Top 25 Comic Book Movies of All Time
What Are The Top 25 Comic Book Movies of All Time??!!
This list was originally a Top 20 list of the Best Comic Book Movies of All Time. However, when I first published this list, in the Summer of 2011, "Thor" had just been released and "Captain America: The First Avenger", "Green Lantern", and "X-Men: First Class", were just on the horizon. Since then, those films have been joined this past Summer by the likes of "The Avengers," "The Amazing Spider Man," and "The Dark Knight Rises," and Marvel has already announced their plans and titles for sequels in the coming years, including: "Thor: The Dark World," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Iron Man 3," and a sequel to the ultra successful "Avengers" film. At the pace that great comic book movies are getting made (especially by Marvel), I can see that it is going to be tough to keep up and keep this list up to date, but I will do my best, starting with the revised list below. Given the number of great releases since I first created this list, and the fact that I realized I inadvertently omitted a couple of my favorites the first time around, I have expanded this list to be my Top 25 Best Comic Book Movies of All Time.
I do intend to keep the list limited to my Top 25 going forward, and in the interest of trying to keep this list to a manageable size, I intentionally left out some really good films that, while based on a comic book or graphic novel (like "History of Violence" and "Road To Perdition"), did not really have any "comic book" type elements in them (i.e., superpowers, costumes, sci-fi or other fantasy elements). I also excluded all animated films based on comic books from consideration as well (i.e., no "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm"), as I do not think that animated films can be fairly compared to live action films, which require acting (beyond voice acting), stunts and special effects.
Finally, please remember that there are a ton of comic book movies out there now, and It is possible that I have not seen them all. So if your personal favorite is missing, please let me know what it is in the comment section, and, if I have not seen it, I will try to check it out, or at least let you know why I did not include it. It is also possible that one of your favorites simply was not one of mine, or at least not one I thought deserved to be in my Top 25. The most important factor for any movie to be on any of my movies lists is watchability and re-watchability, meaning is it a movie that is still watchable years later (or does it seem dated), and is it a movie I enjoy (or, for newer films, know I will enjoy) watching over and over?
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ARE THERE ANY SUMMER 2013 COMIC BOOK FILMS THAT DESERVE A PLACE ON THIS LIST??
The Movie Summer of 2013 is almost over, and once again there were quite a few new comic book movies that came out (some of which I believe may deserve a spot on my list). But I want to hear what you think?
Which Summer 2013 Comic Book Movies, If Any, Deserve A Place On This List??
#25. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007)
Cast: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Amber Sainsbury, Mark Boone Junior, Mark Rendall
Why It's #25: "30 Days of Night," which was based on a graphic novel of the same name, quickly became one of my favorite comic book and vampire movies of all time, with its original premise of a pack of vampires attacking an isolated Alaskan town as it goes into its 30-day long polar night. At the time this movie came out, it was the first vampire movie I had seen in a long time that was actually scary. I really liked the idea of the vampires methodically sending in a human scout (who was played to creepy perfection by Ben Foster) to sabotage all the means of communication and transportation before they showed up. Then there is the vampires themselves, who are truly creepy with their distorted faces and razor-like teeth. I also liked how they are not subtle when they show up, but appear more like a force of nature determined to wipe this town off the map. The use of a fictional language made up of strange "click" like sounds for the vampires to communicate, was a nice touch, and added to the vampires' overall creepiness. The cold weather claustrophobic feel of this film has made it a favorite (along with John Carpenter's "The Thing") among my friends for late night watching during ski trips. It's no surprise that this movie also ranks high on my list of best vampire movies of all time.
#24. WANTED (2008)
Why It's #24: Okay, "Wanted" was only loosely based on the comic book series of the same name, written by Mark Millar, and I know the plot departures from the series grated on a lot of the hardcore fans. However, the movie had some great lines and scenes (who among us has not dreamt of telling off an annoying supervisor the way McAvoy's character did, after discovering his abilities), not to mention some fantastic action sequences (the train shoot-out, and the final showdown at the Fraternity's HQ). It also didn't hurt that we got to see Angelina Jolie in the buff (schwing)!!
