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My Top Comic Book Movies Of All Time

Updated on April 27, 2012
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As a total comic book geek and lover of movies, there's a lot of criteria and expectations I have concerning a comic book character being translated to the screen. I know and admit that's it's no easy task. It's actually a daunting one, having to appeal to the superheroes hard core fans and audiences who are less than knowledgeable about the character in the comics.

Still, some comic book movies hit the right chord. They masterfully captured the comic book essence and thrilled fans with a great script, great casting, great action, and great vision for how each film would visually be seen and told as genuinely possible.

There's a lot more than just "Bang," "Pow," and "Bam," that goes into making a great comic book movie. At least, there is to me, and there better be a great story/script involved as well. Here are my top picks and best comic movies of all time. Oh, and this really is in no particular order. Just my best of all time.

Superman: The Movie (Original)

Okay, I'm going to date myself here, and to not include the very first and original Superman movie that I can remember would be a crime. No, this isn't Superman Returns for some of you youngins.

This is the original movie with Christopher Reeves as Clark Kent and Superman (So far the best and only Superman), Marlon Brando as his father Jor-El, and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor (Still the best Lex).

Even though we may look down on the special effects they had then today, when I was a kid, the special effects in the first Superman movie was amazing. Yes, I was blown away at how they made it look like he could fly.

Still, this movie captured my imagination as a kid. Yes, I did clip towels around my neck like capes and ran around pretending I could fly like Supes. Any kid who didn't do that when that movie came out missed out on being a kid.

With a definite affinity for the first Superman movie, what did I think about Superman Returns? Shameless and dull. Wow, sorry, even though I love Kevin Spacey, he wasn't even close to Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.

Yes, Gene Hackman was even more slimier as Lex Luthor and even more funny than the great Spacey who played one of the best villains in movie history ever - Kaiser Soze. Christopher Reeves was the perfect Clark Kent and transitioned so easily from a bumbling fool to one of the most powerful superheroes ever created in comic book history.

Now with DC comics and Time Warner coming out with the new Superman flick Man of Steel in 2013, I hope they can make that re-boot stack up to the original. Notice I didn't say better. I said, "Stack up."

Russel Crowe as Jor-El? Really? Marlon Brando was and is a legend in movies, definitely worthy enough to play the father of Kal-El (Superman) in my eyes. I'm not so keen on Russel Crowe playing such a coveted and respected character in comic history. As you can see, I'm not such a Russel Crowe fan.

This new reboot has some big shoes to fill, as many, many, many comic fans hold this movie pretty dear to their hearts. At least from my generation.

The Dark Knight

Can anyone even deny that Christopher Nolan did an amazing job capturing the darker and grittier side of the Batman comics. I believe he did, and while growing up, I read the darker Batman tales in such comics as The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns.

This is the Batman I wanted to see and waited to see. Sure, don't get me wrong. I did like the original Batman movie starring Michael Keaton, and I thought Jack Nicholson was an amazing Joker. Still, the older generation who grew up on the campier Batman comics might prefer the original Batman movie to The Dark Knight.

However, I don't. The Dark Knight was absolutely amazing, and I do have to say that Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker is, indeed, the most frightening and realistic. I love it, and it brought out The Joker that I remember in comics - totally sadistic but intelligently insane. Two very scary ingredients.

But even with Heath Ledger's performance, Christian Bale absolutely captures the tortured, conflicted, and darker Bruce Wayne perfectly. The casting is dead on. Christopher Nolan's vision and understanding of the other side to this character was dead on.

Absolutely brilliant is this movie! There is no other words to describe it. Just brilliant!

The Crow

I actually didn't even know this movie was based off a comic book until after it came out in theaters, and I don't even think I saw it in theaters.Most likely, I rented it on VHS (once again I'm putting a date stamp on myself.)

However, this movie was captivating, and completely captured that 90s dark and gritty vibe. It was quite brooding, and Brandon Lee's performance in The Crow was captivating and awesome.

