As this decade comes to a close, I thought it would be a great time to reflect upon the last decade of comic characters in film. In the past ten years, we’ve seen more films adapted from comics than ever before, cementing comic book culture as popular culture.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
A brilliant adaptation with a level of stylization worthy of the comic. Edgar Wright’s patent for creative editing, action, and humor are on full display. It’s a comic book movie for young people about young people.
X-Men: First Class
This period piece X-Men film shines with tragedy and political intrigue. It delivers a story that’s nuanced and deadly serious with gripping performances by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto, respectively.
Everyone will have their favorite movie in The Avengers franchise but none of them would exist without the first. There was something truly special about seeing all these superheroes together on the big screen for the first time. The Avengers introduced the idea of a shared universe and forever changed the landscape of cinema.
Man Of Steel
Many stories have been told about the Last Son of Krypton, but few stand out with such a signature vision. In Man of Steel, there’s a level of depth to the characters and world that hadn’t been seen outside of the comics. From the mesmerizing design of Kyrptonian technology to displaying Superman’s fantastic powers, the film makes Superman fly off the comic page and into the real world.
300: Rise of an Empire
A prequel, an “inter-quel,” and a sequel; Rise of an Empire delivers everything that was awesome about 300, but in a new way. The antagonists are given richer backstories and the Athenians are played as underdogs. Eva Green shines in her performance as Artemisia. And while many action films employed the use of slow motion and CGI in 300‘s wake, few have aged as well. It is a testament to the film’s art direction and color design.
Kingsmen: The Secret Service
Kingsmen manages to perform a supreme juggling act by delivering action, humor, emotion, and meta-narrative. Any other film would collapse under the weight of so many concepts, but Kingsmen manages to utilize every aspect to its fullest potential. A seamless blend of realism and stylization places Kingsmen in a category of its own.
The world’s first superheroine made her big screen debut and didn’t pull any punches. Gal Gadot’s performance had charisma, power, empathy, and humor. Now we know the Amazon’s origins, but the adventures of Wonder Woman have only begun.
A Marvel movie that breaks away from Marvel’s trappings. Black Panther delivers a stand-alone story with a serious tone, vibrant soundtrack, and memorable villain. Black Panther goes beyond a typical superhero movie and evolves into an afro-futuristic epic that envisions the brighter future we deserve.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Spider-Verse is a triumph by embracing what makes Spider-Man a unique character and presenting the spider-mythos in a way we’ve never seen before. Spider-Verse also changed the landscape of CG animation and future CG films are already pushing for stylization.
What better way to end a decade of bombastic superhero blockbusters than with an intimate character study of comics’ most notorious villain. Joker hearkens back to The Dark Knight Trilogy with its mature tone and practical effects. Joker has what many other comic book movies lack– a sense of real physical and emotional risks for its characters and a director’s singular artistic vision.