ByTom Sunderland, writer at
Making comics sexy since 1992.
Tom Sunderland

Amid all the comic-related releases, news and announcements over the past month, you might have missed out on the fact July 30th, 2016 celebrated the 50th anniversary of Batman: The Movie.

It was almost fate-like the commemorative date fell just days prior to the release of Suicide Squad, DC Comics' latest film endeavor and a landmark achievement illustrating how far comic movies have come in the last half-century.

There's been a mountain of comic material between the release of the original Batman flick and today, however, and Moon Film have paid tribute to all that's been and gone in the way we know best.

We're of course talking about a montage.

Delight in 100 of the biggest movies that have made the jump from comic panels to the silver screen, many of which you'll know, and some of which you may not have heard of before:

The Highlights

Flash Gordon (1980)

As astonishing as it is to believe Adam West's original Batman movie was released 50 years ago, it's equally shocking to believe Flash Gordon almost four decades old.

These days, DC fans are swooning for a different kind of Flash, but the man who faced down Ming the Merciless was the superior hero to go by that mantle for many years.

And how about this for a piece of trivia: Gordon could actually be considered the original Flash, considering his comic debuted in 1934 and The Flash didn't make his first appearance on paper until 1940.

These days, the story of a New York Jets star-turned-space-villain-conqueror is arguably even more entertaining than it was on its date of release.

Watchmen (2009)

Who watches the watchmen?
Who watches the watchmen?

A personal favorite of this writer, the 2009 film adaptation of Watchmen went a long way in living up to the legacy left by the source material.

It's now 30 years since Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons brought us the acclaimed graphic novel, which was recently granted new relevance after DC Rebirth attached a certain Dr. Manhattan's powers to the creation of the DC universe.

Comics and their movie mock-ups have a habit of being draped in bright leotards and happy endings—Watchmen does not follow that paradigm.

Superman II (1981)

Christopher Reeve set the bar high as Clark Kent.
Christopher Reeve set the bar high as Clark Kent.

In tribute to the recent news a Man of Steel sequel is already in development, we couldn't celebrate the best comic movies to date without mention of the original Superman sequel.

Superman II took the foundation built by the inaugural film release starring Christopher Reeve and introduced a trio of evil Kryptonians — General Zod being among them — as the antagonists.

Sprinkle into that equation Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman in the role of Lex Luthor, and you've got a classic on your hands.

See Also:

The Lowlights

Timecop (1994)

As sacrilegious as it feels to down-vote a Jean-Claude Van Damme blockbuster (does he make anything less?), 1994's Timecop just doesn't quite stand up alongside the best of the comic movie industry.

It took producers little time to jump on the appeal of a time-traveling police officer attempting to save his wife, and it took just two years before the Dark Horse comic— released in 1992 — was in cinemas.

The Muscles from Brussels is a dime in the martial arts field, but when compare with some of his other masterworks, Timecop arguably doesn't stand up.

Writer's Note: Many a Jean-Claude Van Damme connoisseur may argue Timecop's quality.

Green Lantern (2011)

"Please don't make the suit green. Or animated!"
"Please don't make the suit green. Or animated!"

In the discussion of underwhelming 21st century comic book films, arguably none have sunk so low as Green Lantern, one blemish on Ryan Reynolds's career we'd all sooner forget.

Or perhaps not. Had Reynolds never taken up his power ring, he would have missed out on one very memorable zinger in his later portrayal of Deadpool, and anyone with good sense took enjoyment from that.

Many a DC fan out there is hoping Hal Jordan, John Stewart or Kyle Rayner will hopefully have their turn at rebooting the Green Lantern franchise, considering the 2011 release with so much potential fell so far short of expectations.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a hit in the box office.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a hit in the box office.

Proof — if ever it was needed — that bigger budgets don't always equate to superior productions, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is also responsible for another one of those aforementioned blemishes Reynolds would see scraped from the record.

The good: It was this film that gave us our first-ever look at The Merc With a Mouth, Deadpool, in a major movie role, played by Reynolds.

The bad: It was awful.

Of course, that wasn't all that made the 2009 production poor, especially in comparison to the rest of 20th Century Fox's X-Men film series. We also had a weak storyline, a clumsy origin tale and an invincible protagonist whom it's hard to feel for on any level — because he's invincible.


Which decade produced the best comic book movies?


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