Are you tired of the regular happy-go-lucky superhero movies adapted from comics and searching for something darker to spice up your movie list?
With so many dark films, including your favorite horror movies with such unrealistic plots and exciting ways to die, you’ll be convinced it’s straight out of a comic book.
Most times that is not the case. If you want to check out some of the dark movies adapted from comic books, we’ll share some of our favorite Dark Comic book movies with a little sneak peek to let you know what you can expect.
1. Constantine (2005)
- Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare.
- Running Time: 121 minutes.
Any list of Dark Comic book movies will be incomplete without placing Constantine among your top picks. From the directorial stables of Francis Lawrence, we have this movie based on Hellblazer from DC Comics.
Keanu Reeves plays the lead role of Constantine, a human occult consultant with supernatural abilities to communicate with demons and Angels.
Constantine has a terminal illness and is already a sure candidate for hell after a suicide attempt in his early life, and he seeks a way to alter his fate.
Along the line, he uncovers a supernatural being’s plot to unleash Hell on Earth in connection to the death of Detective Angela Dodson’s sister. Together they work to prevent this impending evil, and Constantine will also find a solution to his issues.
2. Sin City (2005)
- Starring: Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood.
- Running Time: 124 minutes.
Next on our list of Dark Comic book movies is Sin City, produced and directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez.
Frank has also worked on other notable films like 300, Daredevil, Batman, Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, and Wolverine, among others. The movie is based on a comic series written by Frank.
To some, Sin City is like a “comic book brought to life,” based almost literally on four stories from the Sin City comics with some intertwining plots. In one of the stories, there’s a killer, The Salesman.
In another, we see Bruce Willis, an ailing cop, as his path crosses with the Yellow Man in a bid to prevent his pedophilic conquests, and the last story about hookers, cops, and mobs all rendered in black & white with a touch of red, green, yellow and blue here and there.
3. The Crow (1994)
- Starring: Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Bai Lang, Sofia Shinas, Anna Levine
- Running Time: 102 minutes.
Any list of Dark Comic book movies must include The Crow, one of the kings in a kingdom of horror classics.
The film even had a truly horrifying incident on set, which almost led to filming for the movie being put on complete hold after Brandon Lee was fatally injured on set. The film is based on a comic of the same name written by James O’Barrs.
The movie starts with the deaths of Eric Draven, a musician, and Shelly Webster a day before their wedding, which was scheduled to happen alongside Halloween.
A year after the incident, Eric is summoned from the grave by a crow, and he embarks on a quest to end the lives of everyone involved in their murder, leaving a trail of blood and dead bodies behind him.
4. Constantine: City of Demons (2018)
- Voice Cast: Matt Ryan, Damian O’Hare, Laura Bailey, Emily O’Brien, Rachel Kimsey, Robin Atkins Downes.
Apart from live-action movies, there are also animated Dark Comic book movies like Constantine: City of Demons, amongst others.
This movie is adapted from Mike Carrey and Leonardo Manco’s graphic story, Hellblazer: All His Engines, where the character, John Constantine, an occult enthusiast, and demon slayer, appears.
It was released in 2018 as a sequel to Justice League Dark. John is reunited with his old friend Chas after Chas’s daughter Trish falls into an inexplicable coma.
In their quest, they discover Trish’s soul is trapped within a demon, and all this is somehow linked to his arch nemesis, the demon Nergal.
Would they be successful in their quest, and what prices will they have to pay along the line?
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
- Starring: Christan Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman
- Running Time: 152 minutes.
The Dark Knight is a fan favorite among Dark Comic book movies. The character in this movie is based on Batman, a superhero from the DC comics, and it was released as a sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins. The major players in this movie are Batman, James Gordon, and the Joker.
Organized crime is at an all-time high in Gotham City, leading the district attorney, Harvey Dent, and police lieutenant, James Gordon, to join forces with Batman to check its spread.
At the same time, the organization comes up with plans to outsmart the trio, and Batman might just become the villain in this story.
6. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
- Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard.
- Running Time: 165 minutes.
The Dark Knight rises also comes from the Nolan stables and is one of the top-rated dark comic book movies, and it is also the sequel to 2008’s The Dark Knight.
One crime-solving trio from the previous installment in The Dark Knight trilogy is presumed dead, but crime in Gotham City is at an all-time low.
Bruce Wayne is mourning the death of his love interest, and at that time, a new evil lurks around, and it plans to bring Gotham to its knees.
Will Bruce recover in time to prevent the complete ruin of Gotham and have his heart healed in the process, or he’ll let the darkness consume him for good?
7. Justice League Dark (2017)
- Starring: Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Camilla Luddington, Nicolas Turturro, Ray Chase, Jerry O’Connell.
- Running Time: 75 minutes.
Justice League Dark is next on our list of Dark Comic book movies and was produced and distributed by Warner Bros.
The film features John Constantine, Zatanna, Batman, and the Justice League as they come together after several reports of people worldwide seeing other people like demons resulting in unnecessary killings.
They discover some form of magic involved in these occurrences, and the victims are being possessed by strange entities causing strange visions. The League finds the source of these occurrences and attempts to put an end to them.
8. Justice League Dark: Apokolips (2020)
- Starring: Matt Ryan, Jerry O’Connell, Rosario Dawson, Taissa Farmiga, Stuart Allan, Tony Todd, Ray Chase, Jason O’Mara.
- Running Time: 90 minutes.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is one of the Dark Comic book movies based on the superhero teams Justice League, Justice League Dark, Teen Titans, and the supervillain team, Suicide Squad from DC Comics.
