In 2020 we were starved of a Marvel Studios release, but even a worldwide pandemic wasn’t strong enough to knock all of Earth’s mightiest heroes into a different year, and in 2020 we have been treated to no less than five mainstream comic book adaptations on the big (and more often small) screen.
In the past twelve months, we have been offered two brand new releases from the new look DC line-up and have seen Netflix enter the sphere with a major conversation-stirrer for the first time. We even finally got The New Mutants after years of delays and rumours about whether or not it would ever be released.
Starring the likes of Charlize Theron, Vin Diesel, Margot Robbie and Gal Gadot, the comic book adaptations of the silver screen in 2020 haven’t been lacking in star power either, and whether they’ve headed straight to cinemas, streaming or Premium VoD, the comic book films of the the year have offered us just the slightest bit of reassurance that enjoyment can be found even in the darkest of times.
In this edition of Ranked, we at The Film Magazine are looking at these five wide release comic book movie adaptations and judging each on quality, enjoyment, critical reception and audience perception to see which are the worst and which are the best, in this, the 2020 Comic Book Movies Ranked.
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5. The New Mutants
This could have been a half decent Disney Channel movie if it had applied any logic and was rewritten several times to eliminate every eye-rolling dialogue exchange.
The serviceable final act may convince some they’ve seen a movie that “wasn’t that bad”, and we should be conscious of all the issues this film faced before heading to the release window (studio changes, reshoots with a cast that had aged significantly, distinctly different visions from executives in charge of the project, and year after year of delays), but make no mistake that this was a whimper of a final bow for an X-Men franchise that at one time wrote the rule book for modern comic book adaptations.
Perhaps the only major shining light coming from The New Mutants was the performance of Anya Taylor-Joy, who added this Marvel-adjacent movie to her list of rich and impressive performances from 2020.
Recommended for you: Every X-Men Movie Ranked
4. The Old Guard
2020 wasn’t exactly short on comic book adaptations that seemed to be nothing more than a series of fairly uninspired moments precariously taped together by cliché and questionable outlooks on life, and The Old Guard was certainly amongst the worst of them – its “pre-ordained by a mysterious and unspoken force to be the ultimate moral compass over humanity for all eternity” group of so-called misfits lacked any significant depth and not only came across very “secret society” (and thus difficult to root for), but each of them was so unspeakably invincible that the stakes were also incredibly low.
Setting The Old Guard in contemporary times also felt lazy (flashbacks of battles in ancient China signalling to us the movie we should have got instead), and this pro-war-in-the-middle-east, pro-guns and pro-vigilante justice amalgamation of bland and outdated themes and visuals was just about bin-worthy. Quite why the likes of Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts and Chiwetel Ejiofor would attach their names to this uninspired dross is anyone’s guess, but if famous faces doing their own stunts (no matter how bland and last decade said stunts are) is your thing, there’s something here for you. Probably.
The Old Guard survives the bottom spot by way of not being a blotch on the record of a mostly great franchise as The New Mutants was.