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Dara Berkey’s Top 10 Comic Book Movies

Written by Dara Berkey

I have watched a lot of movies over the years. Anime movies. Superhero movies. Animated movies about superheroes.  My favourite movies are the Studio Ghibli movies, especially the ones directed by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. But since this about comic books and mostly superheroes, for me at least, most of my favourite comic book movies are animated. I’m just a big kid. You can tell that I have watched a lot of different movies over the years. I picked the ones that I don’t mind watching more than once and that I can recite lines from—also a few resonated with me and I related to it in one way or another.

10. Justice League: War

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Say what you will about DC’s New 52, but it was certainly a shake-up that was highly controversial and many fans were critical of the changes (including myself, I admit). Even with all the complaints and critics, guess what, DC still made money because people bought the comics anyway, even if they were not happy about changes or the storyline.

Justice League: War was the adaption of the New 52 origin of the Justice League in the comics. There were noticeable changes—for instance, the movie made Shazam a founding member and not Aquaman. Being a movie, pacing was different than in the comics. However, as far as a movie, I liked it. (Except for the Superman/Wonder Woman romance—I will always pretend that it never happened).

I was happy to see Shazam in it. I was very excited (if you remember he’s my favourite comic book character).  Teenage Billy was all kinds of petulant and angsty, as teenagers tended to be. I immediately liked that Batman and Superman, even if they got off to a rocky start, became quick friends. I also liked Cyborg’s introduction. Cyborg has a special place in my heart because of Teen Titans.

9. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

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Aquaman is quite the badass, even if he tends to be the butt of jokes about how useless his telepathy with fish powers are, but people tend to forget that he has other powers. Aquaman is stronger than the average man. In terms of fighting, he’s a brawler, for sure. He can breathe underwater, fight underwater, and he’s the freaking KING OF ATLANTIS, an underwater empire. (And considering that most of Earth is oceans…)

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis was better than Justice League: War. It is set a few months after its prequel story. Cyborg became a workaholic. Shazam hadn’t changed. Superman and Wonder Woman’s romance continued (Where’s Steve Trevor?  Who knows?). And Arthur Curry is dealing with his powers, missing his father, and his heritage. Oceanmaster, Arthur’s half-younger brother, was the main enemy. Also, honestly, Mera was so awesome in it. Mera was my favourite parts of the movie.

8. Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam

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Technically, it’s probably not considered a full-length movie because it was part of the DC Showcase shorts, but Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam was totally amazing. The story was about doing the right thing even if the right thing was harder. Superman and Shazam’s dynamic was so amazing in it. Superman is usually the brawn to Batman’s brains, but here, Superman was the seasoned hero and Shazam, literally, just receive his powers and being a kid, he’s naturally impulsive. Even if it was short, it was a great story. I think I’ve watched it about a dozen times already. 

7. Justice League: The New Frontier

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Justice League: The New Frontier is a movie based on the graphic novel by the name same by Darwyn Cooke. This takes into account the history of comic books since the invention of the modern superhero and real life events like WWII, Korean, Vietnam, etc. I really like this movie (as well as the graphic novel which is on my other list). There’s something profound and charming about it.

Neil Patrick Harris was one of the best Flashs. Martian Manhunter’s story, Batman’s story, Green Lantern’s story, and the others all came together in the end. The main villain/enemy was the Centre, an unknown prehistoric entity. The Centre wanted to wipe out the human race because it feared humans so much. It was kind of like Starro, because it was not about the bad guy, it was about heroes putting aside their differences and coming together against a common enemy.

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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This movie was the perfect sequel to the first movie and the events after the first Avengers movie. It’s a recent favourite of mine. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was about Steve and Bucky’s friendship, as well as Steve dealing with SHIELD’s darker side and the reveal about HYDRA. In actuality, it set up perfect for the third movie… which is number five on my list.

Falcon was introduced in this movie. I liked that Falcon was kind of a roll-with-it kind of guy and even though, he just met Steve, Falcon still helped him and Black Widow out. Black Widow and Steve’s friendship was pretty dynamic. He trusts her, but she doesn’t know how to trust. The fact remains that HYDRA was still a major threat after all this time, without anyone knowing it, and the fact that Steve will always have to make the choices he believes is right made it a pretty damn good movie.

