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So I just watched the teaser trailer to Frozen 2 and while I was getting superhero training vibes from Elsa's interaction with the sea, I realized that this is a musical which got me thinking, has there be a superhero musical movie?

Just to cover the obvious superheroes have been covered as a musical in different formats:

Something tells me there is a Bollywood movie or two that covers the topic, but primarily interested in Western intellectual property.

If there is a straight to video earlier than Dr. Horrible, that would be interesting to know.

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    @closevoters dunno, that doesn't look like a recommendation. Plus we have a meta somewhere about "has there ever been any X" questions being on-topic, so, voted to leave open. – Jenayah Feb 13 at 23:10
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    Once upon a time, there was going to be a Broadway musical about Batman. It never got produced on the stage, much less turned into a film, but Jim Steinman has posted MP3 files of the songs intended for the musical. One good place to find them is freewebs.com/batman_themusical/home.htm – Lorendiac Feb 14 at 1:56
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    Does Flash Gordon count? – Chloe Feb 14 at 2:34
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    Batman doesn't have super powers either (just really cool toys and ninja training), but nobody would argue that he isn't a superhero. – Darrel Hoffman Feb 14 at 14:40
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    @DarrelHoffman Thanks for leading me down the path of defining what a 'superhero' is, leading me to this post which brings up 'Hercules' and 'Tarzan'. So if 'Batman' counts, does 'Zorro' or 'The Shadow' or even 'Sherlock Holmes' count? I'm going to leave the question as is, with the expectation that any answer character has enough "superhero tropes" for the community to be okay with. – Morrison Chang Feb 14 at 16:56
40

Yes. But it's so, so bad.

The Return of Captain Invincible:

The Return of Captain Invincible is a 1983 Australian musical comedy superhero film starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee. It grossed a mere $55,110 at the Australian box office despite a budget of $7 million.

There's a Youtube review:

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    Darn it, I am glad someone remembered this but I so badly wanted to share the classic bit where Christopher Lee sings the drinking song. – Broklynite Feb 14 at 10:28
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    "But it's so-so bad." --I dispute that assertion. The music is by Richard O'Brien of Rocky Horror, and Christopher Lee has never turned in a duff performance, ever. And yes, I AM including the enigmatic Mr. Sender in The Stupids. He LOVED doing comedy. youtube.com/watch?v=meXAVS2vb2o – VBartilucci Feb 14 at 19:18
  • @VBartilucci - I absolutely love that you referenced The Stupids! Agree 100% Christopher Lee is always on point. – BruceWayne Feb 15 at 15:24
  • References in wiki article, with review video, and starring Christopher Lee. Would love to know if something older exists but so far this is the oldest one. – Morrison Chang Feb 24 at 6:41
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There is in fact a Bollywood movie musical about a superhero!

Mr. India

A poor but big-hearted man takes orphans into his home. After discovering his scientist father's invisibility device, he rises to the occasion and fights to save his children and all of India from the clutches of a megalomaniac.

I would actually recommend watching it. It's funny/corny like Dr. Horrible but not too corny (I hate corny). It's actually on YouTube.

YouTube - Mr. India

  • You forgot the awesomeness that was Ajooba – Domo N Car Feb 15 at 18:55
  • Multiple parts of Ra.One also qualify as being a musical. – Cœur Feb 16 at 14:06
  • It's a bit of a misnomer to call Bollywood films musicals just because they have songs... or at least, as this is the case with nearly every mainstream film, it's not a useful/meaningful categorization. Relative to the standard “grammar” of (say) Hollywood films (&theatre), where the characters don't often sing, it makes sense to categorize “musicals” as a separate “dialect”. But in India, the idea has been that (as a satisfying meal has all tastes) a satisfying film should have a bit of everything: including songs. (More here.) – ShreevatsaR Feb 16 at 22:16
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    What I meant to say is, this is a good answer, and by this observation all Bollywood superhero films will count as they're all “musicals” in that sense. :-) Some more here: Category:Indian superhero films#Subcategories. Though honestly, Mr. India (as suggested in this answer) is probably the most enjoyable one. – ShreevatsaR Feb 16 at 22:27
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Not a movie, but a play and then a TV special. From Wikipedia:

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman is a musical composed by Charles Strouse, with lyrics by Lee Adams and book by David Newman and Robert Benton. It is based on the comic book character Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and published by DC Comics.


1966 for the play and about a decade later for the TV adaption.

(It's always been one of those things I am intensely curious but also terrified of ever seeing)

enter image description here

  • I have the CD album and I'm rather fond of it. I've also seen a recording of the TV adaptation. – Lorendiac Feb 14 at 1:50
  • Good to know! Cheers! – Blaze Feb 14 at 2:20
  • !Jack Cassidy! Miles Mellough from The Eiger Sanction. Now there's a different Superman. – Organic Marble Feb 14 at 4:20
  • This one is interesting, may be the one to predate the Spiderman musical and Flash/Supergirl musical. Great find – Morrison Chang Feb 14 at 5:40
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Depending on where you draw the lines for "superhero movie" and "musical", various of the Lego Movies might count. For instance, here's a musical number from Lego Batman.

