won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991 for songwriter Stephen Sondheim.

Warren Beatty was great as Dick Tracy. He's Warren Beatty! I absolutely LOVE the skyline and the look of the city. So crazy colorful, so creative, SO comic book.

The costumes, the direction (use of Tracy's silhouette by Director: Warren Beatty), all Movie Magic.

The unforgettable odd characters. Al Pacino screams his way through as villain Big Boy Caprice. So many great actors, great performances: Dustin Hoffman is hilarious as Mumbles, Charles Durning, Colm Meaney, William Forsythe, James Caan. It's hard to not list them all.

Watch: The Making of Dick Tracy, but watch the movie first. Click to watch it on 123Movies


Want more? Read "Dick Tracy was unlike any other movie made in 1990 — and any movie made today" by Todd VanDerWerff @tvoti on



Batman Returns Danny DeVito as Penguin Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman



Batman Returns (19 June 1992)
Tim Burton
was back with Michael Keaton, and Danny DeVito as  Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. This movie even had Christopher Walken!  Danny De Vito was perfect. Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubens) played Penguin's father.


I liked Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. Her costume seems very Tim Burton!  Watch her here as she makes mince meat of legendary stuntman Henry Kingi, Sr.



The Phantom (7 June 1996)

Batman & Robin (20 June 1997)
Starring George Clooney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

Spawn (1 August 1997)
You could hardly tell it was Michael Jai-White. I remember thinking, at the time, if only people could see more of him, his career would have been boosted by this role.

Urban Action Showcase Film Festival 2017 celebrates Michael Jai White and the 20th Anniversary of Spawn: Nov. 11th, 2017, starting at 10 a.m! They'll be taking over the entire 4th floor of AMC Empire 25 theater in Times Square, plus 3 state of the art movie theaters (9,10,11)! With screenings of Spawn, 5 Deadly Venoms, Equilibrium (15th Anniversary), and Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater . General admission is only $30, grab your passes here.


Blade (21 August 1998)
This series is underrated. Wesley Snipes is amazing!

X-Men (14 July 2000)

Blade II (22 March 2002)

Spider-Man (3 May 2002)

X-Men 2: X-Men United (Release Date)

Hulk (Release Date)

Hellboy (Release Date)

The Punisher (Release Date)

Blade: Trinity (Release Date)

Fantastic Four (Release Date)

Iron Man (2 May 2008)
"My turn."
The Robert Downey Jr. Show.  So 'every guy's' fantasy of who they'd like to be: Batman . . . only better? LOL So many toys. So much fun! What would The Avengers be without him?!  They stretch the boundaries of 'coolness' with the ultimate "cool guys don't look at explosions" scene and then they take everything away from him so he can show us what he's made of. From someone with all the Boy Toys to becoming a toy himself, Stark becomes a Superhero using his own ingenuity. Robert Downey Jr. is the main reason Marvel is so popular and The Avengers movies are so good. The source material is great and they do a lot with it!

the first Iron Man mask

The Incredible Hulk (13 June 2008)

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (11 July 2008)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Release Date)

Iron Man 2 (Release Date)

Thor (Release Date)

X-Men: First Class (Release Date)

Captain America: The First Avenger (Release Date)

The Avengers (Release Date)

The Amazing Spider-Man (3 July 2012)
The Amazing Spider-Man was a very good movie. You really felt for the character of Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield did a great job of making it believable.  When he used his web-slinging powers and went for a swing through the City, I remember thinking "How do they do that?"  Movies have gone beyond our wildest imagination in what they can make seem real. The only time I noticed reality versus CGI was here and there with the lizard (and mainly just from a distance). They did a great job with that as well.  The face and the fact that it could speak were hilarious but frightening!  Imagine Godzilla with eyes like that and speaking to us. 

Overall, the movie was perfectly paced. It never dragged. It never lost the suspension of disbelief. I absolutely loved Martin Sheen and Sally Field.  It was very heartfelt, and because it was so well done, I didn't really mind that there so much story/drama in the beginning before the Action started.  We needed to know the character's story first.  I think because this was Andrew Garfield's first leading role, we accepted him more as Spider-Man and were willing to give him a chance. I'm a big fan of the unknown actor for major roles (as opposed to the major star 'vehicle').

This movie reminded me what it is to be human, and how important imagination is.  It gave an amazing sense of home and family, and I never minded the romance (compared, for example, to the romance in Zombieland, which brought the movie to a screeching halt like a wrong turn).  I felt the movie was properly focused on Spider-Man and the villain was minimal.  I loved that there were a lot of comic-book-style poses and moments that seemed like rapidly turning pages.  And although they did it quickly, they also did a great job of showing his progression of learning how to use his powers and tools.  I would see it again.  Emma Stone was cute in personality, and, of course, looks. She was girl-y (young, innocent) but intelligent and brave. She risked her life, but obeyed her father. Her character really fit the story. It allowed Peter to be more of a hero. The ending sequence (which they showed in the preview) of the tower apparatus falling would have been so much more impactful if they didn't reveal it.  I swear I am going to stop watching previews!  Here is Peter baby-stepping his swinging abilities.  I can't praise the movie enough for capturing the feeling of an ordinary guy becoming a superhero, and taking us all along for the wild ride!

The Wolverine Silver Samurai at ComicConThe Wolverine (26 July 2013)
Hugh Jackman is so good as "The Wolverine" that he brings the excitement of the comic book character to life. As far as 'comic book movies' go, this is what Action Movie Freaks want. We want someone who looks the part—who's ripped to the point of exaggeration. We want those dramatic comic-book camera angles and creative #popyacolor color palettes, and this movie gives us all that. Read more . . .

(Here is the incredible Silver Samurai robot on display at ComicCon.)


Action Movie SUBGENRES

Fellow Freaks 

87Eleven Action Design | Chad Stahelski + David Leitch
The Action Elite  Eoin Friel
Action Fanatix
ActionFest  (please bring it back . . . ) | Aaron Norris, Bill Banowsky, Dennis Berman
Action Reloaded  | Jeff Turner
Alex in Wonderland | Female Action Films/Girls WIth Guns list
AvP Central
AllOuttaBubbleGum  | Brenton Haysom + Tyler Hanson
  Artemis Women in Action Film Festival
Black Ops | Toys
  City on Fire
Exploding Helicopter
Explosive Action
Headquarters 10 | Matthew Kiernan
  Herve Attia
IMCDb Internet Movie Cars Database
IMFDb Internet Movie Firearms Database
IMPDb Internet Movie Plane Database
Iron Dragon TV Action Fest
John J. Rambo
Kain's Korner/Kain's Quest | Brenton Haysom
The London Action Festival  Year 2: June 21-25, 2023
Magnolia Pictures
Man In Hat  | Peter Kaplowski
Fandango Movie Clips
Outlaw Vern
Poisonous Monkeys
Predator The Hunted
Rantbo's Repository Ty Guy on Letterboxd | Ty Hanson
Ric Meyers
The Riddick Archive
Screen Junkies
Stallone Zone
The Stunt Pod

Xombie Dirge
Star Store
zeroplate at CHUD


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