The Summer blockbuster season is nearly upon us and that means Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, and Tony Stark will be slipping into their alter egos and saving the day. That set me to thinking about some of my favorite comic book movies (CBMs) of all time. I have always loved CBMs, no matter the type, I am usually drawn to them.
Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite Comic book movies.
The Caped Crusaider brought to life by Tim Burton and given form by Michael Keaton. Also it brought to the screen the Dark Knights most formitable enemy; The Joker. With a flyier to his normal role type, Jack Nicholson broght a credibility to this form of film. This was, at the time, one of the biggest CBMs of all time but one of the biggest movies of all time. In 1989 you couldn’t go anywhere whithout seeing the Bat Signal. It. Was. Everywhere. The marketing for the movie was insane. (Plus a sountrack by Prince that I still have the cassette tape!)
The Dark Knight (2008)
From one Bat to another. Near dire opposites in concept and execution, but both come from the same place. In Christopher Nolan’s adaptaion, he really put the dark into The Dark Knight. There is a “real life” edge to how he has shaped the franchise. The first in the series, Batman Begins, started us on the new journey for Bruce Wayne but it is this film that solidifies Nolan’s Batman as one of if not thee best. The main reason for the success of this movie isn’t Christian Bales portayl of the titular character, no it is the exquisit execution of his arch enemy that stole the show. Heath Ledger’s performance of The Joker was as perfect a character as I have ever seen. You could not only see the maddness but you could feel it as well. If there was any performance worthy of an Oscar it was Heath Ledger’s in The dark Knight. (Fun Fact: this was the first in the francises history to not have Batman in the title.)
If anyone was a super man it was Christopher Reeve. He was the son of Krypton. Richard Donner did a great job bring life to the Man of Steel and reintroducing him to the world. My only real grip is his use of Lex Luthor. Arguably one of the best vilians of all time with a true depth to the character, yet in the film the big plan Donner sets forth for Lex is a real estate scam… Really? Very weak, but still, Hackman does a good job with what he was given. Also it was a stroke of either genius or insanity to get Marlon Brando to play Jor-El, the father of Kal-El aka Clark Kent aka Superman. And we can’t forget the iconic score for the movie by the great John Williams.
Howard The Duck
This movie has always been a favorite of mine. I just like it. It makes me laugh. It is also important for a couple reasons. It was the first Marvel Comic made into a feature film, not Spidey or the Fantastic Four or the Hulk but Howard The Duck. Granted in the 1940’s there was a Republic serial series of Captain America but those didn’t follow the comic so I don’t count that. the other reason this movie is important is: if George Lucas hadn’t made this movie there never would have been Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc or any other Pixar movie. Lucas had financed the move out of pocket and because Howard was such a big box office flop, he had to sell off the animation section of Lucas Film. That section became Pixar. So anyone who love Pixar movies needs to get down on their knees and worship that little space duck. (Plus Lea Thompson is really hot)
I have never been as big of a Keanu hater as most of the public has been. Granted most of his films haven’t been the greatest but I still find the majority enjoyable in some way. Keanu Reeves plays the role of Constantine with his usual flare, but it really works for the character. I tend to get drawn into this movie if I stumble upon it on tv.
Tony Stark is a womanizing, narcasistic, egotistical, alchohalic genius; what’s not to like? The same things can be said about Robert Downey Jr. too. I like them both. Put those two hangs together and you have a match made in fanboy heaven. Jon Favreau does a superb job blending the live action and CGI together and making a realistic looking film. Definatly near the top of my list as a favorite.
Every comic book nerd at one time in their life has dreamed of donning a costume and fighting crime. And this CBM is the realization and reality of that dream. Plus Hit Girl rocks socks!
I have always had a soft spot for film noir and this movie did it well. The book had a different style and the movie captured that perfectly. All the performances were spot on and it was just a stunning movie. Frank Miller had a vision and he made that vision a reality.
Honorable mentions go to Spider-Man (2002), Watchmen, X-Men, Mystery Men, Red, Hellboy, Ri¢hie Ri¢h and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
There it is, for better or worse. That is my list of Comic Book Movies.
Let me know…