5. Captain America: Civil War

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Captain America: Civil War was a great movie. It shattered the Avengers, though honestly there wasn’t much holding them together. I mean, Spider-Man was in it which was totally awesome. I like this Spider-Man so far. There was a lot of heroes in this one. The fight at the airport was the highlight. The movie did break my heart a little, especially since I am tired of superheroes letting their ego get in the way of fighting the actual bad guys, I still enjoyed Civil War.

Spider-Man, though… These geeky little newbie hero got shanghaied into Team Iron Man because Tony is kind of manipulative bastard with him. His brief introduction and cameo makes me and my dad so excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

4. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

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The Joker is the villain of all villains. He’s insane, deranged, and dangerous. Batman Beyond was the next chapter in the DCAU’s Batman line, as teenage Terry McGinnis took up the mantle of Batman with help from the old and cranky Bruce Wayne in a five minutes into the future Gotham. The movie showed us what happened to the Joker, to the second Robin (Tim Drake) and the things that changed.

Joker was always Batman’s most dangerous enemy and the legacy of Joker is a dark one. But the reason why I like this movie was the fact that Terry acknowledges the true reason that he is Batman. Terry was never a Robin, not like Dick or Tim (Jason and Damian didn’t exist in the DCAU). He didn’t have the burden of being Batman’s partner. Terry was Batman. He was Batman to feel like a worth-while human being, after his younger days as a delinquent and the time he spent in juvie. The loss of his dad made him steal the Batman suit, but that was not why he continued to be Batman.

3. Deadpool

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Deadpool is amazing. It was everything everyone loves about Deadpool. I can watch this movie over and over and not be amused or entertained by it. Ryan Reynolds did Deadpool some justice, after the whole mutilation of Deadpool done by Fox originally. The movie made Deadpool a sympathetic character—but not that much. Deadpool was as he was—an a$$hole and a psychotic mercenary who never shuts up! He’s not a hero and he knows it, but others (i.e. Colossus) thinks that he could be better.

He’s not a hero, he’s Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth. But Deadpool does have kindness towards others in him.  Before he became Deadpool, Wade did a job that involved a teenage girl’s stalker. He handled the situation and became annoyed that the girl called him her hero. He was no one’s hero, he argued. While he was being experimented on, he befriended another man and spoke about their bucket lists. When the man said that all he wanted to do was make blueberry pancakes for his kids, Wade’s heart melted and immediately egged Francis on in order to alleviate the other man’s torture. He’s no hero, though.

2. Iron Man

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The first Iron Man movie was one of my favourites, only because it was Tony Stark’s origin story. I like how even though it doesn’t seem like he changed but he did. He had a heart. The villain was eh, because frankly I think that guy was some minor character in the comics. As far as origin stories go, I liked the adaption of Iron Man’s origin. It was also pretty amazing that he built the first prototype of his suit in a cave in Afghanistan.

Character development for Tony Stark was important. He was a war-mongering playboy, philanthropist, genius billionaire at the start of the movie. However, he finally did what he wanted to do and changed his company from profiting from war and turning it to technology for a better future.

1. Iron Man 3

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I know I skipped Iron Man 2, because it was really about Tony dying and him being all melodramatic about it. Iron Man 3, however, was Tony coming to terms with the events of the first Avengers movie where he nearly died to save the world and also his identity outside of being Iron Man. His past as a genius jerk comes back to haunt him in the form of Killian and AIM is finally introduced to the MCU.

My favourite part of the movie was when Tony befriended the kid Harley. He remembered who he was in this little town. He was the Mechanic and he fixed things. He was an inventor.

These are my top 10 comic book movies. I’ll watch this movies over and over again. I really like these stories and characters. Iron Man, Captain America, Deadpool, the Justice League, Shazam/Captain Marvel, Batman, Aquaman, and the others all mean something and seeing them in animated or real-life movies is just something special. There’s just something about them.

Did I miss any classics from my list? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Dara Berkey

Superhero nerd. History nerd. Favorite personal hero--Shazam/The Original Captain Marvel. Favorite female hero--Any of the Batgirls. Favorite male hero, other than Shazam--Any of the Robins.

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