Unchanged Heroes: 5 Most Faithful Comic Book Character Transitions to the Big Screen

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When it comes to the ever-proliferating process of bringing comics to film, strict adherence to source material can prove difficult for many reasons. Much to the chagrin of the die-hardest nerds, we will most likely never see a 5’5’’ Wolverine in his blue and yellow spandex/pointy mask getup or Galactus stomping around cities as an eighty-foot man in a purple horned helmet. So what are the rare instances in comic cinema, where characters were dead ringers for the originals, visually, behaviorally and functionally all at once? We can start with…

5 Abe Sapien, Hellboy and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

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In spite of the added traits of telepathic powers and occasional dependence on water to breathe, nothing is taken away from the ageless, elegant, intelligent blue merman that has demonic investigator Hellboy’s back for eternity. You will forever hear David Hyde Pierce’s voice when you revisit the funny-books.

4 Jim Gordon, The Dark Knight Trilogy

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The bushy mustache, horn-rimmed glasses, and street hardened steeliness of the Jim Gordon comics fans have known for the past 30 years were finally brought to the screen in the form of chameleon-like actor Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s now immortal vision of Batman. No longer the fat old man barking orders (no disrespect to the late Pat Hingle) seen in the previous film cycle, this hands-on supercop is almost inseparable from the one seen in such modern graphic novel classics as Frank Miller’s Year One.

3 Nightcrawler, X-2: X-Men United (2003)

Actor Alan Cumming doesn’t just get to open this superior sequel with an awesome scene showcasing his character’s teleporting powers, he gets to prove a bright and welcome addition to the large cast throughout as the fan favorite Nightcrawler. Replete with the trademark blue skin, pointed tail, German accent, circus background and devout Catholicism, the much shunned and abandoned mutant born as Kurt Wagner is imbued by Cumming with his traditionally kind exterior and pained soul.

2 Sinestro, Green Lantern (2011)

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Though the rest of the film itself may be an affair best left forgotten, Mark Strong’s portrayal of Thaal Sinestro, the arrogant “Greatest Of All Lanterns” destined to become one of our most beloved supervillains, is something even the flick’s most ardent haters can agree to love. Not only does he resemble the perfect composite of Sinestros seen on page over the years, Strong imbues him with the cold, militaristic harshness and articulate, forthright demeanor that could only belong to one fuchsia-skinned Korugarian fascist. Reboot, but keep Strong.

1 Marv, Sin City (2005)

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Even in a film that’s as all-around painstakingly faithful to its source as this, Mickey Rourke’s spot-on portrayal of lonely urban thug Marv stands out as an immaculate translation. Rourke pulled off the comeback of a lifetime as the hulking, hideous urban bruiser sworn to vengeance, giving every one of Frank Miller’s lines the tough, yet wary and sincere cadence you’d expect of this Basin City madman and is also abetted by a bang-up prosthetic job, from his first smashing cop-kills, to the moment his eyes go dead in the electric chair.

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