Marvel Comics is ruling the world when it comes to movies, with the world of The Avengers dominating the box office. With DC Comics movies preparing to start their journey into the world of big budget comic book movies as well, it is a nice time to remind people that comic books are not just about superheroes, super villains and men in tights.
There are a ton of great books out there that have nothing to do with superheroes, with stories based on gangsters, politics, historical events, the end of the world, and popular fables leading the way. With that in mind, the staff of Renegade Cinema sat down and wrote about our favorite non-superhero comic book movies, hoping to give you a glimpse at some great options you should really check out.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Caliber Winfield: As much as I love Sin City, Scott Pilgrim is the true definition of a comic book film. There’s so many entertaining aspects about this film that I could talk about it for days. The fantastic shots, the comic-book esq details, the humor, the great fights, and all the interesting characters. This film could have flopped hard, because of how original and far out there it is, instead they created an absolutely perfect film that you can watch over and over, and always find something new. Damn is it good.
Derek Johns: American Splendor isn’t your traditional comic book movie but then again the source material isn’t your traditional comic book either. A surprisingly funny and well written film anchored by a fantastic lead performance by Paul Giamatti (that deserved an Oscar nomination) make this one a truly underrated gem.
A History of Violence
Bethany Lewis: A History of Violence, directed by David Cronenberg, starring Viggo Mortensen and based on the graphic novel of the same name written by John Wagner. It’s about a small town family man who turns out to have an incredibly violent past that catches up with him. It’s breathtaking to see Mortensen transform instantaneously from a gentle, innocent man to a brutal killer. In the end, it’s about human nature and whether or not we truly have the ability to change who we are – to choose who we want to be – and whether our loved ones will accept us for who we really are inside. Also, William Hurt was in the movie for ten minutes and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the performance. He’s that good.
V for Vendetta
Sandi Davis: My favorite movie based on a comic without Superheroes has to be “V for Vendetta.”
I absolutely loved Hugo Weaving as the sword-wielding, verbose and lethal “V.”
Natalie Portman was exactly what Evey should be, a young woman who learns that she can wield power and help build the world she wants to live in. The swordplay and the intricate ways V would get in and out of each murder was great. HIs sad other side was shown to Evey only inside his fabulous apartment. The movie made such a social imprint that the mask and hat worn by V are now copied by freedom fighters worldwide.
Road to Perdition
Shawn S. Lealos: My choice as my favorite non-superhero comic book movie is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, however I want to always choose something that other writer’s don’t talk about to at least open up some eyes about other movies deserving a spot. Movies like Ghost World deserve a mention, but I want to go with Road to Perdition here. This movie stars Tom Hanks as a hit-man who ends up the target of the man he works for, a fatherly figure for most of his life. Hanks’ character goes on the run to save his son and has to fight off a younger, brutal, hit man played by Jude Law. I do want to give all kinds of props to Paul Newman, who took on his final live action role in this movie. The movie, directed by James Bond director Sam Mendes, is based on the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, part of DC Comics’ Paradox Press in 1998.