The whole look of The Crow was cool, as a film. Sure, the story is simple and it's not exactly cutting-edge cinematography, but there's no doubt that you'll be rooting for the main character the whole way. The story may be on the darker side, but it does have heart.

This is absolutely one of my favorite movies without even knowing it was a comic book to begin with, so now you know there's no biased opinion here.

To be honest, I still haven't read the comic. If you've yet to see the very first The Crow movie, you are definitely missing out on a simple yet very intriguing and dark character that will mesmerize you in his single-minded pursuit of vengeance.

I just wished I had seen it in the theaters when it was first released.

Iron Man

To date, I still think this is the best movie Marvel has put out to yet! I've always thought that an Iron Man movie would just be friggin' awesome, and when CGI technology was becoming big in movies, I thought and wondered if Iron Man would hit the silver screen.

When I got wind that they were going to do an Iron Man movie, I had no doubt it was going to be awesome. This movie I did see in theaters...IMAX to be exact...and it completely blew me away. Robert Downey Jr. just captured Tony Stark's arrogant demeanor perfectly. All the special effects were cutting-edge and mind-blowing. The script and story was well-written, and as a comic fan, I didn't sit there and nit picked it to death like I did with the first X-Men movie.

I just enjoyed the ride, and what a ride the first Iron Man movie is. Truly one of my top comic movies of all time and for good reason. I hope the character of Iron Man is used correctly in The Avengers movie, but with Tony Stark being how he is, I'm sure he'll be the cause for quite a bit of head-butting with Thor, Cap, and Hawkeye.

Also, I'm anticipated a toe-toe scrap between Iron Man and The Hulk in The Avengers flick. I sure hope that happens. I think a lot of comic fans want to see that.

If you haven't seen Iron Man yet, you should. You may not love it as much as I do, but I know you'll at least enjoy it.

Sin City

Who can ever deny that Frank Miller's Sin City was a gritty delight. The movie captured the comic book perfectly and I loved how the movie used actual cinematography to actually make certain scenes look like a comic book.

Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! The visual look was wonderful, and the story and the way it transitioned was incredible.I loved all the main characters different storylines, and if that isn't a comeback performance by Mickey Rourke, I don't know what is. He was great as Marv...perfect and nobody couldn't have done that role better.

The movie kept you on the edge of your seat. The film was so different looking than anything anyone ever saw before.

All the actors in it gave great performances. Clive Owen and Bruce Willis give great performances. Even the villains were enjoyable to watch such as Benicio Del Torro, Elijah Wood as a creepy, whacked-out cannibal, and Nick Stahl as Yellow Bastard, who creeped me out yet made me laugh at the same time.

Of course, I loved seeing Rosario Dawson as an extremely tough yet sexy, ass kicking hooker of "Old Town," but I still think the spotlight performance was Mickey Rourke.

The chemistry just worked so well on that film. However, what you can expect from Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller having a huge hand in how the film was shot? Also, guest directed by - Quentin Tarantino?

With those three having their hands in the cookie jar, the only thing you can expect is the making of a whole lot of brilliance.

I love this film, and just as a film. Not as a comic book movie, but just as a good film. The fact it's based off the comic character created by Frank Miller just makes it that much more cooler for me.

Kick Ass

The hilarity of this movie kept me rolling in the seats, and the concept of the comic book about some guy without any powers nor fighting skills wanting to be a superhero was absolutely brilliant to me.

And just like the comic book, the movie was brilliant, funny, yet with major kick ass action. With a title like Kick Ass, you better deliver on that part, right? Of course, it does, and Hit-Girl stole the show for me in that movie.

It was funny to see this 10 year old little girl who could kick mucho butt, and the crude, shocking things that would come out of her mouth that bordered between just wrong but too funny not to laugh. Chloƫ Grace Moretz, you did an incredible job.

I even liked Nicolas Cage's performance in this film as Big Daddy.

