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The Movie Like I Am Number Four That Sci-Fi Fans Need To See

As many a movie lover might recall, the late-2000s and early 2010s were a complicated time at the multiplex, largely because most theaters were overrun with young adult properties looking to cash in on the runaway success of 2008's romantic tween vampire fable "Twilight." If you'll allow the indulgence, we'll call this largely unfortunate turn of events "The Twilight Effect." We'll also note that quite a few of the films the said effect spawned were arguably little more than uninspired cash grabs dressed up in blockbuster bombast. And as it was, most of those post-"Twilight" young adult offerings (including its own sequels) were very forgettable.

Some of those sci-fi-tinged YA projects were actually a lot of fun, though. One of those was 2011's "I Am Number Four," which didn't fare well with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but did better than average in theaters (via Box Office Mojo) before almost entirely fading from consciousness in the past decade. Still, those in search of a clever, pseudo-superhero fantasy fit with all the angsty trappings of young adult fiction could do a lot worse than revisiting this tale of a super-powered teen (Alex Pettyfer) being hunted down by nefarious alien beings bent on ridding the universe of him and the other eight other powered beings who now call Earth home.

If that plot sounds at all intriguing, you might even consider going all-in on a double-feature, pairing "I Am Number Four" with a sci-fi fantasy about powered people desperate to escape dire fates. If you're looking for a similarly-themed film with a touch less young adult angst, 2009's wildly underrated super-powered action flick "Push" definitely fits the bill.  

Push is a solid spiritual second cousin to I Am Number Four

Don't feel too bad if you've never heard of "Push." Not many people saw the movie when it hit theaters in February of 2009, and it's essentially been forgotten by the masses over the years. "Push" has, however, landed on the radar of die-hard fans of Chris Evans' "Captain America," many of whom have sought out his every film since he first suited up for the MCU. In doing so, they found out 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger" was not Evans' first foray into the superhero realm.

In fact, one of his biggest early roles came in 2005's forgettable "Fantastic Four." A few years later, however, Evans portrayed a very different sort of superhero, appearing in the gritty, low-key actioner "Push" as Nick, a telekinetic ex-pat hiding out in Hong Kong from a clandestine government agency bent on capturing and/or killing folks like him. Turns out there are quite a few people like Nick in the world, all sporting labels like "Pusher," Watcher," or "Mover" based on their abilities. When Nick is approached by a "Watcher" named Cassie (Dakota Fanning) and enlisted to help her find a powerful "Pusher" named Kira (Camilla Belle), he enters into a perilous adventure that pits him against the powerful agent (Djimon Honsou) who murdered his father. 

Laying the plot of "Push" out sans spoilers is no easy feat, but the film has twists aplenty for anyone who seeks it out. It also boasts some seriously impressive set pieces with director Paul McGuigan ("Sherlock") delivering a taut thriller rife with intense human drama, slick special effects, and more uncorked imagination than your average Marvel flick. It also features one of Evans' better performances, delivered well before he became one of the biggest stars in the Marvel galaxy.