#23. THE CROW (1994)
Cast: Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Rochelle Davis, Michael Wincott, Bai Ling, Anna Levine, Tony Todd
Why It's #23: "The Crow," which was based on the 1989 comic book series, was inadvertently left off my original Top 20 list, but it is more than deserving of a place among any list of the best comic book movies of all time. I enjoy this movie every time I see it, but it also always makes me a little sad to see the break out talent that Brandon Lee showed, knowing that his life and career were tragically cut short during the filming of this movie. The film is about a musician named Eric Draven, played by Brandon Lee (son of the great Bruce Lee), who returns from the dead approximately a year after he and his fiance' were both brutally murdered by a street gang, in order to exact revenge against the perpetrators of the crime, including the crime boss, who set the wheels in motion. For those who don't know, Lee was accidentally (and ironically) shot during the filming of the very scene in which his character was also shot and killed, after a "dummy" bullet was accidentally left in the prop gun used for the scene. Since the majority of the film (or at least Lee's scenes) had been filmed already, thankfully this great movie was still able to be completed and released. The film has an incredible dark and gritty visual style, some fantastic action scenes, and boasts one of the best movie soundtracks of all time, which is filled with some great 90's grunge rock from the likes of "Stone Temple Pilots" and "Rage Against The Machine," that perfectly compliment the style and dark tone of the film.
#22. THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
Why It's #22: Although "The Incredible Hulk" reboot of the Hulk franchise, in terms of box office dollars, only slightly out performed Ang Lee's previously released "Hulk" film, I always thought that this movie got a raw deal having to follow on the heels of Ang Lee's disastrous attempt. If this movie had been released first, it probably would have received a lot more anticipation, and would have performed much better at the box office (and a reboot may not have been necessary). Unfortunately, even though it came out five years after, many fans had not washed the bad taste of the prior film out of their mouths, and didn't give this one a fair shake, which is too bad because Edward Norton was a much more believable Bruce Banner than Eric Bana (it's too bad we won't be seeing him in "Avengers"). More importantly, we finally got to see Hulk have an onscreen, knock down, drag-out fight with someone (the Abomination) who could go toe-to-toe with him, which is the kind of slugfest that the Hulk is all about. Also, Tim Roth was great as the pre-Abomination, Emil Blonsky, and we got our second peak at the shared Marvel movie universe with the post credits Tony Stark appearance.
#21. MEN IN BLACK (1997)
Why It's #21: I have to admit that when I first saw "Men In Black" in 1997, I had no idea that it was based on a comic book series (most people still don't), but it was my favorite Summer movie that year. This movie, about a top secret agency that polices alien activity on Earth, had the perfect mix of action and comedy. I loved the revelations that the trashy tabloid newspapers were actually delivering the real news, and that many of our weirdest celebrities were actually aliens posing as humans (I knew it!!). Tommy Lee Jones was great as the humorless Agent K, and he and Will Smith, as the smart ass newbie, Agent J, played perfectly off of each other. BTW: Where can I get one of those memory wiping "Neuralyzers"?!!
#20. WATCHMEN (2009)
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Malin Ackerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino
Why It's #20: When I first read "The Watchmen" back in the '80s, I was amazed by the scope and depth of the story, and couldn't wait when I heard it was going to be adapted to film. Then for 20 years the movie was stuck in development hell, and was declared "unfilmable" by one time director, Terry Gilliam. Although it took 24 years, Zack Snyder proved Gilliam wrong, and successfully adapted Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore's mini-series, while remaining extremely faithful to the source material (there were scenes that looked like they were literally lifted right out of the comic). While the movie received some mixed and negative reviews, it was mostly from general audiences (who I don't think could get past having to see Dr. Manhattan's giant glow-in-the dark crank), and from fanboys, who didn't like the minor revision to the final act re Dr. Manhattan being blamed for the explosion in NY (c'mon do you really think a giant one-eyed alien squid teleporting into the center of Manhattan, would have translated well to film?? Get over it!). Jackie Earle Haley absolutely brought "Rorschach" to life and stole every scene he was in, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan was dead-on as the cigar chomping "Comedian." Not to mention, this movie has some of the best ultra-violent fight scenes on film, and earned its hard "R" rating (gotta give Snyder credit for not trying to pander to kids by making the typical family friendly "PG-13" superhero flick). Without making a five hour film, there was really no way Snyder could have made "Watchmen" much better.
