Adapting a popular superhero from a comic book can be extremely tricky to pull off properly but it seems to be happening more and more in both movies and TV shows. In fact, this has happened so often that in some cases, the big screen version is actually superior to the one from the comic book pages.
This obviously doesn’t mean that the version on the page isn’t good, it’s just that something clicked when they were adapted that shockingly improved their characters. It could be adding a comedic element, a great performance from the actor, or anything in between.
The comic book version of Professor Charles Xavier is already very interesting. That being said, there’s just something special about Professor X seen on the big screen, which all started with Patrick Stewart’s effort in the X Men trilogy.
Stewart has gone on to do more great work with the character in films like Logan, always perfectly blending the genius of the character with great leadership skills. James McAvoy also played a fantastic younger take on the character, showing arrogance at first before growing into someone wiser. His relationship with Magneto is also a highlight in the movies.
Unlike the top-tier household names from DC and Marvel Comics, Hit-Girl comes from the kick-ass such (which is still from Marvel but not as well-known). That makes it so even some of the bigger comic book fans out there don’t know a lot about her.
Thankfully, when kick-ass became a movie, Hit-Girl stole the show as a sidekick. The films were filled with fun characters but the foul-mouthed Hit-Girl got some of the best moments. Chloë Grace Moretz gave a riveting performance as the character that she has held up as iconic.
The history of Shazam on the page goes back longer than a lot of characters, dating back to the ’40s and even being named Captain Marvel at one point. Although his time in comics was good, it feels like the DCEU film adaptation made him even better.
The combination of Asher Angel and Zachary Levi playing both versions of the hero worked out very well. They both brought the childlike wonder of the character to the forefront and had a blast with it. This take on the hero was so good that it made Shazam! the most enjoyable DCEU movie for many fans.
One of the hardest things to do in a comic book movie is to pull the spotlight away from Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth has been incredibly popular since Ryan Reynolds played him in 2016 but in 2018, he was arguably upstaged.
That’s because Domino was a scene-stealer in Dead Pool 2. Played by the very talented Zazie Beetz, Domino’s power of being lucky proved to be way more cinematic than Deadpool believed. She was able to survive every situation, showed loyalty to the protagonist, and did it all with an air of coolness that was unmatched.
While she got her start as an antagonist in Batman: The Animated Series, there’s no denying that Harley Quinn has become one of the most popular DC characters around. The comic book takes on Harley are strong, as are the versions in the Arkham game series and the harley quinn animated show.
However, it’s hard to top what Margot Robbie has done with Harley. Many ca n’t even fathom someone else in the role as Robbie perfectly captures the playfulness of Harley while adding in the badass nature of her and making her sympathetic. Even in the widely panned suicide squadher debut was praised by most viewers.
Hombre de Hierro
The idea of an interconnected universe of Marvel movies always sounded excited but it was questionable in 2008. Iron Man was the character to start it but he was a lesser name at the time than the likes of Spider-Man or the mutants from X-Men .
That all changed once Hombre de Hierro was released, mostly due to Robert Downey Jr. His rockstar performance was captivating and it made him popular enough to be a big name who could be considered on the level of the top heroes anywhere. The overall arc of Iron Man in the MCU is some of the best storytelling ever done in a superhero tale, regardless of the medium.
Famously, there have been two iterations of Quicksilver to grace the silver screen, coming within a year of each other. In 2015, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s take on the character in Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t met with the greatest reception and was considered a letdown.
That was especially true because of what happened in X-Men: Days of Future Past the year prior, as Evan Peters’s version was brilliant. The film utilized his powers expertly, with his scene from him at the Pentagon becoming iconic and the follow-up in X-Men: Apocalypse being the high point of that movie.
Big Hero 6
A lot of people weren’t even aware that Big Hero 6 was based on a Marvel Comics property. To many, it was simply an interesting concept from the folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios. That’s exactly why it worked so well though.
It’s not a knock on the original comic book iteration of the superhero team but the Disney adaptation did a tremendous job of making Baymax into a lovable character, while also ensuring that Hiro was sympathetic. Combine those aspects with the supporting unit being fun and it was a recipe for success.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
The MCU was already a massive success by the time 2014 rolled around but it was Guardians of the Galaxy that year that proved they could make a hit out of anything. The team was, at best, a group of D-level characters, yet it became a huge box office hit, as did the sequel.
The movies have completely changed a lot about these characters and it has been for the better. Drax is a lovable comedic character, Rocket has a tragic story that fans empathize with, Nebula and Mantis are well-developed members, and that’s just scratching the surface.
An RDJ appearance at the end of The Incredible Hulk aside, the appearance of Mjölnir at the end of Iron Man 2 was the first true node to the MCU being a shared universe. Unfortunately, Thor’s first few movies left a lot to be desired, often because it kept him too similar to his comic book counterpart.
That take on Thor wasn’t resonating with modern audiences but Chris Hemsworth’s comedic chops were. Since Thor: Ragnarök, the God of Thunder has been hilarious to watch. He remains as powerful as ever but he’s a joy to watch. He’s also a layered character as he carries a lot of grief with him and remains on a journey of self-discovery that makes him compelling.
NEXT: The 10 Best Adaptations Of Thor In Movies & TV, Ranked
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