Having taken a look at our top films of the year, we thought we would zero in on the top ten comic book films of 2020. Of course, there isn’t nearly as much to work with as there should have been. But we will take what was given to us, and make due by taking a look at theatrical and straight to DVD films. 2020 marks the first year in twelve years that a Marvel film has not been released, however we have plenty of DC live-action and animated features to look at. Now let’s break down the ten best comic book films released in 2020.
Based on the comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1992, created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton. While the original character was created in 1992 with the name Angelo Mortalli, the film choses to follow Ray Garrison’s story that was created in 1997. Vin Diesel stars as Garrison, an elite soldier who is killed in combat but then re-animated with an advanced technology. This nanotechnology offers superhuman strength and rapid healing abilities, and sets out to hunt the people responsible for murdering his wife. Eventually, he discovers something more sinister behind his resurrection. A film with bold ideas and incredible source material, but is burdened with monotone acting and obvious special effects.
9) Project Power
While it isn’t based on any previous comic book or graphic novel, it still focuses on themes related to them which is what sets this in the same category. Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, most known for their shocking documentary Catfish and their work on the Paranormal Activity franchise. Bring on renowned actors Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to explore a world where superpowers are quickly accessible from a simple pill. As this pill begins being pushed through the streets and giving people super human abilities for five minutes, before experience harsh side-effects. A drug dealer, ex-soldier and cop come together to bring down the group responsible for creating the drug.
8) Wonder Woman 1984
A direct sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, rather than continuing from Justice League. Patty Jenkins returns in the directors seat, along with returning cast members Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman faces off against two of her iconic comic book villains, Barbra Minerva (Cheetah) played by Kristin Wiig and Maxwell Lord played by Pedro Pascal. When a stone is discovered, its powers are revealed to grant the wishes of those who hold it. However, each wish granted also comes with dire consequences. Barbra makes a wish to become like Diana, before Maxwell Lord steals it and makes the wish to become the stone. A fun follow up, that doesn’t exactly live up to its predecessor. But still manages to be a fun adventure that carries vibes of classic superhero films, such as Richard Donners 1978 Superman.
7) The New Mutants
A spin-off of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, comes a film based on team of young mutants created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1982. Directed by the director of The Fault in Our Stars, Josh Boone. The film is focused around five young mutants played by Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, Charlie Heaton, Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams as they are locked within an institute by Dr. Reyes to unlock the full potential of their abilities. Deriving from the usual action adventure X-Men film, The New Mutant takes a different approach by crafting a coming of age movie with horror aspects. While the film wasn’t entirely worth the wait, we were eager to finally see this film and the conclusion of Fox’s X-Men franchise before returning back to Marvel. We anticipate to see the mutants return to the big screen in the coming years.
6) Superman: Man of Tomorrow
Based on the 2015 graphic novel written by Max Landis, titled Superman: American Alien. An animated origin story of the Man of Steel, as he continues to discover the extent of his origins. He moves to Metropolis to work an internship at the Daily Planet. Suddenly another alien shows up, by the name of Lobo. The interaction ends up creating an even larger threat to the world in the form of Parasite, a man mutated from an accident that turns him in a life leeching monster. Clark must become the hero everyone needs by transforming into Superman. With the help of Martian Manhunter and Lobo, they will attempt to subdue this powerful new entity. WarnerMedia brings on new writers and directors to craft unique new stories to life for the future of DC’s original animated films with this uniquely designed feature film.
A film you probably didn’t realize was based on a graphic novel. Published by Oni Press in 2014 and written by Andres Park with Joe and Anthony Russo, featuring illustrations by Fernando Leon Gonzalez. The Russo Brothers also wrote the screenplay for the film and made the decision to give the director’s chair to their stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave. The creating team decided to use Chris Hemsworth as their main protagonist to bring the graphic novel to life. Hemsworth plays as Tyler Rake, a deadly mercenary assigned to rescue a crime lords kidnapped son. Full of intense and well-crafted action scenes that make you ask the question “How did they do that?”.
4) The Old Guard
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, created by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez in 2017 and published by Image Comics. Directed by small-time director Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Old Guard stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Charlize Theron. Theron plays as the leader of a covert group of mercenaries with the ability of immortality. Due to their inability to die, they work to protect the world from global threats. Suddenly during a mission, they are met by someone like them and recruit her to be part of their team and protect her from threats intending on destroying the immortal group. An over the top action adventure film, that cements Charlize Theron as a modern female action star.
3) Superman: Red Son
An adaptation of the three issue miniseries created by Mark Miller, as part of DC Comic’s Elseworld stories which looks at alternate versions of DC characters. This one takes place in a world where Kal-El’s ship didn’t crash in Smallville, but instead in the Soviet Union. Long time DC Animation director Sam Liu (The Death and Reign of Superman) returns to craft this epic story with Jason Issacs as Superman. As this version of Superman acts as the Soviet Union’ champion and fights for Socialism, Stalin and international expansion of the Warsaw Pact. Those belief’s are threatened when Lex Luthor and the United States send their own supe rpowered version of Superman to battle against Russia’s. Other beings attempt to bring an end to Superman’s reign including a Red Son version of Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan and Batman.
2) Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
The conclusion to the DC Animated Original Universe, comes this incredible story that finds the Justice League on their way to Apokolips so they can put an end to Darkseid before he makes another attack. However, while we usually predict our heroes to succeed in their mission. Things go bad, when Darkseid manages to put an end to the Justice League. Years later, a de-powered Superman forms the remaining Justice League, Teen Titan and Suicide Squad members to make one final desperate attempt to destroy Darkseid and restore humanity to what it was once known as. An emotional and shocking film that is also a worthy conclusion to the established shared animated universe DC and WarnerMedia has crafted.
1) Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.
The DC film no one was asking for, but happy we got. Birds of Prey adds a new core member to the iconic team, Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie returns to the role of the Clown Princess of Crime, as she tries to make a life for herself after splitting up with the Joker. When Roman Sionis seeks a prized diamond, he forces Harley Quinn to locate the gem. Quinn becomes interconnected with GCPD officer Renee Montoya, assassin Helena Bertinelli and bodyguard Dinah Lance as they all attempt to retrieve the diamond from a thief named Cassandra Cain. All with their own motive to get their hands on the diamond, decide to work together to bring down Sionis instead. An action packed film with incredible scenes, crafted by the team who worked on John Wick makes this film worth the watch and makes this the most entertaining comic book film of the year.