Movie Feature

5 underrated comic book movies

By Wang DexianMovies - 26 June 2012 8:30 AM

5 underrated comic book movies

After the monumental success of ‘The Avengers’, it's pretty safe to say that superheroes are all the rage right now. That success has led to increased hype over the impending release of ‘The Amazing Spider-man’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as well as more speculation over future projects from both Marvel and DC – including the rumoured development of movies like ‘Black Panther’, ‘Wonder Woman’ and the  ‘Justice League’.

So, while you're waiting for these movies to become a reality, why not take a gander at some of these past releases? Sure, you could always re-watch all those popular ones but there's something great about finding great things about these oft-forgotten movies can be very enjoyable as well.


‘Hulk’ ( 2003)

Prior to Mark Ruffalo's astonishing turn as Bruce Banner in this summer's ‘The Avengers’, the jolly jade giant took two previous trips to the silver screen. Let's take a look at his first: 2003's ‘Hulk’.

A victim of the comic book movie boom following successful adaptations of the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Spider-man’, the Lee Ang adaptation is best remembered for a massive Hulk that was almost 15 feet tall and too little HULK SMASH action.

Certainly there's a lot of weird stuff going on in this movie like the incredibly moody backstory and the Hulk having to fight a giant gamma radiated poodle. However, this Hulk flick features a deep introspective look at how Bruce Banner works.

Besides that, this film has some very creative and inventive ways of presenting a superhero movie, namely in the form of some comic book-like split screen panels. It's a rather frustrating watch, but there are some hidden gems in there if you're willing to withstand the lack of Hulk screen time.


‘Daredevil: Director's Cut’ (2003)

The flaws of this movie are obvious; the red leather suit earns quite a lot of derision around the fan-boy circle and rightfully so. Not to mention the ridiculous playground dance/fight scene between Elektra and Matt Murdock.

Even more so, the theatrical cut favours an increased focus on action over fleshing out Matt Murdock’s character. And while future Missus Affleck -- Jennifer Garner is nicely cast as the butt-kicking Elektra, there is way too much of her and her romance (with Murdock) shoved into the movie unnaturally, making the movie seem like just a set-up to that horrible spin-off movie.

The director's cut however, righted a lot of the wrong. Elektra is still there, but at least Daredevil doesn't forsake a civilian getting mugged in favour of making love to her -- big character faux pas there.

A subplot is also added, featuring rapper Coolio as a street thug framed for a murder he doesn't commit. This really taps into and shows the duality of Matt Murdock; how he's constantly fighting crime -- as lawyer by day and as the guardian devil of Hell's Kitchen by night.

The director's cut doesn't absolve the film of its flaws, but it certainly does elevate the film from a maddeningly cheesy one to one that is a little bit darker and more character-centric.


‘The Rocketeer’ (1991)

A truly old school movie that pays homage to the film serials of the 1930s and 40s. Based on a character created by writer/artist Dave Stevens in 1982, Disney adapted the character with a plan for a trilogy of films, but those plans were scrapped when the movie underperformed at the box office.

That's not to take away any credit from the film. Even though it was made in 1991, it was an example of how to successfully adapt a comic book without losing the charm of the original product.

‘The Rocketeer’ also features a great cast, with Jennifer Connelly and Alan Arkin being some of the actors audiences might find recognizable today. An added bonus is watching Timothy Dalton channel Errol Flynn in a cheeky villainous performance.

The film has a sweet and sincere charm that jumps off every frame, and that sense of swashbuckling fun would serve director Joe Johnston well in the similarly old school’“Captain America: The First Avenger’.


‘Blade 2’ (2002)

Unlike many of the movies on this list that are derided for their flaws and what not, ‘Blade 2’ is excellent. The first ‘Blade’ movie is often credited with starting the second wave of successful comic book movies. Sandwiched between that excellent debut and the disappointing third film is ‘Blade 2’.

Just as good as its predecessor but seemingly always forgotten, ‘Blade 2’ is an audacious film that clearly benefits from Guillermo Del Toro's tour of duty as director, managing to capture the kinetic energy of the comic books and successfully translating it onto screen.

Fun fact: The film's fight choreographer is none other than now-action superstar Donnie Yen. And in this age of countless reboots, should Marvel decide to do a new take of the daywalker himself, the new actor will have the near impossible task of living up to Wesley Snipes' take. He owned the role; tax evasion conviction or not.


‘30 Days Of Night’ (2007)

This movie seemed to come and go really quickly in the minds of the public, which really was a huge shame.

Based off the comic book mini-series of the same name, it's about a vampire invasion of Barrow, Alaska during a period of winter where there is no sun for a month. These vamps take advantage of this, feeding on the townsfolk without fear of daylight to stop them.

The scary part? This really happened in the town for real (the polar night phenomenon, not the vampire part). That ought to scare anyone with plans of moving there. Other than that, it's got a stellar pedigree, produced by horror legend Sam Raimi and directed by David Slade before he directed ‘Twilight: Eclipse’.

It's chilling, vivid and kind of unforgiving all at once. The only flaw of the movie is that it gets kind of repetitive once the invasion starts but if this sounds like your kind of movie, be sure to check it out.


Dexian or just Dex if you have an inability to pronounce Chinese names, is a fervent film lover who's known to read up on the most inane pieces of cinema trivia just so he has something to talk about when he's drunk. When he's not watching something, he can be found reading other useless Wikipedia articles on things like Nebulaphobia.

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