7 successful comic book superhero films
Superheroes have been an important part of popular culture in the last 80 years, since the most important publishers in the field have appeared, such as Marvel Comics and DC Comics. One of the first feature films with superheroes was The Mark of Zorro, from 1920, a silent film based on the 1919 Zorro story “The Curse of Capistrano”. However, the first film based on comic book characters was the 12-chapter black-and-white serial Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941). Two years later, a film featuring Batman was launched, and from that moment, comic book superhero films have never ceased to appear, attracting an ever larger number of fans. Here is a list of the most successful superhero feature films of all times:
1. Iron Man (2008)
Based on the character of the same name from the Marvel Comics universe, Iron Man was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Main stars include Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Shaun Toub, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Billionaire engineer Tony Stark develops a powered exoskeleton to fight evil as the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man. A critical and commercial success, the film received positive reviews from critics and grossed more than $585 million.
2. Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man (2002) stars Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, a shy and nerdy high school student living in New York City and gaining spider-like abilities that he would use to fight evil as a superhero. The film waited its turn to be produced for almost 25 years, until it was licensed for a worldwide release by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1999. Both a critical and a financial success, Spider-Man earned $100 million in its first weekend and remains the most successful film based on a comic book. Two sequels were released, in 2004 and 2007.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film directed by James Gunn is the tenth in the Marvel cinematic universe and features a group of superheroes forced to collaborate to eliminate a fanatical warrior from taking control over the universe. Although the Marvel team chosen for this film was less known and some considered it a not so good choice, the film was a success and became the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014.
4. The Avengers (2012)
This 2012 superhero film is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name and was written and directed by Joss Whedon. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Hemsworth. In The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor are recruited by Nick Fury, the director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. to stop Thor’s brother Loki from subjugating Earth. The Avengers was the first Marvel production to generate $1 billion in ticket sales.
5. The Incredibles (2004)
Not all successful superhero films have to feature Marvel or DC Comics characters; a good example is the 2004 The Incredibles film, telling the story of a family of undercover superheroes who try to live an ordinary life in the suburbs but who are eventually forced to take action to save the world. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, the film received high critical acclaim from professionals and also performed well at the box office (it grossed $633 million worldwide for its original theatrical run). A sequel is scheduled for release in 2018.
6. The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight is the second film of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins. Its cast features Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman. In The Dark Knight, Batman forms a team with James Gordon and Harvey Dent to destroy the organized crime in Gotham City. The alliance is menaced by the Joker, a criminal looking to undermine Batman’s influence and cause chaos. The Dark Knight is considered by a large number of critics the best film of 2008 and it received eight Academy Award nominations, winning the award for Best Sound Editing.
7. Deadpool (2016)
This adventure comedy film is the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time when unadjusted for inflation and the highest-grossing X-Men film. Due to its success, a sequel was ordered by Fox. Deadpool was directed by Tim Miller and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick; it features a fast-talking mercenary of the same name who is left with accelerated healing powers after being subjected to a rogue experiment. The critics acclaimed the film’s style, although the plot was seen as rather predictable. Deadpool was a commercial success, grossing more than $783 million worldwide.
All we can say is this list has opened our appetite for superhero films and makes us look forward to upcoming sequels.