Comic book movies

What makes a good comic book movie? Well, thanks to our friends over at, we might just have a better idea. They took all of the comic book movies created since 2000 and put them on a graph, comparing them by money grossed at the Box Office and their Rotten Tomatoes score.

Comic Book Movie

As you can see, the results are not surprising. THE DARK KNIGHT and THE AVENGERS take the top two spots and deservedly so. They are great films by any standard. From there on, debates could be made for days as to why other films succeeded while others failed. Luckily for you guys, I have put together a list that should shed light on what makes a good comic book movie.

Recognizable Characters made a point in their article about how the success of WONDER WOMAN should push Marvel to create the Black Widow movie before INFINITY WAR film. That got me thinking about the whole subgenera of comic book movie’s based on female characters. Up until WONDER WOMAN, those films had been a flop. One could argue that it is simply because they were films about women.

However, that argument would hold little weight. Then I realized. It was not the fact that they were women, it was the fact that they were unrecognizable characters! Now you might be sitting there thinking “unrecognizable, what are you talking about.”

READ: Want to read our review of one of the best comic book movies ever? Click Here!

Well, dear reader, you have to remember what is recognizable to someone who is an avid reader of comic books is not recognizable to the typical person on the street. These are the people who would have a hard time naming the planet Superman came from. It is a much wider, uninformed audience that these films have to appeal too.

DECU Characters…

Speaking of, that is exactly why the DCEU is raking in the money while being critically panned. Think about it. Who are the headliners in those movies? Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. Yes, you can say that the Suicide Squad is not on their level regarding popularity, but the Joker certainly is (which is why when you watch the trailer for the film, Joker’s introduction is the last scene).

…But, Back To Marvel

This recognition factor is why Marvel is waiting as long as they can to make a Black Widow movie. They have to build the character up (which is difficult when she has been nothing but a supporting character) before they were confident to give the character her own film.

Comic book movies

They Have To Be Kid-Friendly

Now, I will start this section off with the admission that this trend has some notable exceptions (DEADPOOL, LOGAN, The Nolanverse) and with the influx of comic book movies over the last 17 years that this trend is slowly changing.

Nonetheless, for a comic book film to succeed it has to be kid-friendly. This is the business model for almost every single successful company on the planet. Get the kids, and you have customers for life. So it makes perfect sense that when creating franchises that will have multiple films to sell, that this would be the mindset of the studios.

READ: Want to read about Realism in comic book movies? Click Here!

Let’s take a look at the Gold Standard for comic book franchises right now, the MCU. These are films that are light-hearted, filled with action and relatively easy to follow. They are designed to be family films that everyone can enjoy. Hence everyone from grandma to little Joey goes to see them, and boom eventually you have the highest grossing film franchise in history.

Even though all of the films in MCU and DCEU/Nolanverse are rated pg-13, Marvel is going for a lighter tone than DC. That is the reason DC spent over 60 million doing reshoots on SUICIDE SQUAD; “lighter” movies sell.

They Cannot Rely On Being A Comic Book Movie

This might be a little confusing, so let me explain. Let’s take a movie a the bottom the list here, CONSTANTINE. Not very critically acclaimed, not a big box office draw. You know why that movie failed? It adopted way too much of the comic book to the film. When adapting a comic book story to the big screen, you are going to have to you know, actually adapt it into a movie.

That means adding relationships where there might not have been one before. Heightening situations, or attributes of characters, or making them more relatable in some sense. Constantine did none of that. The character while true to his comic book version was nothing more, and because of that, the masses were not impressed.

Comic book movies

Look at the top ten movies on that graph (that’s critically acclaimed and box office draw) those are straight up good movies regardless of genera. I mean these are movies that have been nominated for awards, and one of them even won an Oscar.

So yes, having your source material is great, it is, of course, the biggest part of the film, but if you do not make an effort to adapt whatever you have on the screen, your comic book movie will be just that, a comic book movie.

READ: Want to read about Spiderman Homecoming? Click Here!

So, What Makes A Good Comic Book Movie?

So in the end, there is a lot that goes into making a comic book movie a success. As I have alluded to multiple times in this article, I think the one thing that encompasses all of these points is that you cannot make a comic book movie for the typical comic book reader.

You are going to alienate way too much of your audience, and knowing the fickle people we are, your comic book reading fans will probably find some way to hate the movie. Unless you just showed them a presentation where each slide is a page of a comic. Then they might complain it is moving too fast.

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