In this era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's more likely that a comic book movie is going to be good than bad. However, prior to Iron Man in 2008, that was a different story. Most Superhero movies stank, but every once and a while there was one that would blow all others out of the water, and those were the inspirational ones behind the creation of the MCU. Each comic book movie on this list brought something new to the table, each in their own, unique way. All the way from early superhero popcorn flicks of the 1980s to the visionary, cinematic ones of the early 2000s, these are the 5 most influential comic book movies that made modern day superhero cinema possible.
5 - Batman (1989)
This movie proved that superhero movies didn't have to be fun and light hearted to tell a good story, and it wasn't too dark either. This kick started that late 80s to early 90s era of superhero movies that led to the creation of several iconic superhero films from the early 2000s and eventually, the creation of the MCU. Batman truthfully was a hit that helped gave studios faith in superhero movies.
4 - X-Men (2000)
Not only did this prove a superhero movie about a character other than Batman or Superman could be successful, it also helped prove that movies about Marvel characters couldn't completely suck. Sure, this is predated by Blade which was a good movie, but that isn't necessarily a superhero movie and most of the audience thought it was original content.
X-Men proved that Marvel superheroes that are nowhere near as famous as Superman and Batman can have good movies, and if this movie had never existed there wouldn't be an MCU today because the MCU is built up of B, C, and even D list superheroes as their seven pillars.
3 - Superman: the Movie (1978)
It may not hold up that well today compared to movies like 'Avengers: Endgame' and 'The Dark Knight' but we all have to remember that this was the comic book movie that started it all. This was the first legitimate superhero movie that wasn't just made for TV or something, and if it wasn't for this there wouldn't be any of the other movies on this list.
Not only did this prove that comic book movies could be successful, it proved that comic book movies could even be a thing in the first place. This movie revolutionized cinema and it would be a crime worthy of banishment to the phantom zone not to put in on this list.
2 - Spider-Man (2002)
Prior to this trilogy, most other comic book movies were very straight forward. They were mostly just fun, full of thrills and good fight scenes and mostly just entertaining stuff that didn't suck. They would typically have some emotional value, but not really enough to make the audience feel a bunch of different emotions to empathize with the main character. Then along came a spider.
This movie proved that superhero movies could be the perfect mixture of fun vibes, deep emotional value, relatable qualities in the main character, well executed comedy and compelling fight scenes. Just modernize all the good things about this movie along with it's sequels and there you go, you have most of the formula for the overall vibe of the MCU.
1 - Batman Begins (2005)
Even 16 years later in this era of MCU and DCEU movies, Batman Begins as well as it's 2 sequels, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are still widely considered to be some of the greatest comic book movies of all time. This was the first comic book movie to aim for a dark vibe that dealt with real world problems, and you'll notice a lot of dealing with real world problems in the MCU with messages in movies like Iron Man and Captain America: the Winter Soldier.
All the realistic aspects of this movie were also groundbreaking for superhero cinema, and in terms of character flaws and the way the world of the MCU works all came from this movie and it's sequels. Combine this with all that relatable lead stuff in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and there you have all the right elements that make the MCU movies as spectacular as they are today.
So there you have it, folks. These are the main five comic book movies that influenced the MCU and made it possible. Superman: the Movie, Batman and X-Men made it possible for these movies to be made in the first place, while Spider-Man and Batman Begins put all the key storytelling elements in place for the MCU's movies to be made. If you haven't seen any of these movies, I recommend you do because each one is a masterpiece in it's own way and each one brought something new to the table in the world of superhero cinema. That's gonna have to wrap it up for another blog post in Jack's Soapbox so I hoped you enjoyed. Thank you for reading and remember to stay geeky.
- Jack out