#19. IRON MAN 2 (2010)
Why It's #19: Given the success and quality of the first "Iron Man" film, the bar was set high for the sequel. Although not as good as the original, "Iron Man 2" was a great follow up, and carried forward most of the fun character and story elements, not to mention great action and special effects, that made the original so good. Once again, Robert Downey, Jr., stole the show as Tony Stark, but I also liked the addition of Scarlet Johannsen as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Natasha Romanov (aka, the "Black Widow"), and I for one preferred Don Cheadle (over Terrance Howard) as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes (nice to see "War Machine" kick some ass too). Also, Mickey Rourke's amalgamated version of comic villains "Whiplash" and "Crimson Dynamo," was believably intimidating and creepy, and Same Rockwell's "Justin Hammer" added some nice comic relief.
#18. SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (1978)
Why It's #18: "Superman: The Movie" is the one that started it all, the superhero movie that all others would try to follow. Before the onset of anything being possible with CGI, this 1978 film actually lived up to its promo line and made kids "believe that a man could fly." Although not as muscular as many believed Superman should be, Christopher Reeve wore the spit curl and long johns better than anyone to come before or after, and still stands as the Superman gold standard. Although some of the effects look a little dated now, considering it is over 30 years old, this movie is still very watchable and holds up well. Plus, it has a great John Williams score that has become so recognizable to Superman, that it also was used heavily on "Smallville." However, I do still get annoyed by the whole flying around the world so fast that he turns back time thing (c'mon, Superman can't do that!!), and while I love Gene Hackman, his Lex Luthor seemed less world conquering genius, and more weaselly real estate investor with mass homicidal delusions of grandeur (and who's brilliant idea was it to cast Ned "Squeal Like A Pig" Beatty as Luthor's idiotic right-hand-man??). I'll probably take some heat for ranking this one so low, but it has its faults. Although, it is really hard to compare it to all the comic films made in the last 10 to 15 years, which have the benefit of all the newest special effects and technology (yet, even with all those advantages, "Superman Returns" still ended up sucking, go figure).
#17. SIN CITY (2005)
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, Clive Owen, Devon Aoki, Rutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Elijah Wood, Jaime King, Brittany Murphy, Josh Hartnett, Michael Clarke Duncan
Why It's #17: "Sin City" is Robert Rodriguez's adaptation (more like perfect translation) of Frank Miller's pulp noir graphic novel, and is a wild (not to mention bloody violent) ride. This film has a fantastic ensemble cast, and does a great job of tying together several different stories and staying loyal to the source material. "The Hard Goodbye" portion of the story stands above the rest, as Mickey Rourke's rendition of "Marv" was spot on, and helped revive his career. Also, I never thought I could find Elijah "Frodo Baggins" Wood terrifying until seeing him play the cannibalistic serial killer "Kevin," squaring off with Rourke. Oh yea, and we got to see Carla Gugino in all her glory (schwing!!).
#16. SUPERMAN II (1980)
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perrine, Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, Jack O'Halloran
Why It's #16: "Kneel before Zod!!" Thirty one years later, and that line is still fun to say. "Superman II," a great follow up that surpassed the original "Superman," is all about the villains. We finally got to see Superman take on someone tougher than an earthquake, and more threatening than Lex Luthor and his semi-retarded henchman, Otis. Terrance Stamp's "General Zod" is one of the best cinematic comic book villains of all time, and the battle in Metropolis between Supes and Zod, Nom, and Ursa, even 30 years later, is still impressive and fun to watch (not to mention ten times better than anything we saw in the crapfest that was "Superman Returns"). Granted, once again we had to swallow Superman pulling random powers out of his arse: Really, did Superman just pull a giant saran wrap version of his insignia off his chest and throw it at Nom? Wow, I didn't know Superman could duplicate himself! And please don't get me started on the super "make-you-forget-my-identity" kiss that he hit Lois with at the end of the movie (c'mon, Superman can't do that!!).
#15. 300 (2006)
Why It's #15: "This is Sparta!!" Okay, "300" was one of those movies that was so good, I was ready to turn around and walk back in the theater to see it again, the second I walked out. Director Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel, which retold the story of King Leonidas and 300 Spartans holding off the entire Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae, is visually stunning, and has some of the most intense and insane battle sequences I've ever seen. The fight between the Spartans and the Immortals was absolutely sick. Not to mention this movie gave Director Zack Snyder the cred he needed to finally get "Watchmen" made. You definitely need to have a strong appetite for some crazy-ass violence and buckets of blood for this one, but not to worry, because "Tonight, we dine in Hell!!"
