We all love to look back at the moments that our favorite characters came to life on page. Deadpool, one of Marvel’s few characters that hasn’t undergone a horrific transformation in recent years, no doubt serves as one of today’s most popular characters. His quips are sharp, his skills are sharper. He’s not pretty. But his introduction, in New Mutants #98 is pretty damn awesome.
If you were to travel back in time just a few decades, look me directly in the eye and inform me that in 2016 there would be few, if any films hotter than comic book transfers.
It never seemed like a reality. Filmmakers were struggling to get the look and special effects up to snuff through the 90s, so when you saw a superhero movie, you knew it was a rarity. In 2016 however, it’s the expected, and the norm. Imagine pulling comic flicks from the lineup these days – raged out basement dwelling 30-somethings would overpower towns, torches and pitchforks wielded carelessly.
Well, don’t sweat it too much, nerds, we’re not going to see a drop-off of comic book films in the near future. We may never see comic book transfers fade into obscurity. This movement feels more like the birth of a new genre rather than the birth of a new fad.
Comic book movies are just too damn entertaining, gratifying and generally enjoyable to anticipate a departure from the Hollywood spotlight anytime soon.
Thank god. My inner Super Geek knows I’d cry two full rivers if the market began turning away from superhero movies. But as long as these pieces are doing the kind of numbers they’ve done throughout the first half of 2016, they’re here to stay.
Speaking of the success of these pictures, let’s take a look at how the focal four films released this calendar year have fared at the box office.
Trailers can be amazing, and they can be sleep inducing. They can also be so far from accurately depicting the quality of the film in which they’re designed to promote that one can only shake his head in bewilderment.
You’re going to find a few trailers on this list that may surprise you, not because the overall quality of the trailer, but the overall lack of quality of the films (I’m really looking at you, Green Lantern!) themselves. Don’t be too shocked by a revelation of such nature – major studios pay talented videographers and editors to sit and create a brilliant enough trailer cut to persuade viewers to rush to theaters to check the film out.
Now, onto the list!
X-Men: The Last Stand
Such high hopes for The Last Stand. None were met. Somehow Brett Ratner botches the film, which feels disjointed and – believe it or not – rather boring for noticeable stretches of time. I enjoy the movie, but it’s one of the worst of the bunch. But you know what? This trailer certainly gets the blood pumping. If only the film held something more to offer…
Just a genius piece of work from Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Sin City looked like a slick pic when the trailers initially began rolling out. Then the film dropped and surpassed expectations. It’s a good thing they nailed the trailers for this one, it warranted every bit of support imaginable. Stellar film with a few stellar trailers to pique our interest.
Holy hell at how epic this story is! It’s another Miller project landing on the list, and you all know it deserves to be here. The cinematography will leave you speechless and the clash of vibrant and dark, gloomy colors does something special. Another top notch flick to follow a top notch trailer.
I can’t get over how much I enjoyed Watchmen, the film as well as the comic run (still got it!). It’s such a sharp tale drenched in witty plot movements and gorgeously overlapping narratives… it’s almost unreal. Alan Moore’s original tale is stunning, and there’s justice done to that source in Zack Snyder’s massive movie.
The Dark Knight
I can sum this one up with the greatest of ease. This trailer is so epic, so broad and so thrilling, it’s better than half of the stuff we see Hollywood pumping out on a regular basis. ‘Nuff said.
Green Lantern was bad. No, it was really bad. Nah, scratch that as well. Green Lantern was nauseatingly bad. Force down the bile bad. And it couldn’t even pull off unintentional humor, let alone intentional laughs. The movie has me dumbfounded, just thinking about it. And yet here this is… an absolutely awesome trailer that gives us the idea that yes, it’s going to inject some humor, but it’s also going to be a very grim film. Someone did some slick editing with that trailer, because the film never knows what it wants to be, and that’s just the beginning of the pic’s problems.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Love it. Loads of action. Humor with a slight edge. Charismatic young group of well-casted performers. And tons of crazy outer space warfare. The movie redefines fun, and it’s one of the best on this entire list.
