With the global domination of movies based on Marvel and DC properties, it’s often easy to forget that there are indeed superhero flicks that hail from neither of these industry giants. And yet, for every Spider-Man or Batman movie, there’s generally a Captain Underpants or Sharkboy or Super Ex-Girlfriend hovering somewhere around the margins.

Depending on your definition of  a superhero movie — and it is indeed a mutable definition — the earliest films in this genre appeared even before Marvel and DC came into existence. Those would be the silent Zorro films from the 1920s – swashbuckling adventures ...

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