  • Scifi with dance numbers: every Lego movie. – Mazura Feb 16 at 15:51
16

You could say Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog might be considered a superhero and musical. Though it is a parody (with some good songs), it may not be what you have in mind.

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    Thanks. I had forgot that the term 'movie' is nebulous in the age of Netflix. Updated my question, but good thought! – Morrison Chang Feb 13 at 22:24
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    Dr Horrible was never envisioned as a movie. It's a direct-to-the-web musical show – Valorum Feb 13 at 23:11
  • @Valorum I have only ever watched Dr. Horrible as a movie, and I assume most people are the same. – Kevin Workman Feb 14 at 2:28
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    @Valorum: "movie" is a similarly nebulous term here. I assume you mean "feature film" (I can't think of a better phrase, one might exist), but DrHSAB is a movie in the sense that it is cinematographic. calling it a "musical show" can wrongly be inferred to mean that it was intended as a stage production (I'm aware that "web" implies video, but that's an indirect implication that not everyone is going to immediately register) – Flater Feb 14 at 11:12
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    @Flater "theatrical release"? – origimbo Feb 14 at 12:00
10

There's Disney's animated musical film Hercules. The protagonist wasn't (until the end, at least) a mortal man, but had superhuman strength, and spent a lot of the flick training with a professional "hero trainer" Philoctetes, and in musical bits.

It wasn't billed as a "superhero" movie at the time, but in the 20th century that didn't exactly exist as a defined genre yet, and being a "Disney movie", complete with musical numbers, was probably considered a bigger sales driver.

His origin story in the movie is very similar to Wonder Woman's in the 2017 movie. Both got their powers through being children of Zeus, but were sent to Earth to live as mortals. (Arguably, the original Thor movie had a similar setup as well).

The movie's theatrical release was in 1997.

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    What do you mean "superhero" wasn't a genre yet? By the time 1997 rolled around, we had decades of comics, multiple Batman movies, multiple Superman movies, we had several years of the Power Rangers, whose pilot episode explicitly called them a team of superheroes, and so on... – Mason Wheeler Feb 14 at 22:17
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    @MasonWheeler - I mean a movie genre. At that point there had been a series of 4 Batman films that were ongoing (although the last one was so badly received that the star often joked that he'd killed the franchise), a Superman franchise of 4 that ended on a similar bomb a decade earlier, and perhaps a few one-offs here and there that were either super old, or didn't do very well. Its only looking back at it now where they are being pumped out like westerns that we include such films in the "genre" . – T.E.D. Feb 14 at 22:23
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    I've always considered Disney's Hercules to be Disney's attempt to make a Superman movie. Baby drops in from the heavens on a farm couple, grows up super strong, moves to the big city to be a hero and thaws the heart of a world worn brunette while clashing with a bald schemer... – Xavon_Wrentaile Feb 15 at 5:36
8

Not a movie, but theatre play (whole on youtube).

It's called "Holy Musical B@man!" by Team StarKid (also did the Very Potter Musical)

Youtube - Holy Musical B@man!

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    +1 because it's the best superhero musical there is, though it's not a movie. – Newbie12345 Feb 14 at 16:46
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    I'm very upset with you answering this, because as soon as I saw the title of the question, I was going to post this myself. This is an amazingly good play, tons of great lines, and nearly the entire soundtrack is on my Spotify favorites playlist. Take my +1! :) – Salmononius2 Feb 14 at 17:40
  • The question does specifically ask for a movie, though. If stage shows were included then there are a few of those; "Turn Off the Dark" immediately springs to mind. – Shaggy Feb 15 at 23:44
5

Depending on whether you consider Buffy to be a superhero, and a TV episode to be a movie, possibly Once More with Feeling.

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    OK there's ambiguity between TV episode and movie, but how could anyone claim Buffy is not a superhero? Fights for good? Check. Defeats evil superpowered beings? Check. Has superpowers? Check. – thumbtackthief Feb 14 at 16:19
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    @thumbtackthief I had originally thought of Buffy, but by your definition shouldn't I also include Harry Potter? Personally in my mind I was trying to restrict it to where the hero narrative includes interaction with the wider 'normal' society and interaction with law enforcement/authority of that 'normal' society. Parallel societies push it more into the fantasy realm but its a sliding scale, so I'll leave it to the community to judge. – Morrison Chang Feb 14 at 17:18
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    Harry Potter doesn't have superpowers, and he's no more extraordinary than all the other wizards. – thumbtackthief Feb 14 at 17:34
  • @thumbtackthief No argument here, but opinions do vary. And Buffy's superpowers are fairly muted as those things go. I mean, she can't even fly. – Faheem Mitha Feb 14 at 19:05
  • Without Harry's wand, he's basically useless. Whereas Buffy.... bit.ly/2Xcalfc – thumbtackthief Feb 14 at 19:10
1

The Hungarian-Canadian cartoon Cat City from 1986 could qualify, as it features many musical inserts and the protagonist has abilities that are, while not strictly superpowers, definitely above those of the normal mice: folding his tail to the shape of a key, cutting a ship's rope with his teeth, using his tail as a propeller to cross an ocean, bending an arm-wide metal pipe into U shape, memorizing multiple pages of technical drawings in seconds, etc.

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