The movie was released as a sequel to 2017’s Justice League Dark and was distributed by Warner. The storyline was adapted from Darkseid War, Final Crisis, and Futures End.
Darkseid plans to invade Earth but has failed in achieving this twice. While he conquers other planets after he fails to do so on Earth, the Justice League attacks him and his forces, leading to the death of many members of the League and Titans.
The surviving members of the league, the suicide squad, Constantine, and a bald frenemy, must unite and end Darkseid’s reign of terror.
9. Logan (2017)
- Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen.
- Running Time: 137 minutes.
Hugh Jackman delivers an epic performance in this final film in the wolverine trilogy. Based on the Old Man Logan comics, the film has been praised as one of the best live adaptations of comic book storylines.
Set sometime soon in a dystopian world where most mutants are dead, Logan follows the titular character, weakening due to his adamantium skeleton, as he navigates this world along with dementia-ridden Professor X and mutant Caliban.
Logan gets the chance to be a hero one last time as he must protect his daughter Laura – whom he only just discovered – from the Reavers and guide her to safety.
Their journey across the country leaves a trail of bloodshed in their wake. Despite the serious tone, Logan is often regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever.
10. Watchmen (2009)
- Starring: Malin Åkerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson.
- Running Time: 163 minutes.
Zack Snyder displayed exceptional directional skills in this 2009 live adaptation of the comic series of the same name. Watchmen is considered today as perhaps the darkest superhero movie ever.
Snyder maintained the graphic contents from the comic books – the gore, swearing, and sexual violence – and this delivers a maximum shock impact.
The film is set in an alternate version of the 1985 US, where superheroes helped win the Vietnam War and made several other changes.
However, when one of their own is killed, masked vigilante Rorschach uncovers a plot to discredit and kill all superheroes, both past, and present, and reaches out to his fellow retired associates to come together and thwart the opposition’s devious plans.
11. Blade (1998)
- Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Doff, Kris Kristofferson, N’bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Udo Kier, Tracy Lords, Arly Jover.
- Running Time: 120 minutes.
The blade is the first pure superhero R-rated film, not because of its dark themes but because of the strong language and violent scenes.
This 1998 film is based on the vampire hunter superhero Blade from Marvel Comics, and its success paved the way for future Marvel superhero films.
A half-human, half-vampire, Blade possesses all the strengths of the bloodsuckers with none of their weaknesses.
He uses this advantage to rid the world of as many vampires as possible, as well as take revenge for his mother’s death at the hands of one of their kind.
He also has to avoid the vampires who are after his particular blood type to summon an evil god and make good on their plans to execute the human race.
12. V for Vendetta (2005)
- Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allan.
- Running Time: 132 minutes.
Based on the DC Vertigo Comics of the same name, V for Vendetta is another superhero movie set in a dystopian world, this time in an Orwellian landscape.
The lines between superheroism and terrorism are blurred in this movie, though its impact isn’t meaningful.
After the events of a world war, Britain is in a police state and is ruled by Norsefire, a fascist political party. Hugo Weaving plays masked vigilante “V,” who uses terrorist tactics to fight against the oppressors.
After he rescues Evey Hammond from assault by the secret police, he finds an unexpected ally and friend in his fight for freedom.
13. Deadpool (2016)
- Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand.
- Running Time: 108 minutes.
Any movie involving Ryan Reynolds will be epic and most likely R-rated. The talented actor did not fail to deliver in this spin-off of the X-Men franchise.
After the disappointing delivery of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a remake was immediately put into motion. Reynolds stars as a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary.
After discovering he has cancer, Ryan is given an experimental drug by a scientist, which leaves him badly disfigured with accelerated healing abilities.
He dubs the name Deadpool, and with teenage mutants Colossus and Warhead, he seeks revenge on the man responsible for his transformation.
Ryan brings this character to life with loads of dark humor and brutal killings, making it one of the best Dark Comic book movies of all time.
14. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
- Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stulhbarg, Rachel McAdams.
- Running Time: 126 minutes.
When you have Sam Raimi directing a movie, you know not only is it going to be good but also a little bit (or a lot) on the dark side, and it turns out it is one of the best dark comic book movies.
Raimi does not disappoint in this sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange; this list would be incomplete without it.
Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, a new threat looms on the horizon, and it is on a grander scale than Doctor Strange had faced before, as this one affects the multiverse.
Our protagonist teams up with a strange teenage girl from his dreams who can traverse the multiverse and seeks help from his ally, Wong, and the powerful Scarlet Witch to battle this new threat before it consumes them all.
15. Kick-Ass (2010)
- Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Lyndsey Fonseca.
- Running Time: 118 minutes.
Matthew Vaughn’s film, based on the Mark Millar comic, is the story of a teen boy with no superpowers who sets out to fight crime in the neighborhood. The film answers the question, “what if people dressed up as superheroes?”.
It’s a comedy superhero film – with no superpowers at all – that fits into this genre because of the many brutalities and death scenes.
Inspired by comic books, average teenager Dave Lizewski decides to become a real-life superhero and fight crime in society.
Dunning himself “Kick-Ass,” he joins forces with vigilantes Big Daddy and his daughter Hit-girl, and another vigilante, Red Mist, and with the introduction of mobster Frank D’Amico, their alliance is put to the test, sending them on a race against time to end his evil plans.
The mix of dark humor and gore makes this a fantastic addition to this list of dark comic book movies.