#14. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
Why It's #14: "Captain America: The First Avenger" does a fantastic job weaving together a superhero origin movie with a World War II period adventure film. Director Joe Johnston definitely drew on his prior experience as the Art Director on two of the Indiana Jones films, and his direction of "The Rocketeer," which also took place in that era, to authentically create the look and feel of the 1940s and the World War II era. Chris Evans, to my surprise, did a fantastic job in his portrayal of the title character, and did not slip back into his usual wise cracking self, as he has done with most characters he has played in the past. Hugo Weaving definitely tapped into some of his inner evil "Agent Smith," left over from the Matrix films, to perfectly play the Red Skull. The film also has strong supporting performances from Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, and Sebastian Stan, and is filled with great action and fight sequences, including some great scenes where Cap showed off his patented shield slinging abilities. You can read my full review of the movie here.
#13. THOR (2011)
Why It's #13: I was initially skeptical about "Thor", which I was afraid could turn out to be a bit campy, but as soon as they gave us the first glimpse of Asgard, I knew this was going to be a great film, and after multiple viewings I have decided that it definitely deserves a place on this list (although, I admit it has dropped a couple spots after the release of some other great comic films that have cracked my Top 10). Chris Hemsworth's performance of "Thor" reminded me of the fun and adventurous take that Robert Downey, Jr., originally brought to the "Iron Man" role. Anthony Hopkins was perfectly cast as "Odin," and Tom Hiddleson nearly stole the film with his portrayal of "Loki." While I would have liked to see more, the action and fight sequences in the film were incredible, especially the first battle between Thor and the Frost Giants, where we got to see him really unleash the power of Mjolnir. You can read my entire review of the movie here.
#12. BLADE (1999)
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Sanaa Lathan, Stephen Dorff, Donal Logue, N'Bushe Wright, Traci Lords
Why It's #12: Long before Wesley Snipes was dodging taxes, he was kicking some serious vampire ass and taking names, as the half-human, half-vampire hybrid, Blade (aka "The Daywalker"), the baddest-ass vampire slayer around (sorry "Buffy"). "Blade" was the first successful comic book film to follow in the wake of the "Batman and Robin" and "Steel" debacles, and paved the way for Marvel to begin adapting their higher profile and higher budget properties like X-Men and Spiderman. Without the success of "Blade," it is possible that those subsequent films would not even have been greenlit. The combination of techno and hip-hop music with the high visual style and action-packed fight sequences, made this movie incredibly fun to watch. The opening scene, where Blade makes his first appearance at a vampire feeding party, which is disguised as an underground rave, is still one of my all-time favorites. Not only is Blade a great comic book movie, it is also in the top 3 of my Top 20 List of Best Vampire Movies Ever too.
#11. BATMAN (1989)
Why It's #11: "What... "Mr. Mom" is playing Batman? Are they F**king kidding me?!!" That's all I could say when I first heard the news that Michael Keaton had been cast as the lead in "Batman". Luckily, I was way wrong. Fifteen minutes into the movie Keaton literally told the audience "I'm Batman!," as he hung a mugger off a building, and made us believers. Keaton was great, and Nicholson's "Joker" was even better (of course, I didn't have any doubts about that casting choice), and he delivered some of the greatest and most memorable movie lines ever ("Where does he get those wonderful toys?," "Ever dance with the Devil under the pale moonlight?," "Wait til they get a load of me."). Director Tim Burton smartly gave the film a dark tone and gothic design, and delivered the first superhero movie that really took its core material seriously, and treated it with respect (of course, all of that was thrown out the window a few years later by Joel Schumacher and his "Bat-nipples." Thanks for almost destroying a franchise, Joel!!). However, up until "Batman Begins" came out, I didn't think that anyone could make a better "Batman" movie than this, and even now, "Batman" still stands on its own as a great film. BTW: "Never rub another man's rhubarb."
DISHONORABLE MENTION - Holy S#@t!!, They Actually Made That?
What Is The Worst Comic Book Based Movie Ever Made?
