As the familiar story goes, it's August and I'm hot. This in turn leads -- as it annually does -- to lethargy. Even picking up a novel or playing
video games are chores for me these days, so my apologies if it seems as though my heart isn't in Psychedelic Kimchi, that I'm mailing it in.
This post will certainly come off as such, but so be it. Kmart is constantly
reminding me that I've only written a meager four entries in our lauded PK 27 series of video game reminisces; and he's right, I have been slacking off in that department. It's just that whenever I get whatever holy force of inspiration urges me to write, clever, informed prose related to how much of a blast Puzzle Bobble is eludes me.
To make a long introduction short, I like to take my time with some things and fly by the seat of my pants with others. Sometimes, as is the latter's case here, that results in ostensibly gimmicky posts. But please believe me, Constant Retard*, when I say that I believe in myself. The content and quality of this post can be argued**, but, as the Hindu Floaty Thing as my witness, the only thing I mail in is my yearly subscription to Cat Fancier magazine.
That out of the way, let's count down the top twenty-five comic book movies (as always, keeping in mind the universal truth that lists are dumb), shall we?
They made the Kingpin black and Matt Murdock Ben Affleck, but, hey, no one's perfect. Daredevil gets a somewhat-deserved bad rap, and in no way should it be considered a great film of the genre, but it thankfully skips the whole origin story nonsense that hurts even pretty good movies like the new Star Trek and G.I. Joe (not that I've seen G.I. Joe).
24) Fantastic Four
The director, the actors, the poor reviews...nothing made me interested in seeing this. As one of Marvel's most-beloved and longest-running titles, the Fantastic Four definitely deserved better. But I caught it on cable a few years ago, and you know what, it's pretty darn nifty. Chris Evans is perfect as Johnny Storm.
23) Spider-Man 3
Again, negative buzz influenced me to skip this when it was in theaters. I watched it last year, and while it definitely suffers from too-many-villains-spoil-the-soup syndrome, it's not that bad. (Telling that the first three entries on this list are, truth be told, fairly crappy. The sky's the limit for superhero films after all the awful adaptations Hollywood produced in the 90s.)
22) X-Men: The Last Stand
Another unfairly maligned threequel. Admit it, you love Kelsey Grammer as Beast. You so do! Ratner-hating fanboys are the Pavlov dogs of filmdom.
I know, I know, it's not based on a comic book. Regardless, it's still a superhero story, and quite a good one at that. Answers the question that everyone already knows: If you could have one super power, what would it be and what would you use it for? Teleportation and robbing banks, naturally.
The harbinger of Marvel's rise to box office success. That a third-tier (at best) character pulled off such a feat is somewhat remarkable until you remember that vampires plus kung-fu is basically a license to print money.
19) Blade II
While I don't love it nearly as much as Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles did, I would be doing you all a disservice if I didn't include an excerpt from his unabashedly gushing, raunchy review:
Watch his ‘HOUSE OF PAIN’ sequence in BLADE 2. BLADE 2 is the tongue, mouth, fingers and lips of a lover. The Audience is the clit. Watch your audience. This is where Guillermo Del Toro goes down on the audience. It starts with long licks with a nose bump on the joy button slowly. He smiles as he does this… Watching the audience begin to squirm, then he takes the audiences’ clit in his mouth and just licks it like crazy, the audience is ready, on that precipice, then calm. He backs off… long licks again, brings in a finger to massage a bit, licks from the bottom to the top… The audience is cooing… He has them, they want release. He acts like he’s going to give it to you, takes you right to the edge, the audiences’ backs arched, ready to cum…. Backs off pinching the nipples just so, his head bobbing up to say, "You like?" The audience shifts around needing release, he builds again…
18) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
I, um, haven't seen it, but I bet it's pretty cool.
Honestly, Hellboy is damn near the perfect comic book movie, and I would have ranked it higher if I were invested at all in the character of Hellboy. (And, no, I haven't seen The Golden Army. Not all of it, anyway. Shame on me.)
16) The Incredible Hulk
Washes the bad taste of Ang Lee's shitfest out of my mouth. Edward Norton is the perfect Bruce Banner. It's too bad he's such a booger that he won't be assembling with the Avengers in 2011.
All told, Superman is actually kinda boring, save for Christopher Reeve. If he doesn't receive a posthumous honorary Oscar for his role as Clark Kent-Supes in my lifetime, I'm going to throw a garbage can through a store window like Radio Raheem.
14) V for Vendetta
Hugo Weaving is masterful as the titular V, Natalie Portman lovely beyond description as Evey. Subversion never felt so good, so right.
13) Batman Begins
I am Christopher Nolan. I am going to reinvent the Batman franchise. You think that was good? Trust me, I'm just warming up.
Yeah, I hate slogging through origin stories, too, but this is Spider-Man, THE origin story (my apologies to The New Testament). Not even a mind-numbingly horrible Macy Gray cameo can besmirch the gift of witnessing Spidey brought to the big screen in 2002.
11) The Incredibles
The Incredibles out-fantasticked the Fantastic Four, sorta like how Daniel Day-Lewis has been out-DeNiroing Robert De Niro.
10) Sin City
It's no mean feat that director Robert Rodriguez was able to create the most stylish comic book movie to date while at the same time holding "co-director" Frank Miller's raging ego at bay.
The film that ushered in the golden age of superhero cinema. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Excelsior!
Cribs heavily from The Wrath of Khan, sure, but X2 makes blatantly obvious the logic behind Charles Xavier's school. A fantastic parable.
Ahead of its time. If Unbreakable were released today, it would be heralded as a Kubrickian take on the genre. For all of M. Night Shyamalan's many latter-day faults, it should be noted that he created perhaps the most singular superhero story in cinema history.
6) Iron Man
The most fun comic book film I've ever had the pleasure of watching. The pure joy of seeing Tony Stark build and test the Iron Man armor is one of the greatest movie-going experiences I've ever had, even if the final battle with the Iron Monger left much to be desired. Robert Downey Jr. nailed Tony Stark like a mallet.
5) Spider-Man 2
What a script! If How to Write Comic Book Movies ever becomes a university course (if it isn't already), Spider-Man 2 should be dissected and picked apart like a med school cadaver.
Technically a comic book movie, and that's why it's included here. You got a problem with that, take it up with Oh Dae-su.
3) The Dark Knight
A comic book movie that tries its damnedest to not be one. The Dark Knight is to comic book movies what Watchmen was to its four-color counterpart. Speaking of which...
2) Watchmen (Director's Cut)
I'm not convinced that Zack Snyder's Watchmen will in time become a cult classic in the same vein as Blade Runner, because, with the Internet and the disposable nature of today's culture, even masterpieces are quickly forgotten. However, much like the source material, I'm confident that Watchmen's audience will grow, and hopefully people will realize what a remarkable triumph Snyder managed to pull off.
1) Superman 2
Is Superman 2 a better film than the three preceding titles? Of course not. Is it a better comic book movie? Absolutely. Superman 2 is a pure comic book movie, possessing all the wonder and unbelievable fantasy inherent to its artform. There is an increasing trend to make superhero films more believable, and in the process the magnificent goofiness is being stripped away. The reason I love Superman 2 so much is because it embraces its comic book roots instead of attempting to legitimize itself. The comics medium is fortunate in that it can go anywhere, tackle any subject, but, for me, it all comes back to the nucleus of modern-day mythology. And that's why Superman 2 is the best comic book movie ever made, either the original Richard Lester version or the Richard Donner cut.
** for centuries!