Swish! Bam! Pow! Our list of the best comic-book movies ever

  • Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 13, 2015 16:00 IST
Are these the best mainstream superhero films ever? (Twitter)

Comic Con, that glorious mecca/paradise/haven for all the misfit geeks of the world is well underway. And it hasn't disappointed. Every year witnesses a significant growth in the turn-out to the mega-event, and every year nudges this subculture into worldwide prominence.

The communal gathering at San Diego is where all previously embarrassing nerds can gather in a warmly inclusive environment as they celebrate the only thing that drives them.

So this year, let's share our favourite comic-book movies, the movies that take the leap of imagination and make you care about characters that aren't really human, but have more heart than most 'real' people we know.

It should be noted, however, that we will be sticking to mostly mainstream films here. Films like Ghost World, Akira or Road to Perdition are some of the greatest ever made, and quite frankly, deserve a separate story.

Till then, here is our list of the best comic-book movies.

No. 10- Wanted


Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov ramps up the style as the action leaps off the screen in slow-mo glory. The amazing cast which includes Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman is outstanding in this violent, hyper-kinetic and darkly humourous adaptation of the Mark Millar comic.

No. 9 - Dredd


The behind-the scenes drama slightly overshadowed the brilliance of this film. A taut, Die Hard homage with a career-best performance by Karl Urban, Dredd was destined to become a cult classic. This is a movie than gleefully embraces the profane, brutal and violent dystopia of the comics it's based on.

No. 8- Sin City


Director Robert Rodriguez's filmography is perhaps one of the most eclectic ever (Takashi Miike has him beat only because of the sheer size of his). Rodriguez's adherence to Frank Miller's seminal originals is so evident in every frame that we forget just what a wonderful movie it actually is. Beneath all the film-noir stylizations, this film has a beating heart and deeply flawed characters.

No.7 - Kick-Ass


Director Matthew Vaughn is now famous for his comic-book adaptations that frequently thread a fine line between exploitation and devotion, but his adaptation of Mark Millar's truly shocking book was unexpected. It works just as well as a coming of age tale as it does a graphic story of madness in meta world.

No.6 - X2: X-Men United


We've kind of forgotten just what a huge impact Bryan Singer's first X-Men film had on the genre: It re-energized superhero films for a new generation and paved the way for everything from Batman to the MCU. But what is even more remarkable is the astounding leap in quality that Singer made with X2. It pushed thematic boundaries and was perhaps the first 'serious' superhero film of this era.

No.5 - The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn


For fans that grew up with the boy reporter, Steven Spielberg's loving adaptation was somewhat of a gift. It combined all the best elements of the comic (the irreverence, the humour, the iconic characters), and elevated it into something more. Tintin had personality that we weren't aware of. He was confined in the 64-page albums; the movie freed him.

No.4 - Spider-Man 2


Sam Raimi left us with an intriguing idea in Spider-Man 2: What if Peter Parker didn't want to be Spider-Man anymore? Refusing to bask in the glory of the first film, Spidey 2 pushes the envelope in every way possible: It had the best villain the web-crawler ever faced, the best action sequence he ever survived and provided the best showcase for Tobey Maguire's performance. That's a lot of bests.

No.3- The Avengers


The Marvel Cinematic Universe is perhaps the most audacious cinematic series since Truffaut decided to make his semi-autobiographical Antoine Doinel films or Richard Linklater attempted to chart the ups and downs of a romantic relationship in his Before trilogy. And it all culminated with The Avengers, a film that overcame seemingly insurmountable odds when it successfully threw a dozen superheroes at the screen and they all stuck in a glorious amalgamation of everything that makes Marvel click time and again.

No. 2 - Watchmen


Director Zack Snyder followed up his brilliant 300 with an adaptation of Alan Moore's allegedly 'un-filmable' graphic novel. And he filmed the heck out of it. Watchmen is dangerous, dark, textured and absolutely gorgeous. It is a film decades ahead of its time, just like Moore's book. Of course it lost all its money.

No 1 - The Dark Knight


The film that made the Academy change its rules for Best Picture nominations, the film that won Heath Ledger his posthumous Oscar, the film that deserves comparison to The Godfather and Heat. The Dark Knight makes you forget that you're watching a man dressed as a bat fighting another man in clown make-up. Chris Nolan's film asks all the big questions, and above all else, treats its characters with the long-due respect that they deserve.

And here are more comic-book movies that are glowing examples of the genre and deserve every ounce of recognition that comes their way


The author tweets at @NaaharRohan

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