Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Top Ten Comic Book Movies

Heidi Meeley made a Top Ten Comic Book Movie list a while ago so I thought I’d make my own list. Note that I don’t include TV shows but I do include direct to video movies.

I don’t have a particular order.

Superman II – This film has some corny aspects but Superman II boasts the first spectacular superhero battle ever to grace the silver screen. You gotta love Supes flinging General Zod into the that coke sign. Plus, I really liked that fact that the villains are truly evil. After watching the Batman TV show it came as quite a shock to see psychopaths running around the with same powers as Superman.

Spiderman – Thee best adaptation of an origin story I’ve ever watched. Seeing Spiderman on the big screen is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. The overall sweep of the film is very evocative of the comics and Toby Maguire is excellent as Peter Parker.

Ghost World – This adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ comic of the same name, is an amazing film. It’s about the comedy and tragedy of two girls facing the horrible world of post high school in a suburban wasteland. It was nominated for best-adapted screenplay. It should have won.

Hellboy – A smoking and drinking demon saves the world. Ron Pearlman was born for this role and he made the character come alive. In some sense, Hellboy is the best visual realization of a comic book character ever.

X-Men – What I really like about this movie is that it’s a case of making lemonade out of lemons. It didn’t really have enough of a budget to do the X-men properly and so the creators focused on the emotional context of the characters, which is what the X-men are really all about anyway. Hugh Jackman is a total coup as wolverine and the chemistry between all the actors is truly what makes the movie.

The Mask – A zany and crazy live action cartoon is what you get with the Mask. Jim Carry’s best role imo and Dark Horse Entertainment’s first big success. What happens when your id is released onto the world? Watch The Mask and find out. The dance numbers are outta this world!

Iron Man – Iron Man is one of those movies that meets the expectations of the trailer, films rarely accomplish this. Casting Robert Down Jr. as shell head is a masterstroke and updating his origin story for our time works perfectly. It’s a tight film with plenty of action, lots of laughs and a pop culture mea culpa for the horrible things the US had done for the last seven years.

Justice League: The New Frontier – I’ve already done a review of this see here. An excellent straight to video movie adapted from an excellent comic.

American Splendor – A wonderful cross between a dramatic film and a docudrama, which I never thought was possible until I saw this film. The drama of everyday life and stress of just being alive spills onto the screen in a tale that only Harvey Pekar could tell but is relatable to everybody. One of the best films ever despite the fact it’s a “comic book movie.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Seriously, The first film was a very faithful adaptation of the original black and white comic that started it all. Aspects of it are very dark and not like the kiddy cartoon at all but ninja turtles still is rather funny. It never pretends to be more than it is but it delivers the goods with a solid action oriented story. Plus, seeing a Muppet splinter doing martial arts is awesome.

Honorable Mention:

Creepshow – An homage as opposed to an adaptation of the EC Horror comics from the 1950s

Persepolis – I haven’t seen the film or read the book but I suspect that both are very good.

V for Vendetta – A good movie and Hugo Weaving is amazing as V but since Alan Moore hates it, V for Vendetta can’t be in my top ten.

Batman Begins – You know, I’m not really a Batman fan and I’ve come to terms with that. I hate all the Bat films but this one. (and maybe Dark Knight but it’s not out yet).

This post is about American comics but if I included Japanese manga it would push many of the American titles off the top ten, but here’s a few:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Shogun Assassin) – Yes it’s from a comic book.

Naüsicaa of the Valley of the Wind – Hayao Miyazaki made the comic first so he could make the film.

Akira – Cyberpunk at it’s best.



Arkonbey said...

Superman II: oh, yes. Bow down before Zod!

Spiderman: except for the organic web shooters. I just thank god that the webbing didn't come out of Parker where it would come out of a spider

Hellboy: I actually like it better than the actual comic. Mignola can draw great, moody stills, but his characters have zero emotion and personality.

X-men: Even if only for the 'yellow spandex' line

The Mask: How many people know this was a comic book

Iron Man: Not seen, yet! Bad, me!

JL:TNF: The comic was fantastic. Waiting to see if video store gets it in.

American Splendor: I really dislike graphic memoirs, so seeing one adapted to film? No thanks.

TMNT: good except for all of the "Dude!"s.

