Happy Thursday! That’s a new one for me. I hope everyone’s week have been at least favorable. I haven’t really been able to watch any movies lately, besides the few I was viewing for the first time for this article. I had practice when TCM aired Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s back-to-back. It was a shame.
This wasn’t an easy list to put together. I had a good chunk of it done already, but some of the movies I watched yesterday bumped some off. I really had to figure out what movies stay on, where they fall, etc. Very difficult indeed.Yes, if you happened to venture onto this blog last year, you’ll know that I’ve done this before. There are a lot of changes.
It does sadden me that most of these are newer movies. I suppose a special shoutout is in order for Richard Donner’s Superman movies is required. They’re the originals and are quite good, but Superman has never really been my cup of tea. However, put THAT talent with today’s special effects? You’d have something there. Superman II almost made the list for Terence Stamp alone. KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!
Well, let’s get to it then…
10. Kick-Ass (2010)
This is, of course, the newest movie on the list. As you can see from my review, I absolutely love this movie. It falls to here simply because of how new it is. I haven’t had the chance to let this one sit long enough. I’ll let my review speak for it, but this is the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a very long time. I do have to say…HIT GIRL ROCKS. Whew. Glad I got that out.
9. American Splendor (2003)
The autobiographical story of Harvey Pekar. Harvey works at a dead-end job, about to be divorced a second time, and is generally ill-tempered. He sees himself as an “every day” kind of guy. He decided to write a comic book based on his life. This includes stories of his co-workers, a new love interest, and even a battle with cancer. Creatively done with the real Pekar providing the narration and Paul Giamatti (who plays the fictional Pekar) is superb as always…even if “he looks nothing like me,” or so the real Pekar says.
8. X2: X-Men United (2003)
While Blade is officially the first release of the comic book movie craze, X-Men proved that proven comic properties could work on the big screen. This sequel took it to a whole new level. Not only do we get a nice (albeit loose) adaption of the great “God Loves, Man Kills” graphic novel, we get the introduction of Nightcrawler (Alan Cummings) in one of the best opening scenes ever. And we get the building blocks to what was supposed to the “The Phoenix Saga” in the third movie…and we all know how exactly THAT turned out. Thanks Brett Ratner. Thanks for nothing.
7. Batman Begins (2005)
This will not be the first time the Caped Crusader is on this list. With the success with a certain other movie, this one is lost to the side. It really has no right to be. A more serious take of a young Bruce Wayne earning his stripes as an hero by facing a former mentor. Easily one of the best origin stories told so far, Christian Bale (the best Batman yet) leads an all-star cast in bring darkness back to Batman, something painfully forgotten in the…shudder…Joel Schumacher movies. That alone warrants this movie to be on the list.
6. Ghost World (2001)
Well, it was a graphic novel to be more precise. Ghost World is the story of Enid (Thora Birch), a social outcast. She lives in a world that isn’t satisfying to her. None of it seems bad at all, but it just doesn’t work for her. Her best, and only, friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) gets a job and more or less grows up on Enid, who is busy trying to find her own way through life. The movie deals with the loneliness and uncertainty most of us face. I personally can totally relate to Enid as I’m still trying to figure myself out, but then again, aren’t we all?
5. Sin City (2005)
This is an anthology of short stories. Sin City is the most corrupt and crime ridden city imaginable. One is the only good cop the town saw for years, who’s framed and put behind bars (Bruce Willis’ Hartigan). The violence is brutal and cartoonish, but follows the comics panel for panel. The cast is all great, led by the creepy cannibal Kevin (Elijah Wood) and the scene stealing gladiator Marv (Mickey Rourke), who goes on a rampage over the death of a prostitute who was “nice” to him for a night. His last line is one of my all-time favorites, too.
4. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
This would be the pinnacle of the Marvel Comics movies for a few years. This is the one they really got right (Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane aside. She just ISN’T MJ). We see an adaption of the “Spider-Man No More” storyline as Peter Parker (the perfectly cast Tobey Maguire) tries to give up his powers for a normal life. Meanwhile, his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) spirals into alcoholism and a new villain, Doctor Octupus (Alfred Molina), enters the scene. The story, however, is all Parker’s as he matures into the hero we all knew he could be…and maybe he gets the girl, too.
3. Watchmen (2009)
Okay, so many of you didn’t get it which is a shame as Zack Snyder’s faithful adaption to Alan Moore’s classic mini-series is fantastic. It asks questions much deeper than the superhero genre had yet even begun to approach. Most notably this: if you could achieve world peace but had to betray your morals to do so, do you do it? This is what each of the Watchmen have to answer for themselves. Another great cast led by Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, this is a movie that will stick with you whether you loved it or hated it.
2. Iron Man (2008)
This movie almost stands in direct contrast to movies like Watchmen and my #1 comic book movie of all-time. There isn’t a lot of darkness here. This is a more upbeat, more so than any of the others on the list. Iron Man follows Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), a billionaire playboy in the arms business. He has a change of heart (get it?) after being captured by a group of terrorists where he creates his first suit of armor. The chemistry between Stark and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is off the charts and provides most of the movie’s highlights, even in quieter scenes. A great first step for Marvel Studios, this is the best origin story told to date.
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
I gave it away in a previous Top Ten that this would be the top movie on this list. Really, was there any doubt? While it is a bit too long and kills off an important character that would be needed later (though they couldn’t foresee Heath Ledger’s unfortunate death, obviously), it’s a film you walk away from and say, “wow.” It really isn’t fair to compare this to other comic book movies. It has more in common with a Martin Scorsese mob movie than it does to any of the rest on this list. A story about chaos vs order, Christopher Nolan just went out and made one of the best movies ever. No big deal or anything.
So there’s the list. What do you think? What should be here? What shouldn’t be here? In what order? Let me know!
I’ll be back sometime tomorrow with my review of Iron Man 2.
2 thoughts on “Top Ten Comic Book Movies”
Kudos to you for putting more recent movies in your list. Most people put “nostalgia” and “influence” over how good a movie actually is. Although I love Mystery Men it’s not for everybody and most people haven’t seen it. I think it does the comedy-superhero thing quite well.
I can honestly say that I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Mystery Men. That’s one I need to see the whole way through. The Donner cut of Superman II did almost make it. I had to give it a shoutout at least as it was the last one bumped.