#10. SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)
Cast: Tobey Maguire, >Alfred Molina, Kirsten Dunst, >James Franco, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons
Why It's #10: While I really liked "Spider Man 2", I disagree with many fans who feel it surpassed the original. I did like the story and character development, and I thought Alfred Molina's "Doctor Octopus" was handled much better than Dafoe's "Green Goblin" in the original film, and was well developed as a very complex villain. However, this movie had its missteps too. What was the purpose of having Spidey's identity revealed to a train load of strangers (I'm sure everyone in NYC is perfectly trustworthy)? Also, could someone please explain to me how a chubby Alfred Molina, who, beyond having mechanical arms grafted to his back, was not physically enhanced in any other way, but was inexplicably able to trade punches (many to his face) with a guy who can bench press cars?? I know Spidey holds back, but c'mon... And what was with Spidey losing his powers because of stress (he's a superhero for gawd's sake, it's a stressful job)?? Don't get me wrong, this movie wouldn't be in my Top 10 if I didn't really like it, but please don't try to convince me it was better than the original (and we definitely won't discuss "Spider Man 3").
#9. KICK ASS (2010)
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong, Chloe Moretz, Lyndsy Fonseca, Clark Duke, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Evan Peters
Why It's #9: When I first pictured this list in my head, I had "Kick Ass" in my Top 5, but once I started writing out my list, it came up just a little short, but needless to say, I really really liked this movie. "Kick Ass" had the perfect mix of comedy and ultra violent action. Although there was some controversy over the amount of profanity and violence dished out by an 11-year old girl, I imagine that came from parents who had no idea what this movie was about, and thought they were taking their kids to some garbage "superhero" family fare like "Sky High" or "Zoom." Wow, were they surprised!! I thought Chloe Moretz stole the movie with her performance of "HIt-Girl," who capped off every bloodletting fight scene with a foul mouthed comment. This movie truly lived up to its name and simply Kicked Ass!!
#8. X-MEN (2000)
Why It's #8: "X-Men" is a movie that fanboys had been waiting on for years, and it did not disappoint. While the choice of Bryan Singer to direct was a bit unusual, at the time, given that he had not shown any interest in the genre before, he had shown his ability to effortlessly handle a large ensemble cast with "The Usual Suspects," and really hit "X-Men" out of the park. Singer showed a respect and understanding of the themes of fear and prejudice that resonate in all the X-comics, as shown from the opening scene of a young Magneto's parents being taken away at a Nazi concentration camp. Singer's casting choices were also fantastic. Clearly Singer's familiarity with Ian McKellan from their prior film together "Apt Pupil," made McKellan a natural (and perfect) choice to play Magneto, and could anyone have picked a better actor (talent and looks-wise) to play Professor Xavier, than Patrick Stewart. I still can't believe that Hugh Jackman was actually the third choice to play Wolverine (after Russell Crowe and Dougray Scott), because he owned the role from the second they showed him chomping his cigar, cage fighting drunk rednecks in some backwater bar, and calling people "bub." I simply can't imagine anyone else sporting those adamantium claws.
#7. SPIDER-MAN (2002)
Why It's #7: "With great [characters] comes great responsibility." Much like "X-Men" before it, "Spider Man was a long anticipated film, with high expectations attached. At one point, early on, James Cameron was actually slated to direct this film (long before he became the self-proclaimed "King of the World"), but Sam Raimi ended up taking the reins and delivered a great film that lived up to expectations (okay, I know not everyone was happy with the webshooter omission, but it really made more sense). Raimi did a great job with casting and covering the entire origin story, without making the origin story the entire film. Tobey Maguire played the socially inept and awkward Peter Parker to a tee, and while I'm not a Kirsten Dunst fan, I thought she was a good choice to play Mary Jane. Also, I don't think anyone could have played J. Jonah Jameson better than J.K. Simmons. The action and fight sequences between Spidey and the Green Goblin were well done (although I have to admit, I thought GG's armor looked pretty cheesy, but I got over it by the end of the movie), with Spidey delivering his patented wise-cracks (and calling the Green Goblin "Gobby"). Despite being almost 10 years old, and the onslaught of superhero movies since, "Spider Man" still remains the third highest grossing superhero movie of all time.
