10 Greatest Non-Superhero Comic Book Movies – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Comic films are not exclusively about superheroes; some of the best don’t have a single one in sight.
In the age where comic books and superhero movies go hand in hand, it's easy to forget that comic books aren't just about the famous heroes from Marvel and DC. Since the first series of comics became popular, Hollywood has been adapting them into movies to varying degrees of success.
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While General audiences will always consider The Avengers, The Batman, and other big-budget blockbusters as classic comic book movies, loads of unique comic books have been brought to the big screen. From horror to action and science fiction, there's a world of fascinating comic book stories which have received the Hollywood treatment.
American Splendor revolves around Harvey Pekar (played by Paul Giamatti), the American Splendor comic series author. While most comic book adaptations will focus solely on translating the comic, American Splendor is part biography, documentary, animation, comedy, and drama all rolled into one visually striking production.
While Giamatti gives a fantastic performance as Pekar, the film is more than just a traditional narrative; between all the visual variety and real-life interviews with the actual Harvey Pekar, there is real heart to American Splendor. Upon its release, the movie was met with critical acclaim, most notably famous film critic Roger Ebert giving it a perfect four out of four stars review.
From the mind of Scottish satirist Armando Iannucci, The Death of Stalin is based on the French comic La Mort De Staline. The comic and film focus on the Soviet Council of Ministers' struggle for power following the death of leader Joesph Stalin in 1953. The movie boasts an all-star ensemble cast, including Steve Buscemi, Jason Issacs, Simon Russell Beale, Rupert Friend, and Paddy Considine.
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The Death of Stalin features Iannucci's style of black comedy to great results. While the film was banned in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, the rest of the world could enjoy a hilarious flick full of biting satire that was beautifully written and acted by the all-star actors.
Hollywood's first attempt at bringing John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's comic to movie theaters was the poorly received 1995 Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone in the titular role. Due to the film's failure, interest wasn't high when a new Dredd movie was set to come out in 2012, this time with Karl Urban taking the mantle.
While Dredd was an unfortunate box office bomb, the film has become an action cult classic in the years since. Urban's performance as the Judge has become iconic and a faithful portrayal of the comic character. Alex Garland's (the writer of Sunshine and Annihilation) script perfectly moved the visually stunning action sequences from one set piece to the next.
Few things go better together than director David Cronenberg and actor Viggo Mortensen. A History of Violence was the first of three critically acclaimed collaborations between the two (Easterns Promises and A Dangerous Method coming out in later years). Based on John Wagner's work of the same name, A History of Violence tells the story of Tom Stall, a family man who stops a robbery in his small town, causing his life to begin to crumble.
There is a lot of history surrounding A History of Violence, along with being the last Hollywood movie released on VHS; Mortensen has also called the film the best he's ever been in. Receiving two Oscar nominations, including best adapted screenplay, it's easy to see where Mortensen is coming from.
Coming off the success of Kick-Ass and X-Men First Class, director Matthew Vaughan had a lot of clouts to make any movie he wanted. Vaughn chose to adapt Mark Millar and Dave Gibbon's comic series of the same name about a secret spy agency called the Kingsman.
Boasting a host of heavy-hitting actors, including Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson, Kingsman: The Secret Serviceis a bonkers and wild action comedy that never lets up. The film became Vaughn's highest-grossing film earning $414 million worldwide. While the movie would follow it up with Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The King's Man, the 2014 action romp remains a fun flick.
It's hard to find a movie that suffered from the craziness of the Covid-19 pandemic in Hollywood worse than the 2020s The Empty Man. After receiving reportedly poor test screening results in 2017, distributor 20th Century Fox was clueless. Eventually, the film was caught up in the whirlwind of Disney buying 20th Century Fox, coupled with the pandemic, which led to the horror film being quietly released with little marketing.
Despite all of that, David Prior's adaptation of Boom! Studios comics became a beloved cult success story. Telling the tale of an ex-cop (played by James Badge Dale) investigation into a missing girl, The Empty Man has received widespread praise for its acting, direction, and horror elements.
There are few comic book writers more well-known than Alan Moore. Set in a fascist totalitarian future, V for Vendetta is considered one of Moore's most striking works. Unsurprisingly the comic would be adapted for the screen with the Wachowskis (famous for being the minds behind the Matrix franchise) helming the script.
Actor Hugo Weaving played the anarchist V opposite Natalie Portman as Eve Hammond, a young woman caught up in V's campaign of destruction. Weaving's performance has become iconic, and the movie was a massive financial and critical hit in 2005. V for Vendetta's massive success also resulted in Guy Fawkes masks (the mask V wears in the movie) selling like hotcakes.
Frank Miller's Sin City was never going to be an easy film for Hollywood to translate to cinema screens. Yet it was an undertaking that director Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller himself were determined to get right. Based on the third and fourth books in Miller's comic series, Sin City is a neo-noir anthology film revolving around several characters in a dark and violent city.
Sin City was a massive hit, grossing $158 million worldwide and heaps of critical acclaim. The movie was released in 2005 to universal praise from critics and audiences alike. The film's technique of rendering most visuals in black and white, aside from specific objects, made for visually spectacular moments.
Men in Black is one of the few comic book adaptations where the movie is much more remembered than the source material. That's no knock against the original comic by Lowell Cunningham and Sandy Carruthers, whose work laid the groundwork for the movie to build on.
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Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones lead the ways as agents J and K of the secret Men in Black, an organization responsible for dealing with aliens on Earth. Smith and Jones have a highly entertaining dynamic. Coupled with Vincent D'Onofrio's brilliant performance as the villain, and director Barry Sonnenfeld's masterful camerawork, it all makes for one kind of science-fiction comedy adventure.
When it comes to non-superhero comic book movies, The Crow is one of the more tricky. At the same time, it could be argued that Eric Draven (played by the late great Brandon Lee) is a hero in the most basic sense. Draven's resurrection into the violent Crow to avenge his fiancée's death is a good-fashioned revenge story set in a bleak city of crime.
While the 1994 Alex Proyas-directed movie will always be remembered for the tragic death of lead star Brandon Lee, The Crow stands on its own as a terrific comic book movie. Spearheaded by Lee's masterful performance, immaculately directing, and some truly awe-inspiring moments, The Crow remains one of the genre's best adaptations.
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