Hey!! Kids Comics

This questionably punctuated phrase, found on top the old “spinner racks” located in old drug stores and magazine stands, sums up the appeal — and the limitations — of the first few decades of comic books. Comics were for kids, plain and simple.

While the 1960s and ’70s produced some bold comics, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the public’s understanding of comic books began to expand as something more than those colorful little pamphlets for kids. Even that shift occurred, it was still many years before the media inspired by those comics began to encompass more mature themes and ideas as well.

These days, adult-oriented superheroes can be found all over movies and TV and streaming services. 2024’s releases alone include Deadpool & Wolverine, a remake of one of the earliest R-rated superhero movies The Crow, and a sequel to Joker, one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of any kind in history.

For the purposes of this list, we’ve arranged all of these movies according to their average score on the movie-based social network Letterboxd. According to their users, the first couple films are “mature” or “for adults” only in the most technical sense. But the last few films can stand alongside the best of the best of any genre in history.

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