Best/Worst Comic Book Movies

Anyone going to San Diego Comic-Con?
...If so, and if you can manage to swipe me a copy of this awesome Sandman poster, I'm forever in your debt.

In brief update:
  • I'm using Twitter now--finally gave in. The upside is, I'm spending less time on Facebook (which I love, but I don't really have time for)--because the primary reason I kept my Facebook window open all the time was to see status updates, anyway. If I'm not following your Twitter, please let me know so I can add it.
  • I'll be in DC from this Friday (July 25) through Saturday, August 2nd. No idea what my online status will be during that time, but let me know if you're in the area and up for lunch/dinner/sight-seeing (evenings and weekends only).
  • I turn 30 next Monday. No big party this year, as we're living in the temporary circumstances and ridiculously busy. It bums me out, but I'm planning on having the "big" bash next year, instead--just between you and me, can we pretend that I'm turning 30 next year? Pretty please?
  • Got my Fall class schedule, finally: EPSY 6010 (first half of Educational Statistics), EDHE 6070 (Finance in Higher Education), and EDHE 6500 (Essentials of Academic Publishing). I think it looks like a good schedule, and I only have five on-campus sessions the entire semester, which ought to help me out.
  • Re-watched T2 this weekend on Blu-ray, and the effects stood up pretty well in hi-def, considering it was made in 1991! Yowza. And it was good timing, considering I saw the Terminator: Salvation teaser last night.
  • Which means: YES! We watched The Dark Knight last night. Ledger really does make an awesome Joker--it's not just the facial tick, body language, etc., but the fact that he is terrifying and insane, yet genuinely funny. That was the first time I've heard an audience consistently laugh so loudly in a long time. And that's the essence of the Joker, to me--crazy and violent while genuinely funny.
So after we watched the movie last night, Alex asked me if I thought it was the "best" comic book movie of all time. And what that meant. I haven't had a lot of time to ponder this, but here are my initial musings:
  • X-Men 2: Most Watchable. By this, I mean that the pacing in this movie is so smooth, the plot so enjoyably crafted, that I am almost always in the mood to watch it. It's not the most complex or "best," but it's just a fun movie. This, despite a dizzying number of characters, which still impresses me.
  • Iron Man: Most Fun. This is almost the same category as X-2, really--but there's a slight difference. Also a movie I'd frequently be in the mood for--not so much for the pacing, as for Downey, Jr's great interpretation of Stark. "Best Quipping?" It loses a few points for obvious villain/pacing at the end, but meh--doesn't bug me much. Also: Best Costume Translation On-Screen. On paper, I love Batman's costume best--but the most authentic and least cheesy-looking has to be Iron Man.
  • The Dark Knight: Best Villain. Most Successfully Serious. I'd almost put "best movie" here, except that I've only seen it once, and I think the pacing/length aren't perfect. However, there's no question in my mind that Ledger's Joker is the best movie comic-book villain, period. And I love me some Batsy.
  • Spiderman 2: Best Origins Summary. I love, love, love the opening credits with the "best of" the first movie. It's done in a pleasing visual manner, it's brief, and it leaves out most of the crappy Green Goblin parts (I hate helmet/mask acting). Also possibly second-best villain... hmmm wait, now I'm remembering Zod--never mind.
  • Superman 2 (Richard Donner Cut): Most Surprising. This is another close contender for "best," because I'm just amazed at this movie. I watched the original version again a few months ago, and was flabbergasted by the contrast. This movie has real drama, emotion, and two moments that flat out made my jaw drop with surprise: Superman letting Lois fall out the window (!), and Lois shooting him (!!). Daring moves from an older movie, where I didn't expect it. And Reeves--man, what talent he had in that role.
  • Batman (1989) and Batman Returns: Best Set Design. Tim Burton--what an excellent choice for a movie with such a dark character and setting. He truly made "the" version of Gotham for me--gothic, art noveau-ish, dark, extremely stylized. Also the best Batmobile--this is what I miss most in the Nolan movies. Sigh.
  • Superman: The Movie: Honorable Mention. I actually prefer Superman 2, but I have to give this one props for the scene where Superman peeks at Lois's underwear. (Not that Frank Miller would agree with the less-self-righteous interpretation of the character--but that's why I love it. Goody-two-shoes Supes has always annoyed me, thus my preference for 'ol Batsy.)
  • The Bottom of the Barrel:
    • X-Men 3 (too many plots)
    • Spiderman 3 (too many villains)
    • Superman Returns (too little heart--although gorgeous visually)
    • Supergirl... oh gosh I loved this movie as a kid. Too... yeah. Worse waste of Peter O'Toole in a film? Hokiest plot ever? Take your pick.
I'm sure there are worse comic book movies, particularly pre-1990's, but I honestly haven't seen many older ones.

