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Top 10 Films Inspired by DC Comics Comic Books and Graphic Novels

  • Jul 30, 2009
This list is devoted to films inspired and/or based on comic books or graphic novels published by DC Comics. On this particular list I have only done the top 7, rather than the top 10, because I feel that DC's upcoming sequels may earn spots on the list.
Deluxe Edition DVD cover
Christopher Nolan's intelligent take on the Batman origin gives us a more realistic interpretation of the character. In what may be the best comic book hero origin ever done in a film, Nolan brings us deep into the psychology of what would compel an individual to put a costume on to fight crime. After witnessing the death of his parents, wealthy orphan Bruce Wayne decides that he wants to clean up his city and rid it of the criminality that he holds responsible for his parents' death. He also gathers together an amazing cast including Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Watanabe.
See the full review, "The Legend of the Batman Begins".
Perhaps the darkest of the mainstream films based on DC characters, this amazing 2008 follow-up to Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" takes the Batman character into a world of escalation and tragedy. As Batman faces his newest and most unpredictable enemy, The Joker, we watch as chaos and insanity proliferate in Gotham City whilst only Batman can stop it. But to do so, he will have to sacrifice everything that he's fought for. Once again Nolan gathers together an excellent cast that includes Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart ,Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman.
See the full review, "The Dark Knight Strikes".
No one ever thought that it could be done. No one expected that Zach Snyder could do it, but Snyder's 2009 anti-hero epic "Watchmen" miraculously surpassed expectations and proved once and for all that Alan Moore's 12-part comic book series "Watchmen" was indeed filmable. Though the theatrical version is a mixed bag, Snyder's extended Director's Cut is an amazing viewing experience with more thematic depth and greater characterization, bringing viewers even closer to the source material. In an alternate 1985, a group of costumed vigilantes begin investigating a murderous conspiracy while reminiscing about their "glory day" gone by and questioning their contributions to the world. The film features a nice cast that includes Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, and Stephen McHattie.
See the full review, ""Who Watches the Watchmen?"".
V for Vendetta (2006 film)
Another classic graphic novel by Alan Moore brought to life in an effective anti-hero thriller. This 2006 political actioner was directed by James McTeigue and though the film and the graphic novel are very different, much of the mood and the spirit of the book are captured in the film quite well. When England falls under the rule of an uber-conservative totalitarian government, an outcast and rebel named V begins a chain of events that will not only allow him his revenge against the corrupt government but will also free the English people from tyranny. The film stars Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Stephen Rea, Sinead Cusack, and Rupert Graves.
Original DVD
Though the 1978 film feels somewhat dated and even a little cheesy, the unforgettable performance by Christopher Reeve earns it a spot on any list of great superhero films. Directed by Richard Donner, "Superman: The Movie" has all the action, charm, and romance that one might expect from a late 1970 interpretation of the comics. Just before the planet Krypton is destroyed, Jor-El sends his only son, Kal-El, to the planet Earth via a rocket. When Kal-El lands, he is adopted by the Kent family in Smallville, Kansas. Newly named Clark Kent, he grows up to discover he has super powers and soon he becomes Superman, the world's first super hero. The film includes Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp, and Ned Beatty.
Superman II
One of the major complaints with the original Superman film was that it was too long and that there wasn't enough action. Well, this 1980 sequel takes care of that. Superman must battle a group of villains from Krypton that also have super powers and all the while balancing his life as a super hero with his life as a reporter and protecting Lois Lane. The film stars Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, and Terence Stamp.
Another Alan Moore creation, John Constantine first appeared in the "Swamp Thing" comics and then later got his own series. This loosely adapted 2005 film lacks both the edge and the intelligence of the comics but manages to retain much of the books' irreverent humor. Directed by MTV music video veteran Francis Lawrence, "Constantine" suffers from a lack of substance and an overabundance of style, but still entertains. John Constantine was born with unusual gift (or curse) of being able to see angels, demons, and half-breeds. When a cop's twin sister commits suicide, Constantine is called in to investigate her death, which leads him to uncover a satanic conspiracy. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LeBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare, Djimon Hounsou, and Gavin Rossdale.
See the full review, "John Constantine: Hellblazer".

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September 26, 2009
Ooooh. This list has grown since I was last here. Maybe you should consider changing title now.
September 26, 2009
No, it hasn't. It was 7 before and it's 7 now. However, there are some new DC films coming out over the next two years so I may be adding more.
September 26, 2009
I complain about other people not reading the inroductory blurb! My bad.
September 26, 2009
Hey, no problem. Even the Queen makes mistakes. ; ) I'm really excited about the rumors of a new Swamp Thing film based on the Alan Moore storylines from the '80s and the live-action Green Lantern film based on the Denny O'Neil books from the '70s. Great stuff that will hopefully turn into good movies... hopefully.
September 26, 2009
I don't make mistakes, ordinarily I'm infallible.
September 26, 2009
Uh, huh. I'm going to be very good and respect my elders at this time. ; )
September 26, 2009
Thanks for reminding me. ):-P
September 26, 2009
Wow, two raspberries in one day. I can't get no love! : (
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