A Look at Comic Book Movies (that I’ve actually seen)
As we get closer to the big movies coming out this year, I finally decided it was time to discuss the comic book movies Iâ€™ve seen in the past. The superhero genre has brought us some great films and some not so great.
Now I know this has been, and will be, done to death in other fantastic articles so rather than rank them in some kind of top ten list or give character and plot analyses which everyone is already familiar with, I am simply going to go over them and give my opinions on them. This list is restricted to mainstream DC and Marvel Comics (with a couple exceptions) and live action, theatrical releases. And I canâ€™t stress enough; this is just my opinion feel free to disagree if you like.
Before I discuss the movies I did see, let me briefly explain why certain movies are not on here.
The Watchmen & Swamp Thing-I have great respect for Alan Moore, but I just never got into these creations.
Catwoman-I have common sense.
This is a tough one, the X-Men films have been praised by critics and fans (well, the first two anyway) but I simply have never liked The X-men. Not just because I am a DC fan, but I have always hated the whole way the heroes are hated by the public in those stories. So, I had no desire to see the movies. I am sure they are great and very well made, but I have no interest in them. However, I have heard so many good things I may have to check it out someday.
The Hulk & Thor-Same story, just not interested. Hulk actually looked real dumb.
Batman (1966)-I have already done a review of this, and covered everything I could have said.
Now here is a look at the movies I did see, good or bad.
Hard to believe before 1978 â€œsuper-hero filmsâ€ were relegated to TV movies or serials on Saturday mornings in the old days. This was the first real superhero movie, and boy is it well done! Christopher Reeve is Superman, â€˜nuff said! I was only four when it came out, and remember being bored until Superman showed up. Of course, I was a kid and didnâ€™t really know the character I was watching. Now I look back and realize how great the movie isâ€¦.except for the ending. I mean, spinning the Earth backward to reverse time? Since Nostalgia Critic already ripped that apart I will spare you my rant, but as silly as that was it still doesnâ€™t make this any less of a great film. My favorite scene is when Superman saves Margot Kidder from a helicopter malfunction. It doesnâ€™t sound like it, but what a great introduction that was to the character. I still remember seeing it in theatres. In fact itâ€™s that cute moment that made me fall in love with the movie, and maybe even the character. This movie is just so great, including the score by John Williams which no superhero film has yet to top.
Superman II (1980)
Of course, there is a reason the ending of Superman is the way it is. Because the original version was changed when Richard Donner dropped out of the project. This movie was supposed to be filled simultaneously with the first one. At least, that was the plan.That is a long story for another time, but at least we can see the version of Superman II as Donner imagined it now. Gotta say, itâ€™s a lot better too! If you can check it out. So, what about the version most are familiar with? Honestly, I hated it. Superman and Lois sleeping together? Wrong! Superman giving up his powers for Lois? Wrong! Clark getting his ass handed to him in a pointless bar fight? Wrong! Why is Lex in this movie again? The villains are totally unlikable (in my opinion), even Zod. Sure he gives a few good lines but overall I hated him. Is this a bad movie? No, not at all. There are good moments and I loved the final scene in the fortress when Superman outthinks and defeats the villains. When Superman takes Zodâ€™s hand and proceeds to crush itâ€¦.fantastic moment! But there are some real bad things in this movie, like the idiocy of the Niagara Falls scene when the dumb kid falls in not to mention the inexplicable memory loss kiss which I never understood. It was years later I realized it wasnâ€™t just me. Not great, but it could be lots worstâ€¦..and it will get lots worst!
Superman III (1983)
This movie was supposed to be funnyâ€¦.right? Richard Pryor was never my favorite, but I liked him enough. Itâ€™s not that heâ€™s bad in this movie as he is out of place. Why is he here? The â€œvillainâ€ is a super computer with no real character. If they were going to make the villain a super computer, then why didnâ€™t they just make it Brainiac? That is the movie I would love to see, that is one villain it seems no one wants to touch. There is a moment when the computer grabs a woman and turns her into a robot. This scene freaked me out when I was a kid! I was relieved to see comments on a YouTube page saying the same thing. I know, itâ€™s silly but that scene really bothered me. This movie was ok. I liked the scene in the junkyard where Superman battles himself. Sure, it was a bit farfetched but it feels like the only scene where any real effort was put into it. I havenâ€™t seen this film in years, and I plan on keeping it that way. In fact a few years my father gave me as a gift a box set of all four movies. I kept the first two and tossed the last two.
