For younger generations, it might sound weird that comic films weren't always popular. It took a long time and a lot failed attempts to get not only the formula down, but for audiences to be up to the idea of capes and masks. "Superman" and "Batman" managed to pave the way in the 1980's, but only for a little. The big break came with "Blade" and "X-Men". These films showcased a more realistic take on the fantasy/sci-fi elements comic books had.
From then on the floodgates were open and everybody wanted a crack at the new market. Newer technology and special effects also helped in making these films a reality. Ultimately, it was the imagination of directors, the risk taking on behalf of studio heads and in screenwriters abilities to make these mythic and larger than life characters feel vulnerable, courageous and most importantly human in our eyes.
the best comic book films
honorable mentions in alphabetical order:
Men In Black (1997) by Barry Sonnenfeld trailer
Mystery Men (1999) by Kinka Usher trailer
Superman II (1980) by Richard Donner trailer review
Road to Perdition (2002) by Sam Mendes trailer
the worst comic book films
Fantastic Four (1994) by Oley Sassone trailer
Son of Mask (2005) by John Guterman trailer
Virus (1999) by John Bruno trailer
The Spirit (2008) by Frank Miller trailer review
P.S. As always this an ever-evolving list. I haven't seen all the comic book films out there and there are many more I still wish to see. So even if some are not on the list, that doesn't mean they won't be later or that they don't deserve to be.
updated as of September 27, 2014