The Darkest Comic Book Movies, Ranked – MovieWeb

Comic books have their dark moments on and off the page. Here are the darkest comic book movies, ranked.
Comic books are known to entertain first and ask questions never. Clever characters and storylines are innocent enough for Saturday morning cartoons. The practicality and probability of a comic book world are hard to realize, but the imagined origins are free-range and bountiful. Thanks to the multiverses and reboots, the superhero genre will live on in perpetuity. Marvel and DC Comics have a rich history and wealth of do-gooders and evildoers to choose from for a movie franchise.
Weekly issues keep hitting the shelves and new stories are always being told. The story arcs of pulp fiction have come a long way since their campy and often ridiculous streak in the Golden Age of Comic Books. By the sixties through the eighties, comics became social commentary and vehicles for darker topics. The X-Men teenagers faced ageism, xenophobia, and racism. Batman had to face the death of his ward Robin the Boy Wonder before he became addicted to steroids in a story inspired by the Just Say No anti-drug campaigns. Comic book movies have adapted the foreboding formula and turned themselves into a real Gloomy Gus.
Superman is the poster boy for men in tights. He has the can-do spirit of a Boy Scout and the invincibility of a god. For the Zack Snyder film Man of Steel, the superhero experiences what it means to be human in a baptism by fire. Kal El loses his parents and home planet Krypton to Armageddon. He was sent into space with his dying planet's information. As a teenager, Clark Kent is forced to conceal his powers and take the abuse of bullies. When Kryptonian militant and dissenter Zod comes to Earth to level its land for a new Krypton, Superman is tested again. To end the mass destruction of Zod, Superman begrudgingly snaps the villain's neck. This scene gave a new look into the humanity and morality Superman possessed, two qualities he was willing to jeopardize or accept in the face of evil.
Street smart exorcist John Constantine always gets his demon. Based on the Hellblazer, John Constantine series from DC Comics, Constantine follows the occult expert's unique ability to communicate with and witness angels and demons. Constantine works with half-angels to secure a divine deal that will help him gain entrance into Heaven in exchange for sending demons back to Hell. He follows a case involving his partner and detective's sister who committed suicide to stop the antichrist from assuming dominion over the Earth. The plan leads Constantine to take a desperate ultimatum, awakening the past trauma of visions he could not stop then or now. He commits suicide to save the host of Lucifer and the world from damnation. The Devil restores Constantine's mortality as a cruel joke, thinking he'll find his way to Hell in the end.
In the future, crime is commonplace. Law and order is upheld by a strict judicial police known as the Judges. Dredd is based on the 2000 AD comic strip Judge Dredd, where the titular character follows the law to the last letter, enforcing justice as judge, jury, and executioner. A drug lord sells the addictive substance Slo-Mo and takes up arms inside a high-rise. During a raid and hostage situation, the Judge is locked inside the building and must climb to the top to end the drug bust.
V for Vendetta depicts a totalitarian future in Britain where its High Chancellor controls, imprisons, and executes the masses. Freedom fighter and vigilante V dons his Guy Fawkes mask to overthrow the British government and its dictatorial rule. The secret espionage, cruel revenge, and silver-tongued action are as dark as the Alan Moore graphic novel.
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The Merc with a Mouth doesn't let up with his bullets or his black comedy. Deadpool adapts the Marvel antihero with a self-aware satirical edge that strikes the balance between gritty and funny. Wade Wilson was a mercenary for hire who contracted terminal cancer. He is approached by a solicitor promising a cure to his disease, which was a front for secret experiments for mutagenesis. His body counteracts the disease, giving him a self-healing mutation at the cost of looking like the Devil's ball sack. Combining his militant prowess with his newfound power, Wilson becomes the vigilante Deadpool to hunt down the man who gave him a fate worse than death.
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Blade is the product of a premature birth caused by a vampire bite. The child born was Eric Cross Brooks, who became the hybrid human-vampire who kills the bloodsuckers. He is known as the Daywalker, having the supernatural strengths of a vampire without the weaknesses, except for his need to drink blood to survive. Blade's crusade against the vampires is creatively violent and the first dark superhero and successful comic book adaptation that led to more from Marvel.
Getting married was a death sentence for Eric Draven. On Devil's Night, October 30, he and his bride-to-be were murdered the day before their wedding. A lone crow perches on his tombstone, summoning Eric out of his grave one year to the date. The supernatural Gothic vengeance is an ominous piece of poetic justice that only Brandon Lee could perform.
Old Man Logan has seen better days. First, they steal his DNA to create children-clone mutants. He escapes with his clone daughter Laura and his mentor and founder of the X-Men, Charles Xavier. They hide out under the good graces of a generous family who are then killed by Logan's clone, X-24. The mutant killer ends Xavier's life, kidnaps Laura, and finally impales Logan with a tree branch. The Wolverine fought the good fight even when death surrounded him and that makes Logan one of the greatest send-offs for a superhero and one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.
The descent into madness Joaquin Phoenix put himself through in Joker is insatiably self-destructive. Having a poor family unit, struggles with mental health, and a wayward lot in life, Arthur Fleck decides to make a violent change. Rather than be belittled and ostracized, he kills those who have done wrong by him, whether they know it or not. Beyond its explosive ending, themes of nihilism, counterculture, and media-induced conformity gave the film its well-deserved R-rating and success.
The Dark Knight understands the philosophy of evil. The Batman adaptation also understands that evil cannot be completely understood, only experienced, if one should be so unfortunate. Christopher Nolan filmed a character study like no other when he cast Heath Ledger as Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime is the only one who can bring Batman, perhaps the most disciplined superhero, down from his roost. Unnerving, diabolical, and hauntingly true villainy has never been darker.
Brent is an author, educator, and freelancer from Lake Mary, FL. He was born in his local Blockbuster, teething on action, horror, and science fiction VHS tapes. Today, he runs his business, Wiggins’ Words, as an editor, tutor, and poet on demand.


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