Oh, manâ€¦.this one hurt. How could this fail so hard? You had Helen Slater who looked the part great. You had many of the same people who made the Superman movies. You had Faye Dunaway and Peter Oâ€™Toole. You had our first real look at the phantom zone. Despite that, this movie still sucks! Bad story and hammy over-acting are just too much, and this is just forgettable.
Superman IV:The Quest for Peace (1988)
(even the poster sucks!!!)
What can I possibly say about this movie that others havenâ€™t already said? Nothing really. This was so bad between the awful special effects and that ludicrous story (although after hearing about Superman:Grounded suddenly this story doesnâ€™t seem as dumb). The real tragedy is this was the last time Christopher Reeve got to play Superman. The Nostalgia Critic and Linkara did a great review on this which pretty much summed things up better than I can. It was just terrible! I will say one thing; try to find the DC Comics adaptation they came out with. It is soooo much better.
Alright! Now weâ€™re talking! I know I am going to get into trouble for saying this, but for me this is still the best version of Batman ever made. Donâ€™t hate me yet, I liked the later movies and will talk about them shortly. But this was BATMAN, the way he was meant to be portrayed. The funny thing is when I heard Michael Keaton was going to do the role I, along with many, was scared to death. I mean, Beetlejuice as Batman? But you know what, he did an amazing job! Jack Nicholson was a fantastic Joker (no offense to Heath Ledger, will get to him). What he did what that character was amazing. Batman is supposed to be brooding and slip into the shadows. This film even remembers that he was also a detective! That is something I find the movies forget, Batman is supposed be the worldâ€™s greatest detective not just someone who goes around and kicks ass. I even like Kim Bassinger in this, and I think this is the only time I will say that about her. The only think wrong in this movie is that they gloss over the relationship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon. I give Batman Begins total credit for getting that right because this movie missed it almost entirely. Gordon was more than just a secondary character, he and Batman were friends who trusted each other. Anyway, long story short-great movie!
Dick Tracy (1990)
I know this is neither DC nor Marvel but I had to mention this one. Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, and Madonna! Sounds like a bad idea, doesnâ€™t it? Guess what, it was! This movie stunk! The action was awful the music awful, even the sets were awful! I had no interest in Dick Tracy before, and I really had no interest after.
The Rocketeer (1991)
Another exception to my rule. I was disappointed in this film thanks to Disneyâ€™s brilliant ad campaign which showed every single flying scene in their TV spots. The film felt like a re-run before I ever saw it. I also hate Timothy Dalton which didnâ€™t help. However from what I remember the movie really wasnâ€™t that bad. Itâ€™s been a long time since I sat through it. Hmmm, maybe it would be worth a re-watch?
Batman Returns (1992)
Yeah, I gotta say that this one was a little too dark. Not suggesting that itâ€™s a bad movie because it isnâ€™t. However, I donâ€™t put it at the top of my list the way others do. Still, Danny Devito did a great job reinventing The Penguin and Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman was fantastic. She was just great in this movie, itâ€™s no wonder the studio green lit a spin-off movie. Too bad that screwed it up. A lot of people complain Batman isnâ€™t in this movie much, and I never really saw that. I do wonder why they put Christopher Walken in this. He and his plot are kind of pointless to the movie. However, this movie really is good and while I may not love it quite as much as the first itâ€™s still one of my favorites.
Batman Forever (1995)
This is my idea of a comic book movie. I know, lots will disagree. But this is what I think of. Silly action, corny dialogue, bright colors and elaborate backgrounds. The only problem with this movie was Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face. That sounded perfect on paper, what went wrong? I think Tommy Lee Jones just did this film for the paycheck, he put not effort at all into it. Nothing wrong with doing something just for fun but you still have to try. Pretty bad when Jim Carrey comes off as the better actor. By the way, I think this is one of Jim Carreyâ€™s better roles and I donâ€™t understand why people donâ€™t agree with that. Val Kilmer was ok, he played his Batman pretty good but his Bruce Wayne was a bit stiff. And why did we need that back-story about his fatherâ€™s journal? That was just pointless and dumb. So, this movie is not perfect, but itâ€™s a lot of fun and if I had to pick one film on this list to watch this would be it. Now I said that I liked this movie because of the silly action and corny dialogue, but what happens if that goes too far? Why, you have our next movie of course!