#6. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011)
Why It's #6: "X-Men: First Class" was the comic book movie that flew under the radar last year, with all the media hype concentrating on "Thor," "Captain America," and even "Green Lantern," but it in my opinion it turned out to be the best of the bunch, and my favorite movie of the 2011 Summer. This film is a reboot/prequel of the X-Men franchise, and despite some inconsistencies with the prior movies (mostly with the third Brett Ratner directed X-Men film, which, perhaps like most fans, the director was trying to forget) ranks right up there with the first two Bryan Singer directed X-films. Director Matthew Vaughn, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors, successfully created a complex and compelling, character driven film that still manages to be fun and entertaining. After seeing the first two "X-Men" films, I never thought that any actors could match Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan's respective performances as "Professor X" and "Magneto," but James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender's onscreen chemistry and sharp performances, easily rival those of Stewart and McKellan. Also, Kevin Bacon's portrayal of villain, Sebastian Shaw, which emulates some classic "Bond" villains (complete with a secret submarine lair, hidden revolving doors, and a plot to destroy the world), could have easily given Bond baddies "Dr. No" and "Blofeld" a run for their money. You can read my entire review of the movie here.
#5. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)
Why It's #5: Being a big fan of the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man films (let's not talk about the dumpster fire that was the third movie), as evidenced by the fact that they are both in my Top 10 on this list, I was initially skeptical about Sony doing a reboot of the franchise so soon after Raimi's trilogy. Of course that was until I saw "The Amazing Spider-Man," which was, for lack of a better word, "Amazing"! Director Mark Webb did a fantastic job creating an entirely new and original iteration of the Spider Man/Peter Parker character and story, completely different from, and in many ways superior to Raimi's creation, while at the same time keeping all of the important aspects of the character intact. Andrew Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker as an introverted, moody and angry teen with emotional issues stemming from the death of his parents, made a lot more sense to me than the happy-go lucky nerd portrayed by Tobey Maguire, and Emma Stone's intelligent and confident Gwen Stacy was a welcome replacement to Kirsten Dunst's, constant damsel in distress, Mary Jane. I really liked that the movie played up Parker's science intellect, and managed to introduce his web shooters in a believable way (which I was not sure was possible) by not actually having Peter invent all of the technology himself, but instead having him cannibalize existing Oscorp technology. It was also nice to finally have the Lizard delivered as the villain in a Spider Man film, after all the Dr. Connor references and cameos in the Raimi films. While I'm not usually a fan of CGI characters, I thought the Lizard and his transformation looked great on screen, and the fight scenes between Spidey and the Lizard were incredible. While I did miss the "with great power, comes great responsibility" line and J.K. Simons' J. Jonah Jameson (hopefully they will use him in the sequel), surprisingly, that was about all I missed from the prior films.
#4. X2: X-MEN UNITED (2003)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Bryan Cox, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Alan Cumming, Kelly Hu, Bruce Davison
Why It's #4: As good as the original "X-Men" film was, "X2: X-Men United" was better. The opening sequence that introduced and showed Nightcrawler teleporting around the White House, taking out Secret Service agents, while trying to assasinate the President, was incredible, and told the audience right away that the the bar had been raised on this one. X2 also finally unleashed the real Wolverine. The scene where the soldiers invade the X-mansion, and Logan goes berserker and starts smoking guys left and right, was vintage Wolverine, and his final fight with Lady Deathstrike easily surpassed his Sabertooth showdown from the original film. Director Bryan Singer also set this film up perfectly for a sequel with his cliffhanger ending, dealing with Jean Grey's apparent death and the rise of Phoenix (unfortunately, Singer didn't return to direct the sequel (he was busy making the inexplicably horrible "Superman Returns"), and the Phoenix story was completely mishandled by replacement Director, Brett Ratner, oh well). Until "Batman Begins" came out a couple years later, this movie was top of my list, and still remains one of the best comic book films of all time.
#3. IRON MAN (2008)
Why It's #3: Any discussion of "Iron Man" has to begin and end with Robert Downey, Jr., who absolutely made this film, and nailed the cocky, booze swilling, but charming, genius inventor, Tony Stark. Some fans may argue that "Iron Man" belongs in the top spot of this list, and I can definitely understand the argument (but they're wrong!). However, this movie didn't make Number 3 on my list for nothing. "Iron Man" is by far the best Marvel comics movie made, to date. Not to mention this film marked the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Besides Downey's fantastic performance, Jon Favreau did a great job directing, and Jeff Bridges (with his shaved head) made a sinister bad guy, as the backstabbing mentor, Obediah Stane. The action and visual effects in this film were also spectacular, particularly the development, look, and use of Iron Man's armor. Favreau did a great job of showing the armor in all its stages of development, which gave it a more realistic feel.
