The first Blade movie deftly combined martial arts, action and vampiric horror for a potent bloody cocktail. Wesley Snipes proves an appropriately low-key vampire hunter for the genre, allowing the world around him to be that much more crazy.
Ryan Reynolds took a page from the Ferris Bueller playbook and brought a fourth-wall breaking irreverence to superheroics that hadn't really been seen before, especially with an R-rating.
People tend to forget that the movie that kicked off the modern-day superhero movie as we know it was very much a sci-fi movie. The opening with Marlon Brando as Jor-El on the planet Krypton helped set the stage for Kal-El's abilities, and framed it as a literal alien immigrant story.
The character of Zorro had existed for decades on both the big and small screen, but it was the 1997 Antonio Banderas iteration that finally gave the swashbuckling character the big budget western he deserved.
Director Patty Jenkins may have cut Wonder Woman from the same cloth as Captain America: The First Avenger, but unlike that Marvel World War II film chose not to go the ra ra patriotic route. Instead she portrayed the battlefields of World War I as grim places of desolation and death, with Diana struggling with the literal God of War to end the conflict.
Fantasy is tricky: Go too far in one direction and you having the cartoonish camp of Masters of the Universe, and too far in the other direction you have a grimdark heavy metal album cover. Marvel struck just the right fantasy tone with the first Thor movie, with the second being a little too generic and the third more in the sci-fi comedy vein.
It's surprising how little romance there is in superhero films, with a love story typically relegated to a B-plot. Like the Frank Miller limited series the film took its inspiration from, the love story between Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Mariko (Tao Okamoto) is a driving force in The Wolverine. With as much action as it has it's hard to characterize it as a pure romance movie, but it's the closest major film to the romance genre.
Director Brad Bird understands that family films don't have to mean kiddie films, hence why The Incredibles is perhaps the most intense film Pixar has ever made. It also literally has the idea of family at its core, specifically a family of superheroes learning to embrace their powers.
M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable was such a low-key superhero movie that it was marketed as a supernatural thriller, kind of like its successor Split. Its a great example of what you can do when you ignore genre conventions.
Christopher Nolan looked to Michael Mann's Heat as inspiration for the kind of movie he wanted to make to followup 2005's Batman Begins. What followed was a brilliant crime film about cops (and the Caped Crusader) vs mob enforcers and a wild card terrorist in Heath Ledger's Joker.
Director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis redefined both the superhero and found footage concepts with this movie about three teens who unwittingly gain superpowers and what they would then do with them.
Marvel understands better than any studio that their movies can explore varied genres, and Ant-Man took the heist film to new heights (small heights to be exact). There are three major heist sequences in the film, all staged with breakneck pace and wit.