Comic Book Movies Transcending Comic Book Norms

As fans of published comic books and released comic book movies, we all want a comic book film that can be considered a fantastic movie, much like other great classics that churn out of Hollywood. As of right now, we have a couple of comic book films that are in that particular category, such as: Logan, The Dark Knight, and Into The Spider-Verse.

Comic book fans always talk about our favorite comic book storylines in ways like, “This would be perfect to adapt” or “That is not comic book accurate.”

I do this at times as well. Those preconceived notions can affect the movie-going experience because we create an opinion about how the movie will turn out before it has even started. Typically, when that happens, the film ends up being bad, which is why it is important to stay open-minded and trusting the director’s vision.

The Journey of Comic Storylines

wolverine
Source: Marvel Comics (John Romita Sr., Len Wein, Roy Thomas) 

There have been movies created on the spirit of said comic book storyline, but ultimately the directors implemented their own interpretation, which made the delivery nothing but perfect.

Look at Logan, for example, directed by James Mangold. Marvel give him creative control to this movie, who went all out making a movie to establish “Old Man Logan,” but he put his unique style to it. As a result, it not only became one of the best CBMs ever, but also recognized as one of the better overall films of 2017.

Adding to its legacy, Logan was nominated for best-adapted screenplay for the Oscars.

The Roadblock of Studio Interference

dont view

Of course, studio interference can be a terrible thing, especially when everything is super unorganized. Just look at Warner Bros with their DC movie adaptations…

I am a big fan of Man of Steel and believe it is one of the best movies ever directed by Zack Snyder, but it is a fact his films for DC Comics and Warner Bros. were struggling.

Nothing felt cohesive to the overall plan. Fans and critics were divided. Even fans thought the overall execution was wrong. A few gems that Warner Bros did not interfere with became some of DC’s best work, such as Man of Steel, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Aquaman.

These films had had some rules, but ultimately, it was up to the directors to make the best movie they could, and they did not disappoint.

On the opposite side of film franchise thought: the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a great system. Disney CEO Bob Iger allows Kevin Feige full control of Marvel Characters. Feige has specific rules for his crew members, but other than those rules, you can tell he gives the directors creative control.

Kevin Feige 1
Source: REX/Shutterstock

You do not have to like the MCU to see it is one of the most organized universes to ever be put on screen, especially with the number of movies from Marvel Studios within the ten years.

In that time, there have been at least two out of 22 films that have surpassed the comic book plateau, but could not exceed it. The “Holy sh**, what an incredible film” plateau but stayed as CBMs are Iron Man (2008), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Being a comic book movie is not bad. In some cases, they are my favorite movies. Look at Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, Watchman, or even the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man.

In terms of moviemaking, films that surpass what people expect to see on the big screen is what filmmaking is all about.

Go back to films like The Dark Knight, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Logan and now Joker are in that category: they surpass our expectations, but stay within that realm for many fans.

The Dark Knight perfected the villain and the element of suspense, While Into The Spider-Verse surpasses that animation barrier and made the best Spider-Man movie of all time,  it doesn’t even focus on the most famous Spider-Man (Peter Parker).

Joker-2019Joker focused on that character rather than Batman. That choice is bold and effective. That amount of detail in the storytelling is nothing but breathtaking.

And one other thing, these specific movies will keep you thinking about them weeks after you leave the theater.

Now, what are some comic book movies you think deserve to be considered the best of the best, not just as comic book films but only as a film? Think about the journey and you may have a movie that surpasses its genre. What are they? Get back with us.

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