6. The Crow
Tragedy is a key component of The Crow, setting the story in motion. And the connection its theme had with the on-set death of actor Brandon Lee is incredible, as is the death of James O’Barr’s (the comic creator) fiancée that influenced the comics.
Maybe that’s why everything in this movie seems so genuine in storytelling, but it’s also because of how hard it tried in stick to the comic. Even though the script went through multiple rewrites, O’Barr was given a great deal of influence during creative decisions.
Little changes here and there would come, including the taking away of multiple characters and making Eric Draven actually turn into a crow. But the revenge tale stayed true in tone, ended up with a script that only softened the comic a bit, and succeeded with the lead character.
Brandon Lee had been the first choice for the producers. He came through with a layered character who brought the proper thirst for retribution. After a third draft of the script, the writers had finally come up with something that balanced the comic’s nature with something more understandable than the content in some of its issues.
And most of all, they kept it from leaning too far into the typical Hollywood storyline.
It’s hard to know even where to begin with this one. Star Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller were beyond fervent in bringing this character back to life on the big-screen, after it had been butchered in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Not only did that passion ooze from this movie, but the knowledge of the character’s background and story did as well. Reynolds is as close as Fox was going to get to a perfect “Merc with a Mouth”, and it showed with how the star embodied the darkly humorous and ridiculous character.
They took no shortcuts with the character, letting him have the free-range, R-rated version of himself the film needed. As for the look of the character, he appears more like what the newer comics detail him as, and less like his past as a Spider-Man lookalike. Even a side character like Colossus ending up looking and sounding much better than the version in previous X-Men films.
The movie even provides us Deadpool’s crazy roommate Blind Al and the bar full of mercenaries. Many of the other settings and a few of the scenes are nearly identical to ones from different Deadpool comics. Even that random pizza delivery scene is almost a beat-by-beat copy of a scene from Deadpool #10.
The only major difference seems to come with Vanessa, who has a similar background in Deadpool but no super powers (her character was somewhat like Mystique in comics). Maybe they’re soon to be realized in a sequel, but either way, this film stuck tight to its roots.
8. The Wolverine
Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has become the most beloved of the X-Men and one of the most enduring superheroes in cinematic history. And there may not be a single actor who is more synonymous (after all, he’s been in more films as his superhero than anyone else with theirs) with his or her comic book character.
And just to think Dougray Scott was the first choice to play the character before scheduling conflicts. So instead we got a Wolverine that never had the attire and size of the original character, but had the rough-around-the-edges personality to perfectly match. And Jackman again fully exemplifies the character’s mix of gruff and gravity in this performance.
As for the story itself, it’s as close as the X-Men movies have gotten to the comics. That’s not saying a whole lot, but The Wolverine’s setting and struggles of the main character do a great service to the 1982 “Wolverine” mini-series.
It packed in many of the characters from them and stayed at least loosely-based to these subjects while expanding the roles of a few, such as Yukio. The setup of the story is changed to make sense in the realm of movies before it (when X-Men still cared about continuity), but it still leads to similar themes such as Wolverine’s search for purpose after war.
It isn’t a straight comic-to-screen adaptation to be sure, but the source material was given so much more respect than it was with X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
9. The Avengers
It’s hard to know the which Avengers are the true ones these days.
More so than in most comics, there are all types of versions of this definitive group of Marvel superheroes. But the movies primarily seem to take influence from “The Ultimates” and “The Ultimates 2”, sprinkling much of the bronze age content here and there.
“The Ultimates” started at the beginning of the century and switched The Avengers around a bit, and gave us our modern movie versions of Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and others. Some of the stories behind how The Avengers formed are toyed with a bit, but their roles and character construction are all precise.
The movie also incorporates the rivalry between Thor and Loki beautifully, as it also does with the partnership of Black Widow and Hawkeye. And just for toppings, we get the most accurate depictions of Captain America and The Hulk.
Above everything though, for as ill-defined as it might be to say, The Avengers simply “feels” like the quintessential Marvel comic movie. It not only personifies the comics, but the love for geek culture as a whole. It may not have any specific issue it primarily draws from, but it reflects the overall mythos with great care.
In what might be the best superhero film since The Dark Knight or Guardians of the Galaxy and the best representations of comic book characters since The Avengers, Logan has clear comic origins.
“Old Man Logan”, a comic released nine years ago, has some major story differences to be sure. Most of the reason behind the film being different is that Fox doesn’t have the rights to certain characters like Hulk, Hawkeye, and other Marvel characters littered throughout the comic series.
You won’t see the Wolverine fighting off The Hulk’s inbred offspring, Red Skull as president, or a blind Hawkeye. But as far as the Logan section of the film, it’s nearly spot-on. The deterioration, the theme of never being able to deny your true nature, and the slowing of regeneration powers are all in the film. Most of the other mutants have vanished, and we’re left with a post-apocalyptic world run by supervillains while Logan once again tries to lead a quiet life with no claws out.
All of this is in-line with the comic, though Professor X has now entered the picture in-place of Hawkeye. The Western road-trip film crossed with looks straight out of The Last of Us and The Road is very close in tone, and Hugh Jackman handled the slight variation of the character perfectly. Other than that, it’s the same Wolverine, the one Jackman was perfect for in nearly every way.