Batman & Robin (1997)
Sometimes you know a movie is going to be bad, but you go anyway and just experience the awfulness of it. That was this movie. This was soâ€¦..well, just so bad. George Clooney as Batman? Arnold Schwarzenegger? I will say one thing; I liked Uma Thurman in this movie. I donâ€™t know why, I just did. All in all, a lousy one which is a shame. For some reason IV movies seem to suck in this genre, kind of glad Chris Nolan is stopping after this next one coming out.
Ok, finally we get Marvel. They got off to a slow start with films like Howard the Duck, Punisher and the campy Captain America. X-Men was there break out film, and this came out a year later. As I stated I was never a big Marvel fan. Spider-Man was the exception. I watched him on The Electric Company (god am I old), I loved Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (best show ever! Well, not really but it was really cool), and the Venom story was one story I loved (more on that shortly). True, I donâ€™t like everything about Spider-Man. I hate J Jonah Jameson, I really do. I also hated the early days when the cops thought he was a villain. It made sense with the X-Men but with Spider-Man it was just silly. So, how did I feel about this film? I liked it. Sure, they messed up The Green Goblin, but all in all I really liked this movie. It was fun and not dark and brooding like superhero movies always have to be these days. They did a great job with the Peter Parkerâ€™s origin, staying very faithful to the original. Tobey Maguire was fine as Peter and I liked Kirsten Dunst enough. William DaFoe was over the top but I liked him. I didnâ€™t like the ending when Peter walks away from Mary Jane, thankfully that got rectified in the next movie.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
I kind of liked the first one, but I loved this movie. I really did. I was surprised to, because Al Molina isnâ€™t my favorite actor. But he was great as Dr.Octopus! I enjoyed every moment he was on the screen. Sure, you can poke apart the film and there are some silly things in it. All in all, I thought they did a good job picking up the story from the first movie and keeping it going. I didnâ€™t even mind the subplot about Peter hating his powers and all that. Sure that is kind of clichÃ©, but it worked in this movie good enough.This also has a happier ending, and that alone is enough to make me like it more than the 1st.
Batman Begins (2005)
Guess I canâ€™t avoid talking about this anymore. Here it is, I liked this fine but I still prefer the Tim Burton one. Sorry, but I like my comic book movies to feel like, well, theyâ€™re a comic book movie! Who came up with this idea that superheroes have to be like real people? Yeah, it worked in Hancock but enough! The writing and story are important but I also want silly action and crazy costumes, flashy colors and special effects. Hmmm, Iâ€™m starting to sound like an old person (In my day we didnâ€™t have these kinds of moviesâ€¦..). That is why I am excited about The Avengers; it looks like that is going to be fun. Ok, fair is fair and this is a really good movie. One problem, I hate the way Christian Bale played Batman. Batman is supposed to be cool, not act like a crazed maniac. And what is up with that voice? Even the costume wasnâ€™t that good! One thing I did like was the villains, I never thought any movie could do justice to The Scarecrow, but this movie did it very well! Raâ€™s Al Ghul was also good, and I did enjoy such a faithful version of the origin showing more than just how Bruceâ€™s parents died. I feel the hateful responses getting started, but wait. I still have to talk about The Dark Knight.
Fantastic Four (2005)
Yeah, this wasn’t so fantastic. Someone recommended I see this, and I really wish they hadnâ€™t. This was so dull! I mean how do you make Dr.Doom, one of the coolest villains ever, boring? I was actually surprised when this ended. I was like, â€œthatâ€™s it?â€I did like the part where Jessica Alba takes her clothes off on the bridge, but that was about it. I never did see the sequel, but was always a fan of the Silver Surfer so maybe someday. This was painful.
Superman Returns (2006)
Speaking of pain. What more can I say about this massive disappointment? I knew Superman IV was going to be bad going in, so I wasnâ€™t that shocked. Not the case for his movie, I had high hopes. I love Superman, and as so excited to see a new movie at last! Wow was I disappointed! Brandon Routh was awful, Kate Bosworth was awful, and that story! Lois married? No!! And in the end when she is still with the guy and Superman just flies off, what???? I want to see Lois and Clark together not Lois and this boring guy! Superman II took the relationship to far, and this movie threw it to the gutter. I could go on and one, but The Sci Fi Guy did a great review on this which I pretty much agree with point by point. So rather than bore you, go check that review out. I will say one thing; the scene where Superman lands the plane was pretty awesome. But that was it!! I have high hopes for The Man of Steel; hope I am not disappointed again!