Even the dynamic between baddies John Genovese and his son who ends up becoming Red Mist is hilarious and enjoyable to watch. Great cast, great story, a great script, and a great vision for the film by director Mathew Vaughn.

300

Once again a movie based off a Frank Miller graphic novel is on this list of best comic movies ever, and is it such a surprise? No, not really.

This is another movie I saw in IMAX and it was phenomenal. As with Sin City, the cinematography gave this movie a completely fresh and unique look, and the effects were awesome.

I loved the part when Leonidas (Gerald Butler) breaks away from the phalanx and starts spearing and cutting down the Persian troops. How the action slows and then speeds up just right before each fatal blow is administered with Spartan love.

The story, as with the comic, is completely top notch, and I like how the movie is genuine to the comic and Frank Miller's style of story telling. This is just a kick ass movie, even if I hadn't of known it was based off a comic book.

The fighting is intense, and the visual look and feel of the movie is just amazing. Lot's of wonderful movie magic and effects, and strange creatures you wouldn't expect to see in old Greek times. Then again, how else would the Greeks view the Persians during The Battle of Thermopylae around 480 BC!

Even though loosely based off of history, I think the mindset of the time was captured, and the over-glorifying and extreme valor didn't hinder the film. It only added to the wonderful intensity of the story and movie. The actors give great performances and are incredibly believable. Never once do you question whether the actors are truly Spartans bred to be single-minded warriors in the pursuit of a glorious battle.

I can truly say I've seen this movie about 50 times, and I never tire of it. The story and actors draw you in and don't let you go. Oh, yes, and if you like the movie, the graphic novel is just as awesome!

Hellboy

I didn't see this film in the theaters, but, nevertheless, I loved it on DVD. Besides, I've loved Mike Mignola's work ever since reading the graphic novel Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. If you don't know who Mike Mignola is, he's a famous comic book artist and the creator of the Hellboy character and comic.

Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as Hellboy. He's just amazing in the role and really brings out the character's macho wit. Doug Jones also does an amazing job playing Abe Sapien.

Selma Blair? What can I say? I have a total crush on Selma Blair. I loved the dynamic of the characters in this movie and the story was good enough to entertain. How can you go wrong with Nazi's trying to take over the world through supernatural means?

However, it was the witty dynamic between the characters that really glued this movie together. A great mix of funny and action. The special effects are great...nothing really too spectacular but the performances in this movie are stellar.

Guillermo del Toro definitely does the comic book and Hellboy character justice with this movie.


Superman II

The 1980 sequel to the original Superman: The Movie is probably one of the very, very, very few sequels I think that beats the original movie. Giving Superman and Clark Kent even more depth was really what made this sequel work.

It's also what made Superman Returns a total disappointment. Why? Because what we saw in Superman Returns is already what we saw in Superman: The Movie.

What we really wanted to see was what Superman II provided. First, we felt for Clark's conflict about wanting to be human so he could be with Lois. That was believable, but the great thing were the main villains in this movie.

Yes, Gene Hackman did reprise the role of Lex Luthor and was great, but the film would've honestly bomb if all we saw was Superman beating up on Lex Luthor again. No, Superman II had a villain that could go toe-toe with Supes himself - General Zod!

Wait did I just say only one villain that could go toe-to-toe with Supes? Richard Donner ups the ante and gives Superman triple the threat. Yes, three Kryptonians, led by General Zod, who are hell-bent on vengeance against the son of Jor-El for his father imprisoning them in the Phantom Zone.

Of course, they escape and find themselves on earth, granted with the same powers from our sun that Superman has. Terrence Stamp gave a great performance as General Zod! Actually, he will forever be known as General Zod in my eyes.

His two cronies Ursa and Non were also great. Actually, Ursa was just sexy hot, played Sarah Douglas, and Non, played by Jack O'Halloran, was good comic relief. It was amusing seeing Non try to master his new powers.

