The opening scene can make or break a movie. Starting a comic book movie can be more difficult because directors translate artwork for the big screen while adapting characters and storylines that are dear to fans. The introduction lets the viewer know the director’s style and intentions for the scenes to come.
A good opening scene for a comic book movie should be visually and audibly appealing while establishing the director’s vision for bringing the pages of a comic book to life. The best comic book movie openings initiate the plot and stand out while giving the viewer something to think about long after the final credits roll.
10/10 Michael Keaton is Batman
Tim Burton worked with composer Danny Elfman on Pee Wee’s Big Adventure four years before creating the sounds of Batman. The catchy opening song takes viewers through what looks like the Batcave, but zooms out to reveal the Batman logo. It doesn’t advance the plot, but it’s audible and visually stunning.
The film opens in a gothic-looking Gotham City as a tourist family gets robbed at gunpoint. The Caped Crusader takes its time before revealing the classic hood. Michael Keaton’s first line, “I am batman“, will forever be a part of comic book movie history, and the simplistic opening will go down as one of the best.
9/10 Valerian and the construction of the city of 1,000 planets
The theatrical adaptation of the comic book series by Luc Besson Valerian and Laureline received poor scores for Rotten Tomatoes. While the visuals are stunning, the dialogue is a bit campy and the storyline is slightly disjointed. But the opening scene is epic and one of the best sci-fi movie opening scenes of all time.
Valerian and the City of 1,000 Planets begins with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” with archival footage from the International Space Station. Different countries meet before species from different planets and star systems soon follow. It’s the perfect setup for the adventure ahead.
8/10 The Suicide Squad’s Second Chance
Warner Bros has released the first seven minutes of The Suicide Squad opening scene before its theatrical release and on HBO Max. Amanda Waller and Rick Flag introduce Michael Rooker’s Savant to the rest of Task Force X before some heartbreaking dialogue on the way to their mission.
James Gunn rounds up some of the DC Universe’s most obscure villains before the unit is dispatched. The group the audience gets to know is a decoy as Team 2, the star of the movie Suicide Squad, lands on the beach. The opening credits, featuring Gunn’s musical prowess, kicks off a pleasant entrance to the DCEU.
7/10 Come get your Guardians of the Galaxy
by James Gunn first installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has one of the best opening scenes. In guardians of the galaxy, Peter Quill sits in solitude with his Walkman during his mother’s final moments. He flees outside crying before the Ravagers abduct the young boy to start a new life across the galaxy.
After the Marvel Studios logo, viewers reunite with Peter years later on the planet Morag to steal an orb that, unbeknownst to him, contains the Power Stone. Star-Lord performs Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” as he dances to the Infinity Stone, becoming one of the MCU’s most memorable moments.
6/10 Re-watch the opening of Watchmen
The watchmen graphic novel opens with Rorschach’s journalistic narrative social commentary. The graphic novel par excellence is one of best dc stories of the 80s. Zack Snyder records this scene until after the opening scene. The film begins with the murder of The Comedian, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, which launches Rorschach’s investigation.
After The Comedian is evicted from his apartment, the camera zooms in on The Comedian’s Badge, an iconic image pulled straight from the pages of the graphic novel. The opening credits roll with Snyder’s signature slow motion with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin'” played in its entirety.
5/10 The origin of Miles Morales in the Spider-Verse
The Oscar for Sony Pictures Animation Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the only comic book film bearing the “Approved by the Comics Code Authority” seal. The opening credits are colorful and action-packed, setting the stage for the overarching story as Peter Parker makes various references to Spidey.
The film quickly introduces Miles Morales to the big screen and his chaotic journey through school. The opening sets up the plot perfectly by introducing Gwen Stacy, whom the portal pulls into Miles’ universe a week before the other Spider characters.
4/10 The Self-Aware Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Batman Movie opens with “Black. All important movies start with a black screen“Will Arnett’s iconic Lego Batman voice continues for a few”edgy and scary music that would make a parent or studio manager nervous.” This animated movie is hilarious and self-aware.
Lego Batman roasts Warner Bros and DC logos and calls out Superman before stealing a quote from Michael Jackson at the start of the film. Crisp, colorful animation, well-timed jokes, and a well-established plot make this one of the most memorable and captivating comic book movie openings.
3/10 Iron Man presents the MCU
Tony Stark begins his tenure in the MCU as a trust fund businessman who sells weapons to the US military. Iron Man opens in Kunar province in Afghanistan. A military convoy escorts Tony to a demonstration of Stark Industries’ Jericho missile system.
Following the successful demonstration, the Ten Rings ambush the convoy. The billionaire escapes from the Hummer, desperately looking for a place to hide before he is ironically injured by one of its explosives. Jon Favreau’s opening is funny, tense, and a perfect introduction to the obscure Marvel character who became the face of marvel studios.
2/10 A highly secure burglary to start X2
The highly anticipated x-men the follow-up did not disappoint critics or fans. X2 returns the original cast and brings Brian Cox into the mix as William Stryker. The sequel serves as a benchmark for future comic book movies. The opening scene captures the audience’s attention and keeps it there for the duration of the film.
The incredible scene opens in the White House as the Secret Service approaches a mysterious man. A tail appears behind the unknown revealing Nightcrawler, played by Alan Cumming. The teleported hero passes through the high security house to leave a message in the Oval Office and increase tensions between mutants and humanity.
1/10 The opening of The Dark Knight is no joke
It’s no secret that comic book movie fans rarely agree on one thing. However, the one movie that tends to bridge the gap is The black Knight. Christopher Nolan does an exceptional job of capturing attention and reintroducing the Batman’s most iconic villain in history.
Nolan’s realism combined with Hans Zimmer’s masterful score make this scene a masterclass in movie openings. The tension that builds as the bank robbers don clown masks and discuss the Joker makes the villain’s appearance that much more satisfying. It will be difficult for comic book movies to lead in the future.