Monday, May 07, 2007

94 Comic Book Movies?

Rotten Tomatoes has put together their list of worst rated to best rated comic book movies. There were some notable missing movies (such as the original Punisher movie or the Captain America movie, for example), but I'm assuming that's because the list is dealing only with movies that were put out for theatrical release. That being said, I found I've actually seen 55 of the 94 movies listed, and some of the comic book movies that I think would be in the top 10 only broke into the top 20, and a couple not even that far up.

Now I don't want to ruin the ending of the list for anyone, so skip the rest of this post until you read the list at the link because I have a few things to say about the top 10.

10. Metropolis: I own this movie and enjoyed watching it, but I don't think it's top 10 worthy. The story is a little slow at times and for a lot of the movie I didn't get the "large" feel that a movie should give you. Instead, it felt more like an extended episode of an anime series. That being said, it's still well worth viewing.

9. Superman: The Movie: If this movie didn't make the top 10, I would have screamed "schenanigans" until my lungs gave out. This film is pretty much the sole reason superhero movies continue to be made. This is the template that most modern, non-sequel superhero movies follow and they do it because this movie got it right. And it has Christopher Reeve, which should be reason enough to see it.

8. Batman Begins: Some may argue with me when I say that this is the best Batman film, but seriously... it is. Christian Bale is the perfect Batman. Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney have nothing on him. The only thing holding this film back from utter perfection is the slight lack of development of the secondary villain, but beyond that issue, this is a movie that comic book geeks and everyday folk can both get in to equally.

7. Men in Black: I'm sorry, but this movie and its sequel are horrendous. For a serious movie, MIB fails. As a comedy, it fails. As a comedic drama, it fails. As a sci-fi movie, it fails. I really couldn't stand this movie. It feels like it was filmed to appeal to the big, dumb, action crowd and they came out in droves to see it. It's just hard to believe that critics somehow thought it was good.

6. A History of Violence: This movie stands alongside Road to Perdition as one of two of the best non-superhero comic book movies. What's doubly amazing about this movie is that it outshines its source material. Whereas the graphic novel was stilted and uneven, the film was an amazing exploration of violence in it's myriad of forms.

5. X-Men 2: For modern day superhero movies, this is the gold standard. It built perfectly on the first film and the ending left open a window to create a continuing chapter that could eclipse the greatness of X2 (unfortunately, X3 was terrible). The characterization, action, and acting was perfectly in line with what you could expect in a comic book and an adaptation of such material.

4. Spider-Man: It broke box office records, everyone and their uncle Billy-Bob loved it, critics adored it, and yet I thought it was pretty much crap. Kirsten Dunst and Toby Maguire are two of the most untalented leads I've ever seen and pairing them together made this movie pretty much unwatchable. It didn't help that the plot felt overly lame and the characters were one dimensional. The action was pretty cool, but that was about all I could find myself enjoying.

3. Ghost World: I didn't think critics liked this as much as they obviously did. Frankly, it was a good movie given the source material (which I find is a little overrated), but I had a hard time finding anything to relate to. A movie about a couple of outsiders should be something I could relate to, but they were just too out there and a little too different for me to find a connection. Still, it's a decent movie.

2. American Splendor: This is the perfect adaptation of the epitome of autobiographical comics. The mixing of real world conversations with Harvey Pekar and the acted out portion of the movie lended to giving the film an undeniably authentic feeling. It's also endearing as hell... if you enjoy watching movies about angsty, odd comic book writers.

1. Spider-Man 2: Seriously? Best rated comic book movie? This is a joke, right? Alfred Molina was a bad ass Doc Ock, but you still had to put up with Toby and Kirsten, which is utter torture. The plot was slightly better than the first, and the characterization got a little better, but I still was pretty much unimpressed. Again, the action scenes were pretty cool, but beyond that and Molina, this movie did nothing for me.

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