Nov 27, 2009

List-Mania: Comic Book Movies

Day 27

Last Sunday I confessed my love (re: addiction) for comic books. For most of my life, comic books that were translated into movies did not fare so well. In fact, most of them were so cheesy that it just echoed the stereotype that comics are JUST for kids. Now we are in the golden age of comic book movies and the best part of this new age is most of the them are actually pretty good.

I am not a stickler for comic book movies needing to stick to the source material. I do hope that the movie studios stay true to the concept but I can forgive the often glaring differences between the actual comic and the movie. Take the X-Men movie franchise for example. There are more differences than similarities between the movie and the comics but in the end it doesn't bug me. The X-Men franchise was entertaining and that was the most important thing to me. What annoys this comic geek fan is when the movie that comes out does not come anywhere close to its potential. That is what irks me the most and there are quite a few comic book movies that have done this.

So here are my Top 5 comic book movies. Now let me remind you, this is MY list. You can argue all you want or make fun of the movies I picked out here but in the end it doesn't matter. These are the comic book movies I personally liked the best. Yours will probably differ.

5) The Rocketeer
This movie just might have more to do with my man-crush on Timothy Dalton than anything else. This is the story about a pilot that finds a rocket pack and battles Nazis as the Rocketeer. Simple premise, simple story and simply entertaining.

4) Iron Man
Marvel started strong out of the gate with some fantastic movies based on their characters but soon a bunch of duds hit the screen. I went to see this movie with the expectation that it would be a dud too. Boy was I wrong. Everything about this film was fantastic, the special effects were spectacular but Robert Downey Jr. owned this movie. The man in the suit stole the show.

3) Hellboy II
Sequels rarely are better than the original but there are exceptions to the rule and Hellboy II was one of them. I loved the first one quite a bit, I thought it captured everything Hellboy should be but this one hit it out of the park. Visually this movie was eye candy. The special effects were amazing and the colors were spectacular. The storyline felt like something right out of the Hellboy comics. The creatures were fascinating, the Death Angel was creepy but yet elegant. I love this movie so much.

2) Spider-Man
The first X-Men movie blew me away. They captured exactly what the X-Men were about. I hoped that Marvel would strike comic gold again with Spider-Man and I was so happy that they did. There was a lot I was leery about (Sam Raimi, organic Web-shooters, metal-looking Green Goblin) but I was so taken by the story. They nailed what Peter Parker was all about. I know a lot of people complained about the ending with Peter leaving MJ but that was spot on what Peter would do.

1) X2: X-Men United
Like I said, the first X-Men blew me away and I couldn't wait until this came out. This was probably the only sequel that topped my expectations. I don't think my eyes could get any bigger watching one of my favorite characters, Nightcrawler, teleporting all through the White House but that was just the start. This movie scratched everything this fanboy had an itch for. Sadly, the rest of the X-franchise has not been near this good.

Now I can hear it now. Spider-Man 2 was way better than the first one. Or, The Dark Knight is the greatest comic book movie ever! Those are good movies. Those are GREAT comic book movies but I didn't like them as much as the ones I listed. I hear someone screaming Sin City was the best adaptation! I can probably agree with that. As pure adaptations go, Sin City and 300 were the best ones. But they were not my favorite comic book movies.

But what was the best and worst comic book movie of all-time? This movie is a guilty pleasure. So bad that it is so good.

Honorable Mention: Flash Gordon
Hmmmm. Timothy Dalton again. But he is not the only reason I love this film. I love the costumes and the sets, so vibrant and colorful. Max von Sydow as Emperor Ming and Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan stole the show, everyone looked like they were having the time of their life making this movie. And who can forget the soundtrack by Queen? FLASH! AHHHHHHH AHHHHHHH! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE! I could write a column all about this movie.

FUN FACT: One of my favorite memories is watching this movie with my cousins the Case's. Watching that movie with them is like being on Mystery Science Theater 3000. But we poke fun at the movie because we love it. I'll have to get together with the Case's again for another viewing. It has been too long!


  1. Matt, you rock!! I love your list! And I just got chills remembering that time when you visited my family and we watched "Flash Gordon" - it was so much fun, watching and making fun of this movie. And like you said, this was out of love for the movie. And very MST3K!! I'm ready for us to watch it again together. P.S. I had a major crush on Melody Anderson (AKA Dale Arden) and Ornella Muti (AKA Princess Aura)! Their cat-fight scene was HOTTTT!

  2. Princess Aura was what I call scary hot. Scary because I would fear for my life... ...but then she was hot.