Marvel Studios kicked off the comic book movie craze in 2008 with the debut of “Iron Man.” Since its inception, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has blossomed into a cross-platform phenomenon with a highly successful string of movies and TV shows, both network syndicated and Netflix originals. Fox’s X-Men series continues with hits such as “X-Men Apocalypse,” while DC’s “Suicide Squad,” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” vie for attention at the box office.
Yet the comic book movie preceded Marvel Studios, and isn’t even relegated to Marvel and DC. Sure, the MCU with its expansiveness and accessibility arguably popularized comic films, but there are loads from other sources. Here are 20 non-Marvel Studios comic book movies you should watch:
In 1998, Blade sliced its way into theaters, and while it may not have been the first comic book big screen adaptation, it arguably kickstarted the genre, proving its appeal to the masses. Though the original is an undeniable classic, the 2002 follow up “Blade II” directed by Guillermo del Toro is a superior film. From the action to soundtrack, and the cool hybrid villains, Blade II is one of the most underappreciated comic book films to date.
Chris Evans was no stranger to portraying superheroes when he donned Captain America’s star spangled suit. Previously, Evans played Johnny Storm/Human Torch in Fantastic Four and Casey Jones in the 2007 animated feature TMNT. 2013’s Snowpiercer, based on the French graphic novel, showed the veteran actor portraying a decidedly more conflicted character in Curtis Everett. Starring alongside Jamie Bell and veteran actors John Hurt, Ed Harris, and Tilda Swinton. A distinctly polarizing film, Snowpiercer holds a 95% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 72% audience score. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a wholly enjoyable comic adaptation. The 2014 film benefits from a terrific cast and engaging plot, plus it’s extremely witty. What Scream and Cabin in the Woods did for the horror genre, Kingsman does for the spy film. Lampooning cleverly tropes inherent to the spy thriller, Kingsman may offer Samuel L. Jackson’s best role to date (sorry Jules). Due to incredible popularity, it’s been granted the sequel treatment a la 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
Frank Castle remains one of the comic world’s more fascinating characters, and Thomas Jane’s portrayal in the 2004 The Punisher film offered a fresh take. It’s notably gritty when compared to other comic book fare, and delves into Castle’s origin story. The grim take and bleak backstory posit it as a fresh, though dark, adaptation, like the anti-Deadpool.