Spider-Man 3 looked ridiculous when trailers were being released. We caught glimpses of all sorts of insanity, and we all knew going into the film that not one, or two, but a handful of villains would be making their presence known. Sounded awesome, and the trailer made it look like it was going to live up to the earliest hype. Then the movie came out and went all weirdo, emo, jazz dancing love crap. And then it got worse when we see Venom for like seven tenths of a second, and this all comes after we’ve been let down by a somewhat premature collision with the Sandman.
Umm… do I really need to explain this insanity? I’ll confess to not enjoying the second Avengers film much, but this one was a winner, and so was this awesome trailer.
Michael Keaton rocked as Batman. Tim Burton had a clear vision for the character. Together they played crucial roles in creating one of the greatest Batman films in history. This trailer may not be loaded with as many explosions we see today, but it’s great all the same. The vintage look of Gotham alone should be enough to make you want to revisit this one.
I always feel a little offended when people attempt to tell me that Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II sucked. I thoroughly enjoy the film, which brings more dread to the franchise than the first and the third, and adds intriguing dynamics by bringing two enemies together to battle an even more menacing threat. A threat that stands to potentially leave every last one of them expired. Let’s be real, that new threat is AWESOME and he makes for some ruthless violence. You get a nice glimpse of the amazingness of this film right here in that nifty trailer.
I obviously haven’t seen this one yet, as it hasn’t hit theaters as of the time of this writing, but I’m stoked beyond belief for it. Apocalypse is no doubt one of the nastiest X-Men foes in existence. This one should be good – we know the trailer is awesome!
The Incredible Hulk
After Ang Lee’s 2003 disaster, Hulk, I feared it may not be possible to give this story a high caliber transfer. In 2008 Louis Leterrier proved me wrong. Oh, and Edward Norton slayed! The film is a blast with one of the better finales you’ll find within the Marvel Universe.
30 Days of Night
Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith scared the hell out of me with 30 Days of Night. It was such an original concept and it was written and illustrated seamlessly. Then word of a cinematic transfer arrived I got nervous, fearing no filmmaker could do the story justice. David Slade did it justice and then some. And the trailer is beautifully haunting, totally capturing the vibe of the film.
Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool is about as nuts as it gets. He’s also loaded with sharp one liners that keep audiences exhibiting a grin on their faces. Ryan Reynolds was born to play the role, and after pushing to make it a reality, he finally got the word to move forward with Deadpool. Thank the high heavens, this movie rocks. And so do all of the trailers to drop. They’re all drenched in self-deprecating humor and hot shot sequences and they’re some of the best we’ve ever seen.
I don’t care what anyone says: Pete Travis’ Dredd was an amazing flick. Atypical yet stunning cinematography keep our eyes stuck on the screen, and the breakneck speed of the picture is awesome. It’s insane violence from the jump and it doesn’t subside until a meager five minutes remain on the clock. Check out the trailer for a brief taste of the sublime!
Captain America: Civil War
After finding it difficult to get into Captain America: Civil War, I was totally impressed by the trailer. It’s got a perfectly measured mix of drama and action and I can see how many would flock after a trailer like this.
It’s dark. It’s evil. It’s murder. It’s revenge. It’s The Crow, one of the shining films of the 1990s, and it’s all about revenge on a small gang of hoodlums. The look of the picture is melancholy, so despairing that you’ll probably find yourself feeling miserable about life as the movie moves forward. That’s kind of the idea behind the film, and that idea was captured wonderfully in this trailer.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
I didn’t think it was possible to make a movie that ensures Batman and Superman will duke it out tirelessly feel boring. Not just boring, but painfully dull, yawn inducing, want my ticket price back boring.
