There is no arguing that this is the Golden Age of Superhero movies but there are plenty of other heroes than didn’t originate in the pages of DC and Marvel. Before superheroes and super-powers, there were heroes of a different kind, usually from the pulp-books, newspaper strips or radio serials in the 50s and 60s. Plenty of these heroes have been forgotten but some are in need of a reboot.
Many of the heroes mentions have had films before but most were either long enough ago to warrant another or so poor the first time that they need to be done properly;
Warren Beatty brought the comic strip detective from the 1950s to life and very well. It was played for laughs and very lighthearted but maybe a darker, serious and less tongue-in-cheek Dick Tracy would really work. His characters were always larger than life but a more Noir setting could really work for the classic detective.
Sgt Rock has had many different, failed attempts to come to the big screen. He is technically a DC hero but has been absent from the comics long enough not to be completely associated with the superheroes that dominate today. A muscle-bound, Nazi fighting WW2 soldier could be worth exploring, with some crazy missions and large set-pieces to really sell the fantastic elements.
There is no beating the classic movie of 1980 so don’t try. Flash Gordon should never be played seriously but bringing the polo/football player space-adventurer up-to-date feels overdue. The effects could sell a great movie, with plenty of action, a grand-adventure and a foot firmly in the cheesy-camp.
Quatermain feels long-overdue a comeback to the screen. The last person to play the explorer was Sean Connery in the failed League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. That didn’t do the character justice, as he is a great English hunter who often finds himself dabbling with the supernatural. It can be scary or fantastical or played for straight drama but a movie could work very well.
There is a lot of people who love the 1994 movie starring Alec Baldwin and although it has harsh critics, there is a lot to like about it. It manages to capture the darker tone of The Shadow and although he is more superhero than straight-man, he never feels like a fantasy character. Bringing a spooky, supernatural 1950s gangster film to the screen could breathe new life into a classic hero.
Overall, five heroes who could all benefit from a big-screen reboot. There is plenty of potential and backstories to mine for the characters, all of which could be fun, big adventure movies. Let me know if there is any others you think I’ve missed.