If you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching a good bit more television than normal since the whole world has been locked away in this COVID-19 quarantine. I’ve watched a lot of stuff, and I’ve found a few hidden gems that I’d like to share. Here are three films which are not X-Men movies, but absolutely could be. I’m referring to them as “Off-Brand” X-Men movies.
These three films all have a similar theme: individuals with special powers who are forced into hiding because the powers that be want to suppress them, want to study them, or are afraid of them. They’re all a bit more artsy and less action-focused than the X-Men films, but they’ve all got that fear-of-mutants thing going on. Aside from that, I’ll try to keep my descriptions vague so as to not spoil things. I should also mention before beginning that none of these are really appropriate for kids.
When I think of off-brand X-Men movies, the first thing that generally comes to mind for me is 2016’s Midnight Special. It’s now available for streaming on Hulu, and it’s worth your time. Adam Driver isn’t the lead in the movie, but he’s truly excellent.
In Midnight Special, a cult forms around a child with abilities. While the child’s parents rush to fulfill what they see as his destiny, the FBI moves to investigate what they view as a national security threat.
Another movie which shares a lot of DNA with Midnight Special is Fast Color, which I only recently saw. This movie, taking place in a drought-stricken future dystopia, deals with a lineage of black women who all have abilities. After years on the run, a young woman is forced to return home both in an attempt to gain control of her abilities and to find peace. Fast Color stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Straithairn. You can steam it now on Hulu.
The Netflix original movie Freaks is something different from the previous two. I wasn’t sure at first whether it was a horror film. I didn’t know who to trust, or whether any of the characters in the film were secretly evil or just insane. It all becomes clear by the end, but the film is quite a journey.
So what are your thoughts? Have you seen any of these movies? Do you have any to add to the “Off-Brand X-Men movies” category?