#2. THE AVENGERS (2012)
Why It's #2: After walking out of the theater, I was extremely tempted to make "The Avengers" my new No. 1 comic book movie, and after a couple years and a few more viewings, I may end up conceding it the top spot, but for now, it sits as an extremely strong No. 2. Whoever came up with the simple, but brilliant, idea of creating a Marvel Cinematic Universe with connecting storylines, where all the heroes from their individual films could all team up in one blockbuster movie, deserves a huge raise. After 4 years of anticipation following the first hint of an "Avengers" movie being dropped in an "Iron Man" post credits scene, the film that every comic book fan has dreamed of since they were a kid finally arrived, and holy sh*t, did it deliver! Director Joss Whedon, who is an admitted comic book geek himself, must have asked himself what are all the things that fans will want to see in this film, and he managed to include almost all of them: Iron Man and Captain America vs. Thor, check, Thor vs. Hulk, check, S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, check, geniuses Tony Stark and Bruce Banner talking shop, check, Captain America taking charge of the team, check, and a climactic battle against an alien threat that would bring them all-together, check. Whedon also did a fantastic job overall managing all of the heroes and working in their differing personalities. While the movie does have a long running time at 2 and half hours, it is action packed throughout, and never seems to drag. Even the non-action scenes were great because the dialogue and interaction between the heroes was handled so well. The actors had great onscreen chemistry, particularly Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Mark Ruffalo, who's performance quickly makes the audience forget all about Eric Bana and Edward Norton. If it wasn't for the more cerebrally brilliant Nolan Batman films, "Avengers" would easily sit at the top of this list as the best comic book movie ever made.
#1. THE BATMAN TRILOGY
Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liam Neeson, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Cillian Murphy, Katie Holmes, Marion Cottilard
Why It's #1: I know it might be kind of a cop out to combine all three Nolan-Batman films into one entry (which saves me a couple spots), but after recently seeing "The Dark Knight Rises," which I thought was fantastic, I was left with the conclusion that these films make up one of the best movie trilogies of all time (right up there with "The Lord of the Rings" and original "Star Wars" trilogies). Nolan did a fantastic job tying all three films together and truly making them one large story. Beginning with "Batman Begins," Nolan showed a true understanding of the character and his dark and gritty nature. His depiction of how Bruce Wayne transformed into Batman, starting with the death of his parents and his subsequent globe-trotting, and ninja training was genius. The casting in all three films was absolutely incredible (okay, with the lone exception of Katie Holmes).
In my opinion "The Dark Knight," still sits at the top of the trilogy and stands as the best comic book movie ever made. While most other genre movies (especially comic films) are generally ignored by the Academy, there was a reason that "The Dark Knight" was nominated for 8 Academy Awards (the most ever for a comic based film), which is because it is great on an epic scale, and completely transcends its own genre. Heath Ledger's dark psychotic interpretation of the "Joker," which easily goes down as one of the best cinematic villains of all time, deservedly earned him a posthumous, Best Supporting Actor Award. Nolan tied it all together in "The Dark Knight Rises," which is the first movie in years that I thought was worth spending the money to see it more than once in the theater. My second viewing in IMAX was well worth the additional price. In the final film of the trilogy Nolan again showed his respect and knowledge of the source material by drawing upon a number of classic Batman stories, and bringing in a somewhat obscure (except to fans of the comics) but great villain, in Bane, who is played incredibly by a beefed up Tom Hardy. Anne Hathaway is also fantastic and kicks ass as a tough, but sexy, Catwoman. "The Dark Knight Rises" brilliantly breaks Batman/Bruce Wayne down (emotionally, physically, and even financially) to build him back up in time for a climactic showdown with Bane, and includes some incredible action scenes and fight sequences, not to mention a number of great plot twists, which I won't spoil here.
Disagree With My Choice For #1?? Give Me Your Opinion.
What is the best comic book movie of all time?
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HONORABLE MENTION - Who got snubbed??
Which one of these omitted comic based movies do you think should have made the Top 25?
WHAT WAS THIS GUY THINKING??
Which film in my Top 25 do you think had NO business being on this list?
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