The eventual battle between Superman and his Kryptonian enemies has a large part to do with why this sequel outdoes the original. The greater the antagonists test our hero's metal, the greater the hero will appear and be.

Superman II captures this, and even though the special effects are really outdated and not as spectacular as they are in Superman Returns, the story, the conflict, and the chemistry of the characters are just...well...superb!

Loved this movie as a kid, and it I still love it! One of the best for sure!

Hellboy II The Golden Army

A sequel that I believe stacks up to the original, and Guillermo del Toro gives Hellboy The Golden Army a Pan's Labyrinth visual appeal. I did like Pan's Labyrinth by the way.

Once again the dynamic of the movies characters are astounding and hilarious. Ron Perlman gives another great performance, and his conflict with Liz (Selma Blair) is easy to relate to for anyone in a relationship.

I loved the back story between the elves and humans of old, and this adds to the mystique of the whole Golden Army that's later revealed in a kick ass climatic confrontation. The humor in this movie is also witty and non-obtrusive. It's easily gotten and never forced. It's perfect.

The action sequences are great, and the special effects gets a bit bolder from the first movie. However, special effects are great and all, but a good story and great performances from the cast really makes a movie shine. Hellboy II The Golden Army delivers without disappointment, and I still watch it and enjoy it over and over again.

Actually, I think I'm going to pop it in right now and enjoy it again.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Completely quirky, hilarious, and I think absolutely brilliant! I heard nothing but good things about this movie when it first hit theaters, but lame old me didn't drop the money to see it in theaters. I actually Netflixed this movie after my brother told me to watch it.

No, I didn't read the comic, nor ever heard of it until after the movie came out. Hey, I'm a comic geek, but I'm not entirely on the ball all the time. Who is?

Anyways, I thought this movie was original and great. I got it immediately and loved how they incorporated the whole video game aspect in each fight scene. The story was also unconventional but friggin' great. No awesome. No amazing.

Just like SIn City, I've never seen a movie done like this. I especially like the "bass off" part of the movie, where Scott has a bass guitar competition with his love interests ex.

This is a great light-hearted, entertaining movie with great special effects, action, and script. It may not be your traditional comic book movie, but it's well worth seeing.

Actually, it's one of my favorites which is why it's on this list.

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    • rednickle profile image

      rednickle 5 years ago from New Brunswick Canada

      Interesting list but somehow i didn't fancy kiss ass movie the same way i fancied the comic.

      Cheers

    • Chris Qu profile image

      Chris Qu 5 years ago

      No Spider-Man 2? Seriously? I'm flabbergasted. In fact, I'm flabbergasted enough to actually use that word for the first time in my life. The movies you picked were good, but it seems incomplete without Spidey.

      I'm also surprised that X2, and Batman Begins were left out.

    • rabbit75 profile image
      Author

      rabbit75 5 years ago

      Spider-Man 2....eh...didn't care much for it...as for the X-Men trilogy...don't even get me started on that one...they royally messed up the whole X-Men universe in terms of time lines...characters...Rogue doesn't even have a southern accent...nor did Colossus have a Russian accent. Juggernaut looked lame in X2, as well as they messed up his storyline as well.

      Talk about flabbergasted...that's how I felt after watching the X-Men movies@! Nope they stay off "MY TOP COMIC MOVIES" of all time.

    • Cammiebar profile image

      Cammiebar 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Sorry Chris Qu, but I'm agreeing with rabbit75. Spiderman was my favorite American comic of all time, but the movies fell way short of what it was. And all the X-men were just . . . terrible.

      I'm really glad that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World made the list, though! It was so original and if you can, you need to read the comics. They are really well done and include the same video-game vibe as the movie. It's awesome.

    • rabbit75 profile image
      Author

      rabbit75 5 years ago

      Cammiebar thanks for your input, and, of course, Scott Pilgrim made the list...it really was a great film. I'll have to check up on the comic for sure. You know what, Cammiebar? You are cool!

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