Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Netflix

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Keanu Reeves is Constantine in the 2005 film based on the graphic novel 'Hellblazer'

Keanu Reeves is ‘Constantine’ on HBO Max

As fans of the cult comic book Hellblazer will tell you, Keanu Reeves doesn’t look or act much like comic book anti-hero John Constantine in Constantine (2005), the big screen version of the story of the streetwise supernatural hustler. He does, however, cut a memorable figure with his lockjaw resolve and iconic wardrobe, playing the […]

Steven Spielberg directs the big screen adventure adapted from the Herge graphic novels

‘The Adventures of Tintin’ on Paramount+

The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Steven Spielberg’s first foray into motion capture filmmaking, turns the legendary boy journalist and globe-trotting adventurer from the early graphic novels of Herge into a big screen hero, complete with trademark cowlick and best friend canine Snowy watching his back. Spielberg and his collaborators (notably co-producer Peter Jackson) chose to […]

Christian Bale is Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'

‘Batman Begins’ – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight on Netflix

One of the defining films in the elevation of comic book movies to adult fare, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back to the shadows, both figuratively and literally. It’s quite a leap from the previous Batman revival launched by Tim Burton’s 1989 […]

Aaron Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage star in the superhero movie by Matthew Vaughn

‘Kick-Ass’ – wicked superhero fun on Peacock

Kick-Ass (2010) is a comic book movie with a killer premise: what if regular people in the real world became costume vigilantes like the superheroes in comic books? Based on the uber-violent comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., this film tosses a high school teenager (Aaron Johnson) into a crime-fighting culture he isn’t the […]

Tilda Swinton in Bong Joon-ho 's 'Snowpiercer'

‘Snowpiercer’ – careening allegory on Netflix

Snowpiercer (2013), an international production from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and a French graphic novel, is a high-speed allegory speeding down the science fiction tracks of genre cinema. That’s the way I like this brand of filmmaking: with the symbols big, muscular, detailed, and punchy. You either give yourself over to the metaphor, in this […]

Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, and John Hurt star in the film adapted from the Alan Moore graphic novel

‘V For Vendetta’ – Fighting tyranny on HBO Max

V For Vendetta (2005) – “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. The government should be afraid of the people.” His name is nowhere to be seen in the credits but this futuristic thriller about an authoritarian government out of 1984 and a lone revolutionary who takes them on comes from Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic […]

Hugh Jackman is ‘The Wolverine’ on Disney+

The Wolverine (2013) is both a sequel and a reboot of the solo spin-off from the X-Men movies. Hugh Jackman is back with the abs and the adamantium claws as Logan, the ferocious fan favorite of the team, and the screenwriters draw from the ninja storylines of earlier Wolverine comic books: the dark, brooding loner […]

Jane Fonda stars in the campy psychedelic romp from director Roger Vadim

‘Barbarella’ – Sexy space camp on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Barbarella (1968), a campy psychedelic romp produced by Italian Dino de Laurentiis, directed by French eroticist Roger Vadim, adapted from a risqué French comic strip by American satirist Terry Southern, and featuring an international cast, was Buck Rogers reworked as a sex kitten in space for the 1960s culture of free love and pop art. […]

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ – the trilogy concludes

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) doesn’t want for ambition. The culmination of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of high-minded comic book superhero action spectacles by way of pop-art social commentary, it pits The Batman (a terse Christian Bale) against Bane (Tom Hardy as a musclebound mountain in a creepy mask), a self-appointed horseman of the apocalypse. Bane […]