With comic book movies taking over the mainstream, you may think it's easy to spot a film based on a comic book – lots of action, colorful costumes, quippy one-liners, etc. And even if we told you a slightly less trope-heavy movie like Jim Carrey's The Mask was based on a comic book, you probably wouldn't be all that surprised. However, graphic novels like George Takei's They Called Us Enemy – a retelling of his youth in an American-run Japanese internment camp during World War II – is just one example of the power comic books have as a means of genuine storytelling. So, with that in mind, here are three popular movies you didn't know were based on comic books.
Road to Perdition (2002)
With our first entry, we have one of the most critically acclaimed comic book adaptations of all time, which was inspired by a Japanese manga, Lone Wolf and Cub. Seriously, comic books aren’t just for kids, people. Road to Perdition is set in 1931 during the Great Depression and follows Irish mob enforcer Michael Sullivan (played superbly by Tom Hanks) and his way-too-young-for-this-mess son, Michael Jr., as they hunt down the men who killed their family. We don’t want to say too much – watching this film unfold should not be spoiled. However, we will say this “comic book” movie is excellent and holds its own against any other noteworthy crime drama.
From Hell (2001)
Who would've guessed that one of the most prolific films about legendary London serial killer Jack the Ripper would come from the same mind that created Watchmen? Loosely based on Alan Moore's gritty graphic novel of the same name, From Hell uses the real-world fact that the Ripper was never caught and recontextualizes the Whitechapel Murders as a scandal leads to the doorstep of Buckingham Palace itself. With stellar performances from Johnny Depp as an opium-addicted inspector and the late, great Ian Holm as the primary physician to the royal family, while you may guess the identity of the killer early on, with this film, it's about the journey as much as the destination.
While not as well known as the other two entries, you'd be forgiven for not knowing Snowpiercer – the story of the last remnants of humanity circling the planet in the midst of another ice age. Crazy, right? Well, strap in because it gets crazier. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer tells the story of Curtis (Chis Evans) and his ragtag band of starving "tailers" who fight their way to the front of the train to demand equality from the wealthy elite who live in luxury. With famous Korean director Bong Joon-ho at the helm, this film has a visceral vibe – with the kind of raw brutality and exploration into the dark side of humanity that's rarely seen on screen. So if you're into gritty, post-apocalyptic dramas, take 90 minutes and give this one a watch.
For more fun-filled articles on a variety of subjects, be sure to check out our other Olympus Las Colinas blog posts.