Superhero movies have become so saturated in modern culture, it's easy to forget there are narratives involving characters with superpowers that don’t fit into that popular sub-genre. Even without containing the expected tropes of the superhero genre, these films often share similar story elements. The most significant of these is a character with a special gift or ability distinguishing them from others. Sometimes they are the only ones with superhuman skills, while other times there are opposing forces or individuals with the same powers.
Some superhero narratives approach the subject non-traditionally, with more realism or subtlety than usual. Unbreakable initially presents the superpowers ambiguously and Chronicle depicts them in a found-footage format, but both are still framed with superhero terms and tropes. On the other hand, these films have few official connections to the sub-genre beyond the remarkable abilities the characters possess. Some of them were made before the popularity of superhero films had exploded in pop culture, while others intentionally avoid similarities. Even when the reason for a character’s superhuman abilities has similar explanations, such as being an alien or the subject of scientific experiments, the narratives take a distinctly different path from traditional superhero films.