5 Best Comic Book-Movie Adaptations Ever Made

Posted on: April 8th, 2013

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In today’s Hollywood Superhero movies are a dime a dozen. You can safely expect at least 2 of the 5 major summer tentpole movies (if not more) to be of the Superhero genre, and hey I’m not complaining.

Pre-CGI revolution and the gaming explosion of the 90′s this was not always the case, though it’s safe to say that cinema goer trends, along with general culture have now developed a taste for the ‘super’ since everybody can now safely revel in their love of all things nerdy without the fear of wedgies or getting referred to by Jocks as ‘Yo Nerdlinger!’.

Now superhero movies may be prolific, but a superhero movie and a faithful adaptation of  said comic-book hero(es) are two entirely different things. The two aren’t on screen incompatible, but Hollywood has a tendency to repackage original comic book products and tweak them slightly in order to make them more palatable to a larger audience. Cinema representations of origin stories, character interpretations and ‘power sets’ are a treated a wee bit more liberally when it comes to how they’ll be viewed on the big screen by the newly ‘nerded’ public. Which is why Burton’s Batman had a very un-Batman-like gun packing Batmobile, Louis Leterrier’s Hulk couldn’t jump miles in a single bound and was mainly grounded, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man had organic web-shooters and Marc Webb’s Peter Parker was  less Amazing Spider-Man and more amazing emo douche-bag.

There’s been numerous other inconsistencies that were definitely for the worse perpetrated on certain fan beloved franchises; the X-Men movies are riddled with inconsistencies, the Spider-Man films and the Batman films whether they be Burton or Nolan give an entirely comic book inconsistent representation of Bat’s (which isn’t a bad thing), and despite Hugh Jackman’s best efforts, Wolverine is in need of some serious redemption after being softened up by Gavin Hood for the Kiddies, and let’s not even get started on how there’s now 2 radically different versions of Sabretooth.

But alas, we’re not here to gripe about the inconsistent. We’re here to look at adaptations that not only elated the cinema going public and critics, but silenced the ever moaning fan boys (like me) by being solid adaptations of the comics they were based on, while at the same time pulling off the double whammy as damn good films:


5. Kick-Ass

Mark Millars Kick-Ass, much like Wanted beforehand, was a pedestrianized look at Superheroes that took Stan Lee’s accessible ‘heroes with flaws’ mandate from the 60′s and applied it to the 21st century. And while films like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 were undoubtedly the better example of a superhero movie, Matthew Vaughan’s Kick-Ass gives, for the first two acts at least, an almost direct translation of Millar’s comic book. And those two acts are captivating for the sheer ‘cringe factor’ involved in watching Kick-Ass’  Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) put himself in deadly situations as a wannabe vigilante that can only end one way: badly, for him.

Enter pre-pubescent kill sensation Hitgirl (Chole Moretz) and Kick-Ass becomes a different movie. A more ‘social justice’ oriented, satisfying one. And while Dave is elevated ever so slightly from the loserdom that defined him in the comics, and the last act of the film is OTT action pornography that abandons the grimness of Dave’s life and a palpably conceivable blood bath in favor of something that’ll leave audiences with a s**t eating grin, the characters and indeed the plot of this film are more or less intact when the credits roll.

The soundtrack is also notable in it’s ability to give you ‘the rush’.


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  • Roxtaf

    Ahh a place that agree with me on dredd. that movie ROCKS ! at every corner on all levels !
    It is a shame it got so underrated, one can only hope something happens to make them see they need to make more “a day in the life” type dredd movies. I realy dont need the “civilization hangs in the balance” type stuff from the old movie

  • VanosOfManos

    Dredd is fantastic. I remember being seriously apprehensive about it when they first released set pics of the Lawmaster and thinking “this looks abysmal”. I was very happy with the way it turned out, it’s definitely one of the best comic adaptations ever. It saddens me that we’ll probably never get a sequel.

  • DanYah

    Ahhhh Hellboy?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Fix06 Mark McCann

      Hellboy wasn’t a bad comic book movie, but it was nowhere near the adaptation of Mignola’s Seeds of Destruction that it could have been. I like Del Toro’s stuff, but I always thought he’d, ironically considering his niche, missed the darkness that came with the Hellboy comics and overplayed the humor. The first film is also marred by the inclusion of a human ‘everyman’ who introduces us to the cast and needlessly complicates the plot, as opposed to just dropping us in the deep end with Hellboy and Co. and expecting the audience to just ‘keep up’

  • bibleverse1

    Good list

  • rvernon

    Dredd gave me new hope. That movie rocks on so many levels. Only regret was the director/screenplay writer didn’t delve deeper into Ma Ma’s psyche. Meh, still damn good.

  • http://twitter.com/WeaponX8118 Nathan Putzman

    This is the best of this kind of list I have seen. I agree with The Crow 100%! I always feel its left out for these types of lists. It is the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.james.9674 Frankie James

    A fine list,I agree with all except for the Crow(sorry) swap that for Dark Knight Returns cartoon.