Spider-Man 3Â (2007)
As I noted, the one Marvel story I read and enjoyed was the Venom on. So, I was as excited as anyone else when it was revealed he would be in this one. It was, well, a disappointment. Let me tell you what really annoyed me in this film. Why did they have to tie The Sandman into Peter Parkerâ€™s past? I meanâ€¦why??? It was just so unnecessary and made the pointless back story for Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever seem reasonable. Overall, I didnâ€™t hate this movie as much as others. Sure, the emo-Peter crap was lame and we didnâ€™t get to see Venom enough but I still liked it. It was clear they wanted to tie up as much as possible and it did get to be too much. And giving Harry amnesia was lame, obviously just an excuse to keep the main fight till later in the film. Truth this movie has lots of plot holes, but I still didnâ€™t hate it. By the way, I am not going to see the new Spider-Man, just not interested in yet another movie about a brooding hero.
Iron Man (2007)
When I saw this I was in a really bad mood and didnâ€™t care if I liked it or not. I was surprised, as I watched it I found myself quite impressed by it. I always kind of liked Iron Man, I even gave his comic a chance once upon a time. This movie was actually pretty good! The action was exciting, the special effects were cool, and Robert Downey Jr was remarkably likable. I am amazed at the way he has come back these last few years. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I have been meaning to give to a re-watch, and have not seen the sequel yet.
The Dark Knight (2008)
It was good. It was real good. In fact I liked it more than Batman Begins. However, I still will take the Tim Burton version. I did love what Heath Ledger did with The Joker. He did an exceptional job, and what Chris Nolan did with Two-Face was amazing. I loved that character in this movie. It made me realize just how awful Tommy Lee Jones had been. However, at the same time this film just doesnâ€™t feel like a comic book movie! Seriously, you can replace Batman with anyone and have the exact same movie! I think thatâ€™s why a lot love it, because it didnâ€™t feel like a comic book movie. But, isnâ€™t that what itâ€™s supposed to be? I also thought it was a tad long, toward the end I felt like screaming â€œjust end already!â€. However I am being hard on the movie, it did have some great action and it was very well made. Many people say it’s the greatest comic book movie ever made. It may not be my personal favorite, but I get why others call it that. Great movie and I look forward to the next one.
Captain America:The First Avenger (2011)
I wanted to watch this because of The Avengers movie coming out. Captain Amercia is an easy hero to make fun of. Letâ€™s be honest, that costume is kind of goofy. However, this film manages to do a good job with the character. They made him likeable and did a nice job with his back story. The movie even makes fun of how silly his costume is, and the improved one is only a little better. Captain America kicks ass, and so does this movie! This movie was clearly a set-up for the Avengerâ€™s movie (like the title doesnâ€™t give that away), but you know it worked for me. It made me want to see that film.
Green Lantern (2011)
Ok, if you thought I was nuts after what I said about The Dark Knight, just wait. Green Lantern was my favorite superhero when I was young. I have always wanted to see a live action movie, and was very excited when I heard they were making one. It could have been the worst piece of crap ever made, and I still would have loved seeing my favorite hero brought to life. Well, it wasnâ€™t the worst piece of crap ever made but it was lousy. I still enjoyed seeing my favorite hero come to life. Iâ€™m sorry, but when he said that oath the first time I had a huge smile on my face, the kid inside me loved it! A few weeks ago I saw the film again, and yeah the movie has problems. The problem is simply the script, so many plot holes or things not explained. The worst moment for me is after he gets his ring and discovers how to charge it; we get an exciting scene ofâ€¦.Hal talking to his girlfriend?? Yeah, this movie needed help and I am hoping somehow a sequel will be made because Green Lantern deserves a true and faithful adaptation. At least it wasnâ€™t Superman Returns.
In conclusion, looking ahead :
I am eager to see The Dark Knight Rises. I hope they can do to Catwoman what the previous film did for The Joker. But why Bane?? I also want to see The Avengers. As for Spider-Man, no interest. I am very nervous about The Man of Steel next year, just hope that they do the character justice this time!
Well, this article went on a bit long. If you stayed with me thanks for reading, and feel free to comment and let me know what you disagree with. Also let me know if I missed or forgot to mention any.