The 24 Best R-Rated Comic Book Movies Ever, Ranked
We get it, Hollywood: You LOVE comic book movies right now. So hard. Thankfully, so do audiences, in a way that allows for both PG-13 and R-rated fare to hit the multiplex. Here are the best comic book movie adaptations for the 17-and-older crowd.
24. 'Punisher: War Zone' (2008)
"War Zone" has the very dubious distinction of being the best Punisher movie to date. Thought, that's not saying much since all of them have been varying degrees of meh. It's certainly not high art, but you can't help but love this movie for its gleeful, gratuitous violence and over-the-top performances.
23. 'Timecop' (1994)
Funnily enough, those few comic book adaptations that did succeed in the '90s were adult-oriented and based on obscure properties. Most Jean Claude Van Damme fans probably don't even realize this is a comic book movie. But most would agree "Timecop" is one of his best, even though the movie's story and time-travel logic don't really hold up.
22. 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' (2018)
"The Golden Circle" didn't quite live up to the standard of the original. In fact, it is such a messy, bloated movie, connected together by tenuous exposition and CG-choked set pieces, it all bu sucks the life out of this bourgeoning franchise. (Like, who really wants a third movie at this point? Other than Fox's new potential owner, Disney?) The plot is clunkier, and it doesn't feature nearly enough of new additions like Channing Tatum and Halle Berry. And the profane energy of the first film has worn out its charm here.
21. 'Constantine' (2005)
While generally panned on release, "Constantine" has developed a healthy following over the years. The simple fact is that while not a great adaptation of the DC source material (it doesn't even take place in England), it is a perfectly enjoyable supernatural thriller in its own right.
20. 'Atomic Blonde' (2017)
"Atomic Blonde" didn't wind up being the second coming of "John Wick" some were expecting it to be. But if you want a stylish, gorgeously shot action movie starring a butt-kicking Charlize Theron, you really can't go wrong here. Minus the way-too-convoluted plot.
19. 'Wanted' (2008)
Sprinkle a little "Fight Club" into your superhero origin story and you get "Wanted." While the film jettisons many of the graphic novel's superhero trappings, the core appeal of a story about a lowly cubicle drone discovering his calling as a deadly assassin remains.
18. '300' (2006)
Director Zack Snyder has built his career crafting brooding, visually lavish takes on iconic graphic novels. Maybe that approach didn't work so well when it came to the DCEU, but it suited 300 just fine. Who knew ancient Spartans were so fond of slow-mo?
17. 'Deadpool 2' (2018)
If lacking some of the novelty factor of its predecessor, "Deadpool 2" is nonetheless one of the best superhero movies in a very competitive year. The already entertaining Wade Wilson is bolstered by the addition of new fan-favorite X-Men like Cable and Domino. Plus, any movie that takes time to poke fun at "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is a winner in our book.
16. 'Kick-Ass' (2010)
"Kick-Ass" is supposed to be a movie about what happens when ordinary mrons put on spandex and fight crime. And while it winds up being just as ridiculous and implausible as most superhero movies, at least it has a sense of humor and a clear self-awareness. Where else can you see Nic Cage dress up as a faux-Batman named Big Daddy?
15. 'Blade II' (2002)
"Blade II" is pretty much everything we want out of a superhero sequel. It honors the original while also pushing the formula in some fun new directions. It's hard to go wrong with a director like Guillermo Del Toro and a story that forces our favorite vampire slayer to team up with his enemies against a common foe.
14. 'The Crow' (1994)
Before movies like "Sin City" and "300" came along, "The Crow" showed us what it looks like when a comic book truly comes to life on the big screen. That, plus a mesmerizing performance from the late Brandon Lee is enough to cement "The Crow's" status among the greats.
13. 'Sin City' (2005)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more slavishly faithful comic book adaptation. "Sin City" draws liberally from Frank Miller's comics, recreating scenes and dialogue almost perfectly for a visually stunning look at the sleaziest, grimiest city known to man. Its influence can be felt even today.
12. 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' (2014)
What if the next James Bond was just a humble street punk from London? That's basically the premise driving this wickedly fun action comedy. Watching "Kingsman" makes it clear why Netflix was so keen on locking down co-creator Mark Millar.
11. 'Snowpiercer' (2013)
The premise might not make a lot of sense, but "Snowpiercer" is easily one of the most unique and inventive post-apocalyptic movies to come along in a while. It tells a great story about class warfare, constantly subverting expectations and showing just how strange and inhospitable the future could become.
10. 'Dredd' (2012)
2012's "Dredd" managed to systematically outdo its 1995 predecessor in pretty much every way. It's a far leaner, meaner film, and one more concerned with honoring the source material. It's too rare to see an action movie with this level of craft and precision.
9. 'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' (2015)
Phoebe Gloeckner's acclaimed autobiographical graphic novel became an equally acclaimed movie. It's a smart, unflinching look at a troubled teenage girl who becomes swept up in a relationship with her mom's boyfriend. Unfortunately, this is one case where glowing reviews didn't translate to box office success.
"Blade" may well be one of the most influential action movies ever made. Not only did it revive the superhero genre one year after "Batman & Robin" practically killed it, it also blended martial arts, gore and a techno aesthetic in a way we had never seen before. Not only does it hold up, it doesn't get enough credit for its accomplishments.
7. 'Ghost World' (2001)
Dan Clowes' "Ghost World" is one of the quintessential coming-of-age stories in comics, and the movie adaptation captured its appeal perfectly. It's impossible not to be swept up in the lives of the two teen leads as their lives slowly drift apart after high school graduation.
18. 'Deadpool' (2016)
"Deadpool" was unlike any X-Men movie fans had ever seen when it exploded into theaters in 2016. This gleefully inappropriate action comedy gave the X-Men line the dose of self-awareness it needed. And beneath all the raunchy jokes and meta humor, it managed to tell a heartwarming story about two weirdos finding love against all odds.
5. 'Blue Is the Warmest Colour' (2013)
Proving that R-rated comic book movies don't always have to be about gore and inappropriate humor, this romantic drama serves as a captivating look at the course of a relationship over several years. The raw sexuality and intense emotions driving the film can make it a difficult watch, but a rewarding one all the same.
4. 'American Splendor' (2003)
Harvey Pekar is the ultimate curmudgeonly everyman. That's the source of his appeal as a comic book writer and of this clever biopic. "American Splendor" blends reality and cinema by featuring both Paul Giamatti's Pekar and the real Pekar himself, reflecting on his sudden Hollywood stardom.
3. 'A History of Violence' (2005)
Comic book movies don't tend to rake in a lot of wins during awards season, but no one could ignore the impact of David Cronenberg's masterful take on "A History of Violence." Between Cronenberg's skillful eye and some top-notch performances, this is one adaptation that exceeds the source material.
2. 'Road to Perdition' (2002)
"Road to Perdition" has a strong pedigree behind it, with the acclaimed graphic novel itself drawing heavily from the seminal manga series "Lone Wolf and Cub." This underrated movie from "Skyfall" director Sam Mendes more than lives up to that pedigree. It's easily one of the best gangster movies of the 21st Century.
2. 'Logan' (2017)
While not the last X-Men movie to come out of Fox before the impending Disney takeover, "Logan" can and should be looked at as the swan song for this series. It's tough to imagine a better note to go out on. This sequel features Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart playing their iconic X-Men roles one more time, as a dying Wolverine finds himself given one last chance to save the mutant race and find meaning in a life defined by brutality and suffering. The final shot of this movie gets us every time.