Silver Screen Superheroes


Iron Man is an excellent example of the change in character of current superheroes

Gavin Leavitt, Staff Writer

Making comics into movies is not a recent phenomenon. However, few would deny that the past few years have signaled a boom in the production of comic book movies. Since the release of movies like X-Men and Spider-Man in the early 2000s, comic companies such as DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse have pumped out hit after hit.

In contrast with the campy, overblown comic movies of the ’60s and late ’80s, DC Comics’ recent films have taken a darker, more serious tone. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy presents a thematic, psychological look at Batman; Zack Snyder’s film rendition of Watchmen makes us question the morality of all superheroes. Snyder and Nolan will be teaming up to release another gritty comic movie this summer: Man of Steel, a reboot of the Superman movie franchise. Other recent DC Comics films have included the less positively received Green Lantern and Catwoman.

Perhaps the most drastic turnaround in movies based on comic books has been Marvel Comics’ recent attempts. The Spider-Man trilogy, the X-Men trilogy, and other various film renditions of comics have revitalized interest in comic books and superheroes in general. In addition, the impressive Marvel Cinematic Universe, consisting of films like Iron ManIncredible Hulk, Captain America, and The Avengers has become one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Several movies made by Marvel will get sequels in the next few years, including The Wolverine, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Superhero comics aren’t the only ones that get movies. The Dark Horse comic company has licensed films such as Hellboy and Alien vs. Predator, and graphic novels like Cowboys & Aliens have also received film adaptations. Even films based on foreign media such as Japanese graphic novels (commonly known as manga) have been and will be released in the United States. Dragonball Evolution and Astro Boy, adaptations of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball and Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy respectively, were released in 2009, and movies based on the popular manga Death Note, BLEACH, and Akira are slated for release in 2013-2015.

The influx in comic book movies isn’t over yet. As more action-packed panels will be coming to life on the big screen in the coming months and years, one must wonder if the general populace is growing tired and jaded by superhero movies or if they hunger for more. Either way, the comic book movie industry is posed to continue their success.