Well, it turns out it is possible. Zack Snyder just made it happen. The only cool parts in this humorless and humanless actioner can be seen in the trailers, so go ahead and watch those while bypassing the ultra-straight edge drama film that has absolutely nothing to do with fun (the film avoids fun like the plague) or realism. Or Superman and Batman as you know them.
Eerie, eerie, eerie – eerie! That sums up From Hell perfectly. The story plays pretty faithful to Alan Moore’s brilliant book. There are a few iconic shots in the film and it’s every bit as dreadful as the best Ripper movies out there. The consistency of the picture offered a somewhat easy pass for the man in charge of putting this trailer together. I can’t be mad at that. A good flick is a good flick, and a good trailer is still a good trailer.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
I wish this movie had been good, because it looks absolutely ridiculous. The trailer looks like we’d be dealing with an unquestionable success story. Such was not the case. Sadly, Spirit of Vengeance was kind of a stinker.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Given how aesthetically pleasing Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy films are, it should come as absolutely no surprise that both films offer some magnetic teasers. The big red beast with a sense of humor and a low tolerance for beer is never a letdown. I’m still hoping for a third live action film, just to bring the story to a very definitive close. Whether we get one more or not, we’ve still got this awesome trailer.
Iron Man 2
I couldn’t pretend to enjoy Iron Man 2 if you held a firearm to my head. It just didn’t do it for me in any way whatsoever. And that’s why the trailer gets a mention here, because the trailer did do it for me. I loved it. I thought they nailed it with a solid look of Whiplash. And then I saw the movie and couldn’t force my mind to become stimulated to any degree. No matter how closely I paid attention, I just kept checking out. Another trailer superior to the film.
Okay, I admit it, this is a guilty pleasure film for me. It’s got problems stacked onto of cheese mountains, but it still entertains the hell out of me. There are a few creepy moments that work, but the truth is the movie’s tough to take seriously. The trailer certainly suggests a different film altogether, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it made. Until then I settle for the wicked trailer.
While R.I.P.D. didn’t end up being the outlandish alien-actioner I’d hoped for, it has a few moments. Most of those moments involve Jeff Bridges… not that that’s a surprise. What is a surprise is the trailer itself, which pretty much snags the coolest moments from the film and stuffs them all into a two-plus minute package.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
You wanna talk about absolutely insane movies? Let’s talk about Edgar Wright’s balls out, non-stop shockathon, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The film is every bit as wonderfully nutty as the concept itself, which sees the wildly dorky Scott Pilgrim tangling with seven scorned lovers, all for the heart of Ramona Flowers, a cute but quirky chick. Such a great movie with one of the greatest trailers on this list. Just watch the teaser – you’ll want to see the movie – which is awesome, for the record – ASAP.
I won’t call The Wolverine a masterpiece of a movie, but it’s a whole hell of a lot better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was pretty much a steaming pile of number two. In fact, this trailer for The Wolverine is better than everything about X-Men Origins… that’s gotta say something, right?
Man of Steel
I really don’t want to speak on this movie very much, but I’ll try to get through a brief notation. Zack Snyder erased the man from Superman, and turned him into a violent dude with destruction on his mind. Well, I guess it’s General Zod on his mind, but this version of Superman clearly doesn’t give a hoot about collateral damage or innocent bystanders, which pretty much goes against everything we’ve come to love about Superman. At least the trailer was cool.
After the train wreck that was Batman vs. Superman, my excitement for the Suicide Squad film has plummeted. Thus far it seems pretty obvious that the gang behind this new “DC Universe” doesn’t have a damn clue how to make it all come together. It was a nice idea, following in Marvel’s footsteps, but so far that idea has done nothing but backfire. Here’s hoping DC can gift us at least one single awesome contemporary film. I’m not holding my breath, though. Rather, I’m just enjoying this amazing trailer and preparing myself to acknowledge that every good part is featured in this brief cut.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Before comic adaptations were the in thing, Superman was fighting the good fight on the screen. While there’s something to enjoy from each of the first four films featuring Christopher Reeve, the fourth movie was the true blast of the lot. It also had an amazing trailer that had a youngster like me climbing the walls when I original saw it back in 1987. It’s an oldie, but it’s a goodie!