I won't hit the HM list except to say that Persepolis 1 was slightly interesting, but except for being form Iran during the revolution, her live is so not interesting. The GN can be put down when you get bored, but paying $$ to sit for two hours watching a not-so-interesting life animated in a not-so-interesting way? No thanks.

Dean Wormer said...

An excellent list but no "Barbarella."


Don Snabulus said...

I like the Batman Movie with Adam West and Burt Ward, but the "dark" Batman comics and movies don't entertain me as much either.

Good list!

ladybug said...

I liked the Batman beginning movie too...want to see Ironman! Like Superman II, but enjoyed the original Star Wars more.... American Splendor looks interesting...The Mask is just total FUN! Hugh Jackman is what X-Men is all about baby! More Hugh!
Hellboy looks like good candidate for a rental....Ghostworld too.

Doctor Smoke said...

Oh to see a spiderman swinging from a building by a thread protruding from his arse.

hahahahaha ha ha ha ha haaaa
oooh what fun I'm having.

Hellboy the movie is ten million times better than the stuff Father Mignola produces, locked in that monestary in which he lives and carves little tiny crucifixes all day long.

Batman begins is moody goodness.

Iron Man is awesomesauce.

X-Men could've been better: I would've preferred a sixties-based film, with the first original x-men with the black and yellow suits.

The Mask was the first ever superhero movie (of sorts) that I ever watched. My first hero, my first idol.
My dad had superman when he was a kid.
I had The Mask.
and I like to think, that in the long run... I won!

Randal Graves said...

I loved the first Batman movie. That viewpoint seems to be more in the minority with each passing year. :)

Not the first Superman, though?

Nick said...

With Superman II came "Kneel Before Zod" it's kinda hard not to love that film....even ignoring the whole "Superman Insignia Shield"

Akira ..I just didn't get it. I am guessing it's one of those movies where you enjoy it more after reading the source material its based on.

Kinda surprised you don't like even the first Batman movie by Burton...I mean a little hoakey it may be but...Nicholson as crazy villain...always enjoyable.

Dr. Zaius said...

If it was me, I would put "Akira" and "V for Vendetta" at the top of the list. And Also the "Batman and the Fearsome Foursome" with Adam west.

Swinebread said...

Arkonbey – Strong opinions there, Heh heh, you know I think you’re on to something with Hellboy. I like the art but I’ve never really gotten into the comic.

As for American splendor I enjoyed it a lot. But then I do enjoy the occasional graphic memoir. It’s also neat for his interactions with Crumb.

When it comes to Persepolis I do want to read the comic and watch the movie but I don’t want to spend any money on it in case I don’t like it. I guess that’s’ why I haven’t checked either out yet.

Dean – I thought Long and Hard about Barberella… coming to a conclusion, I decided not to put her in my top ten.

Snab – I like some of the Dark Comics but I think really don’t like about the first four Batman films is that they were merely Star Vehicles.

LB – You should see Iron Man, it’s good. You’d like American Splendor a lot I think. Hugh Jackman is a good actor and an excellent wolverine so being obsessed with him is fine. Much better than your Keanu faze.

Doc S – I liked the webshooter form the comics but I can see why they made it part of his powers and yes thank goodess he didn’t crap out his threads.

Awesomesauce, I like that. I’ll have to use that.

That you had the Mask is wall cool. That is such a fun movie, better than the comic in many ways, which was very dark. Too bad they couldn’t come up with the money for Jim Carry for a proper sequel. You did win indeed!

Randal – it’s true because the more time passes, the more I hate the first movie.

I like the first superman but the 2nd is better imo because it had proper supervillians.

Nick – Gawd, there are little things about their powers that piss me off but I let them go but the S is the worst part.

Akira is hard to understand, it’s a lot of story pushed into one film, but I saw it at Movie Theater when I ways in High school and I didn’t care if the story was difficult to follow. I’d never seen anything like it. The visuals were so amazing, and the idea of cartoon for adults was like a cultural bomb going off in the late 80s. sci-fi has never been the same since.

Nicholson is one of the reasons I hate the first film. The movie was star vehicle, focused on him not on the characters. An old fat guy as the joker? No thanks… (I get a little heated about this ☺)

Dr. Zaius – I like V a lot but too many liberties were taken with the story for it to be in my top ten but it is in my top 20.