Comic Book movie releases A-Z by decade...
The period from 1960 to 1969 saw television used as the dominant medium for Comic Book properties. Foremost among them was Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Each episode, Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder, would face off against any number of villains played to the utmost camp by such veteran performers as Caesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar, Yvonne Craig, Vincent Price, Cliff Robertson, Milton Berle and Eartha Kitt. The success of the first season of the TV show spawned a 1966 movie that followed a very similar formula.
The 1970s didn't see any great improvement in the quality or quantity of Comic Book movies, as television continued to expand its footprint for genre-skewed entertainment. The one shining star was the release of Superman: The Movie in 1978. The film starred Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman and featured movie stars such as Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman in supporting roles. The film's commercial success demonstrated their was a huge audience for movies that used Comic Books as their source material, but it wasn't until Tim Burton's 1989 Batman that the Superman series had any series competition.
1960 - 1979 highlights include:
The 1980s saw an attempt by studios and film makers to develop a number of secondary Comic Book properties, such as Wes Craven's Swamp Thing and Lloyd Kaufman's Toxic Avenger series. A high profile adaptation of Flash Gordon hit screens at the beginning of the decade, but the high-farce acting and poor special effects failed to meet audience expectations in the post-Star Wars period. The Superman series continued to be the mainstay of Comic Book movies during the decade until 1989, when the Batman phenomenon was unleashed upon the global movie-going public.
1980 - 1989 highlights include:
Tim Burton's Batman finally turned the tide for Comic Book films, as movie makers finally saw the potential of the genre. Marvel and DC were seen as the primary providers of source material, but the emergence of secondary publishing houses around the world opened up the opportunity for other Comic Book related source material to be developed into feature films. Batman Returns was a stand-out in the first half of the decade with its dark, fatalistic tone, while Jim Carrey smashed it out of the park with his take on The Dark Horse character The Mask. Wesley Snipes found the perfect character in the Vampire-hunting Vampire - Blade.
1990 - 1999 highlights include:
The new millennium saw the development of new Comic Book movie franchises, the revitalization of the Batman and the emergence of the powerhouse that has become Marvel Studios. Bryan Singer's 2000 X-Men film was squarley pitched at an older audience and Sam Raimi finally did justice to Spider-Man. Christopher Nolan created the definitive Batman move in The Dark Knight and Robert Downey Jr. came back from being a jailed drug abuser to take the mantle of Iron Man, helping Marvel Studios to start developing its inter-connected universe of movies that led to The Avengers in 2012. Of all of these, Zack Snyder's flawed, but brilliant Watchmen epitomized the new order.
2000 - 2009 highlights include:
If the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s were a famine, then the period from 2010 is akin to the feasts that English King, Henry the VIII was famous for! Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox and Sony all have access to the different characters form the Marvel catalogue, while Warners Bros has the entirety of DC at their disposal. The volume and variety of Comic Book movies is now so great that it's no longer possible to categorize them as "Comic Book" movies. The Dark Knight Rises was about war & attrition, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the Comic Book equivalent of All the President's Men and Deadpool was - well - Deadpool!
2010 - 2019 highlights include:
Released: June 3, 2011 (USA)
The X-Men franchise gets a much-needed kick start after the Wolverine Origins 2009 misfire. McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence a Co help to raise the standard appreciably.
Released: May 23, 2014 (USA)
Bryan Singer returns to the franchise and delivers a stunning movie that stands as a great film & fixes the many continuity issues of previous sub-par entries.
Released: May 27, 2016 (USA)
The finale of the First Class trilogy sees the X-Men battle the greatest threat they have yet encountered. Bryan Singer returns for his 4th X-Men film.