Marvel’s R-rated action comedy featuring everyone’s favorite mouthy merc, Wade Wilson has now surpassed the $328 million mark on the domestic market, and it’s been slaying internationally, as well. Believe it or not, it’s still got steam at the box office; it’s been available to the public for about five weeks, and it’s still drawing north of the $10 million weekly mark. That’s absurdly impressive.
But just how impressive is it? Over the last decade or so we’ve seen Marvel roll out huge blockbuster after huge blockbuster. And the vast majority of them really do win crowds over, toppling the $100 million mark almost without fail.
Marvel owns cinematic comic adaptations, plain and simple. DC looks to be playing catch-up, but with pictures like Deadpool being produced it’s going to take a lot of work to catch up to Marvel, or even rival the quality of their films.
Let’s get back to business, which is this very real question: Just how is Deadpool comparing to fellow successful Marvel releases?
The answer: Wonderfully! The pic has already hit $708 million worldwide with a current domestic mark of $328 million.
Here are 16 Marvel movies that had the momentum to comfortably trek past the $100 million mark, and did enjoy success on the international market, but didn’t quite have the steam to draw more than Deadpool has managed.
1 Ghost Rider – Domestic = $115 million – Worldwide = $228 million
2 The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Domestic = $134 million – Worldwide = $263 million
3 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer – Domestic = $131 million – Worldwide = $289 million
4 X-Men – Domestic = $157 million – Worldwide = $296 million
5 Fantastic 4 (2005) – Domestic = $153 million – Worldwide = $330 million
6 X-Men: First Class – Domestic = $146 million – Worldwide = $353 million
7 Captain America: The First Avenger – Domestic = $176 million – Worldwide = $370 million
8 X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Domestic = $179 million – Worldwide = $373 million
9 X2: X-Men United – Domestic = $214 Million – Worldwide = $407 million
10 The Wolverine – Domestic = $132 million – Worldwide = $414 million
11 Thor – Domestic = $181 million – Worldwide = $449 million
12 X-Men: The Last Stand – Domestic = $234 million – Worldwide = $459 million
13 Ant-Man – Domestic = $180 million – Worldwide = $519 million
14 Iron Man – Domestic = $318 million – Worldwide = $585 million
15 Iron Man 2 – Domestic = $312 million –Worldwide = $623 million
16 Thor: The Dark World – Domestic = $206 million – Worldwide = $644 million
Seeing as Deadpool is still a pretty new release, I don’t want to hit you with too many spoilers. But I will tell you that Ryan Reynolds was most certainly born to play the role of Wade Wilson AKA merc extraordinaire, Deadpool. This isn’t just action packed, it pulls no punches in regards to intensity, hurling about obscenities and engaging in intense violence like it’s all good for our health. And Deadpool, let me tell you, is one funny dude. You think his punchlines work wonders on page? Wait until you hear them on screen, delivered with spunk and edge.
Yes, Deadpool is an excellent comic book adaptation. And, after another watch or two, the movie just might crawl its way into my top 10. Right now the decision to include it feels a little premature. Deadpool hasn’t yet passed the longevity test, though I see no reason why it won’t live on in my memory and earn a place in my collection.
It’s an awesome flick. But these are 10 more awesome flicks, each more than worthy of elite branding.
10 Hellboy: Easily one of the most underrated comic book adaptations in existence, Guillermo del Toro did Mike Mignola’s brilliant creation justice like no other could have. This one is loaded with action, jaw dropping visuals and wicked creature designs, but at the end of the day it’s Hellboy’s (Ron Perlman) charisma that carries the flick. Insanely good comic adaptation.