I was trying to pick my favorite leading lady of a comic-book film, but I'm kind of stumped, to be honest. Debra Winger's Lois is nice and gutsy (and not nearly as annoying as I found her when I was a kid)... Kristen Dunst was annoying in Spidey 1, but I like her fine in 2... Maggie Gyllenhall was a geniously great replacement for Katie Holmes in Dark Knight, but she's really Harvey's gal in that movie, so I somehow don't want to count her. Of the early Batman films, I really liked Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman--although I haven't seen it in about four years, and this makes me wonder how she stands up against today's more dramatic fare. I enjoy both Famke Jansen and Anna Paquin in the X-films, but neither enough to pick as my favorite.

Hmph. Let me know if I'm missing someone obviously awesome.

Villain I'd most like to see in a new comic-book movie? Mr. Freeze. That would be the second-favorite of my favorite Batman villains, and he was treated so very, very well in Batman: The Animated Series and in Batman: Beyond (both cartoons). And he suffered so very badly in the hands of Arnie, on-screen (shudder). But I'm skeptical that he'd be a watchable live-action villain, especially since Nolan seems to like using more than one villain at a time.

I'm interested to know your thoughts... about Dark Knight, about best/worst comic book movies, etc.! Feel free to pick a fight with me, heh heh.


Tihleigh said...

But 31 is such a fun birthday--y'know, because it's a prime.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Hmmm, this comic book movie idea will take some thought, will have to get back to you on that . . .

Will say that X2 will always hold a special place in my heart for introducing the rest of the world to one of my favorite characters, Nightcrawler, even if the whole "tattoo myself for all my sins" thing was a bit odd. The opening sequence with him storming the White House is one of my favorite things ever.

And I loveloveloveloveLOVE Michelle Pfieffer's Catwoman. Over the top to be sure, but so awesome.

How Batman and Robin didn't make your Bottom of the Barrel list, I don't know; yeah, I had many, many problems with X3 and Spidey 3, but neither of them caused me the intense pain that B&R did -- how could the man responsible for directing Lost Boys also be responsible for that train wreck is beyond me.

Starrlett said...

Well yes, excellent point--actually, B&R gets the dubious honor of "worst use of a villain ever" for the horrendous Arnold-as-Mr.-Freeze move. Not that Poison Ivy was much better, but at least I understood the casting choice there.

And a movie that makes me hate Batgirl, my beloved, my favorite comic book character? Yeah. SUCKS.

Honestly, I think this oversight was merely my subconscious attempting to shield me from the memory of having paid $6.50 in the theater for that one. (Shudder.)

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Understandable; I have often tried to repress the horror of B&R, and I even saw it for free.

Starrlett said...

Another "award" for B&R: worst waste of George Clooney in a movie.

Mylene said...

Happy (advanced) birthday!

I find it amazing that you can remember details of movies. I can't so all I can remember are the most recent ones I've watched.

Loonacy said...

Did you mean Margot Kidder as Lois?

Starrlett said...

Oy--yes. I always get her name wrong. Meh.