Tired of Superheroes? Three Unconventional Comic Book Movies to Stream

Zack Snyder’s Justice League dominated social media chatter this past weekend. But there are plenty of movies based on comic books that have nothing to do with superheroes. You don’t even have to leave the realm of DC Comics to find them. Here are a few great titles to check out that have nary a cape in sight.

Road to Perdition (2002)

America’s Dad Tom Hanks plays massively against type as a grim, Depression-era mob enforcer in this crime drama. After the rest of their family are killed, Hanks and his son go on the run seeking vengeance. A mash-up of classic gangster films and the long-running Japanese comic Lone Wolf and Cub, it’s a somber meditation on father-son bonds taken to their darkest extreme.

On various platforms

A History of Violence (2005)

Viggo Mortensen plays a small-town diner owner who demonstrates surprising combat skill when he kills two would-be robbers. Word of his heroism spreads, bringing the Irish mob to his doorstep, as they believe he is in fact one of their own, a former hitman. Family drama simmers until it releases in bursts of brutal violence in this neo-noir. And no one handles violence with such skillful precision as director David Cronenberg, who significantly elevates the book that the film was based on.

Available on Hoopla and other platforms

American Splendor (2003)

Cartoonist Harvey Pekar broke ground with his comic memoir series American Splendor, which he used for decades to chronicle elements of his everyday life, such as his battle with cancer. Various episodes from throughout the comic’s run are used as the basis of this metafictional dramedy, in which Paul Giamatti plays Pekar, but Pekar also appears as himself. It’s a terrific look at processing life through art.

Available on HBO Max and other platforms

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Dan Schindel is Associate Editor for Documentary at Hyperallergic. He lives and works in New York.
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Updated: March 23, 2021 — 6:59 am

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