Published on August 23rd, 2016 | by The Editor


Five Great Comic Book Adaptations

The idea of a Comic book movie can be a blanket term that doesn’t always mean heroes in tights: here are five really great adaptations.

Look at Hollywood these days and you’ll see that superhero adaptations have captured the zeitgeist of pop culture. Major studios are looking to develop their own universes trying to break the $1 billion mark with each franchise.

Of course, “comic book movie” is a big blanket term and doesn’t always mean adventures about heroes in tights. Stories of crime, fantasy, and drama have all been brought to life in comics, so there’s more than one way for filmmakers to make a comic book film.

We compiled a list of some of the best adaptations from comic books — some of them about heroes in tights, some not.


Before Marvel, Fox, and Warner Brothers launched their own franchises, director Richard Donner proved that superhero movies had an appeal that went beyond the comic book reader and could be something that everyone could enjoy. After all, it’s not every day you get to see a man fly. Christopher Reeve proved to be the perfect Superman, embodying the All-American values that make him such a beloved figure. Superman was a blockbuster that took the material seriously (but still had fun with it) — it served up the best kind of cinematic escapism.


Men in Black

Armed with a script that was equal parts creativity and humour, Men in Black pushed into the stratosphere thanks to the brilliant pairing of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The duo gave new life to the buddy cop formula, with a clashing mouthy versus grumpy personalities. Director Barry Sonnenfeld was also wise to give Tommy Lee Jones’ a subplot that involved him yearning for a long lost love, as it gave the character an extra dimension that turned him into a real person. That made the other-worldly hijinks a little more relatable. It’s rare for a comedy to have such rich character arcs, and Sonnenfeld pulled it off in spades.

Road to Perdition

After he Took the Oscars by storm with American Beauty, director Sam Mendes’ followed up with Road to Perdition. Mendes has a talent for the visual language of film, and this movie is a great example of vision. Road to Perdition is a truly beautiful movie to look at. Hard to believe it was only Mendes’ second feature film.

And beyond that, A-lister Tom Hanks played a different kind of role than he’s usually known for, a mob hit man. Hanks showed subtle range by blending dramatic chops with.  The bond that Hanks’ Mike Sullivan had with his son gave this crime film an element that was Spielbergian in its execution.


Spider-man 2

We’ll see how the new Spider-man fares when Homecoming is released next year, but in the 2000s (before Spider-man 3), the webslinger was at the top of his game with director Sam Raimi at the helm. Spider-man 2 is largely still considered one of the best comic book adaptations of all time, even so long after its initial release. Peter Parker tries to balance his career and love life with his super hero aspirations in ways that were humourous and heartfelt. And of course, a story is only as good as its bad guy, and Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock was as sympathetic as he was scary. It was a true telling of the Spider-man story — with great power comes great responsibility, and we see how Peter and Doc Ock each struggle with this idea. Spider-man made some great bank for the studio before they tanked the franchise. They even inspired a ton of merchandising, including toys, video games, and online casino games, where you could play for real money with Marvel slot games.

V for Vendetta

I fear for the person who wants to adapt the work of Alan Moore, a god among comic writers, but a devastating curmudgeon as well. V for Vendetta does about a good of a job as you can. With the Wachowskis producing, director James McTeigue was able to craft a visually stunning comic adaptation. But it wasn’t style over substance. V for Vendetta was led by performances by Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman, featuring political subtext that looked at Orwellian themes and the idea of rebelling for freedom. Moore would probably hate it, as he hates most things, but the movie does a decent job of capturing the spirit of the comic.


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