09 Batman: Michael Keaton always felt like the greatest Batman, until Christian Bale came along and stole the franchise show. But that can’t erase Keaton’s success, and it doesn’t change the fact that Tim Burton’s gloomy take on the discreet crusader of Gotham City was excellent. It was the first time that Batman took to the screen as a genuinely dark character, and it isn’t going to forgotten anytime soon.
08 Superman IV: The first Superman film to feature Christopher Reeves in the titular role was great. It was memorable to say the least, and the second movie rocked thanks to General Zod’s presence. But Part IV was the one that truly pulled the hearts out of the chests of fans. It featured Superman in his first lengthy one-on-one superhuman showdown. Nuclear Man rocked, Lex Luthor was fantastic (thanks to Gene Hackman), and Superman duked it out like never before. A great film, despite the flaws.
07 30 Days of Night: I told you Hellboy was underrated? This is the one comic book adaptation that trumps it in the neglect department. I think a bit part of that comes in the fact that a surpring amount of fans don’t realize the story is based on a comic book. No matter, really, as 30 Days of Night was a special film that represented comic books and the horror genre in dazzling fashion. It’s creative, it’s intense and it’s aesthetically genius! And come on, holy hell at those disturbingly graphic decapitations!!
06 Guardians of the Galaxy: As a child, Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t a book I read. It wasn’t a book my friends read. To be honest, I don’t even recall seeing the book on any shelf. In short, I didn’t know these characters existed. But, in one swift motion James Gunn changed the game and made character like Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket loveable and memorable. The comedy is thick, the action is insane and the movie looks absolutely stellar.
05 300: Another picture that many fail to realize was a comic long before it was a film, Zack Snyder’s visual telling of Frank Miller’s sprawling war epic, 300 turned everyone’s head. Never has CGI looked so remarkable and clean. The image is absurdly convincing, the war is an awe inspiring spectacle, there’re cool monsters and the heroic Spartans elicit true excitement. Gerard Butler was born to play the role of Leonidas and that serves as a major piece of the puzzle that ultimately pushes this one into the realm of mastery.
04 X-Men 2: Still, in my humble opinion, X2 is the finest X-Men film to see release. The truth is, every film in the franchise, sans the third, is a top notch effort But X2 gave us exactly the kind of X-Men movie we needed. The Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike war is one of the greatest moments of combat in the entire series of films, which alone ensures this one ranks high. Especially high – as a diehard fan – on this particular list.
03 Spider-Man 2: Some will tell you that Sam Raimi is finest during his moments entangled in Ash Williams’ world. It’s hard to argue against that, but if you’re going to select one pic to rival his Evil Dead/Army of Darkness work, it’s Spider-man 2. While the Green Goblin was an awesome, awesome villain (and still one of my favorite Spidey villains), Doc Ock made for a much more enthralling villain on screen. Of all three of Raimi’s films, the second is most certainly the finest, bringing the action level to its edgiest degree, and keeping the romance just far enough in the background as to not swallow the story, Spider-man was one of the first truly excellent comic book movies.
02 The Avengers: The Avengers was bound to be a slick picture. In fact, it almost had to be. There was no possible way that Marvel or Paramount would risk this one being anything other than a grand slam. Bringing together Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye was just a stunning feat that may never be surpassed in any cinematic stance. We get a conflict worth thinking about and some of the most epic action to ever grace the screen, comic flick or otherwise. I don’t want to gush too much, and Avengers gives us a dozen or so reasons to do just that, but this one definitely earns the nukber two position.
01 Batman Begin/The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises: Some will see this as cheating and some will side with me. See, not only did I have trouble ranking each film in the Dark Knight trilogy related to other films, I had trouble rating the franchise itself. Batman Begins gave us a Batman we’d never seen. Dark Knight gave us the strongest performance in the history of the Batman/Gotham universe (God rest Heath Ledger’s soul) and The Dark Knight Rises saw the on screen birth of the first baddie to genuinely destroy the Batman, Bane. All three are ridiculously well-crafted and mesmerizing movies and they all stand among the greatest films ever made. Therefore, they all get the number one slot!