Funny thing happened when I was recording the latest edition of Da Chronic Podcast with Ralph and Dave. Right as we were about to wrap up, we got to talking about super hero movies and Ralph asked for my take on The Avengers. When I was done sharing my opinion, Dave joked that I should do a post on ranking comic book movies. When Ralph "teased" that I would maybe have a post on this here fine site, Dave--without missing a beat--fired off a quick "or not." Well played, sir. A hearty +1 to you for your zinger.
But sometimes we need our friends to provide a swift kick to the ass or challenge or manhood or some such shit in order to motivate us to
STOP MASTURBATING get off the couch and get to work.
I originally conceived of making a quick "Top 10" list and really breaking down everything about those movies, but honestly, you could probably guess what's going to be in there (HINT: The Avengers is up there; Howard the Duck, not so much.) Wouldn't you like to know where this guy places some movies that wouldn't belong on a Top 10 list? And then it hit me: rank your Top 32 like you would NFL teams in a given week during the regular season.
So what follows are 32 super hero/comic book/graphic novel movies, ranked 32nd to 1st, with my thoughts on opinions on each, including why the movie works and what doesn't work. And please note: I like all of these movies and have re-watched them. I'm not ranking 32 to say "this movie sucks." I just don't like it as much as 31, 30, 29, 28, and so on.
32. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
LIKED: First movie took itself too seriously; this one didn't. Characters felt far more fun and thus more relatable. Ron Pearlman FTW.
DIDN'T LIKE: An indestructible army? How ever will be beat these...oh wait, there's the answer. Also, the movie was left a little too open-ended.
LIKED: Djimon Hounsou, folks. And dare I say it, but Shia LeBeouf is really good when not asked to carry a film on his own. And I think the movie captured a nice Heaven v. Hell concept and ran with it.
DIDN'T LIKE: My friend Lee calls this "the most bland movie ever made." With the exception of the things I just mentioned, he's not that far off.
LIKED: Violence? Check. Titties? Check. Slow-motion violence? Double check. Slow-motion titties? Uh...check. And the guy from Lord of the Rings narrating the movie was pretty sweet.
DIDN'T LIKE: We get it: there's A LOT of them, and so few of YOU. Okay. I got that part.
29. Conan: The Destroyer
LIKED: Conan's fight against the red cape wearing monster was pretty sweet. The score was cool. And the fights on the whole were nice. Grace Jones. Also...nice looking young gal to play the virgin.
DIDN'T LIKE: Just cause she's nice looking doesn't mean she can act. Wilt Chamberlain.
28. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
LIKED: Elias Koteas, FTW. "You're a claustrophobic."
DIDN'T LIKE: Everything involving the red-headed teen "Danny."
27. The Crow
LIKED: Great music. Great story. Ernie Hudson! Brandon Lee laying the groundwork for Sting's good guy run in WCW in the late 90s.
DIDN'T LIKE: 13-year-old me thought this movie was amazing. In other news: 13-year-old me probably needed to be more objective and get more friends.
LIKED: Nailed the casting for Dr. Manhattan, Rorshach, Nite Owl and Comedian. Sweet violence. Titties. Opening title sequence with the Bob Dylan song was awesome.
DIDN'T LIKE: Movie felt disjointed on the whole. The Silk Spectre II character could've been better cast. Ozymandias character should've been played by Tom Cruise. I will go to my grave believing that.
LIKED: Smoking hot chick cast as the damsel in distress. Nic Cage actually likable/enjoyable in a role. Hit Girl an amusing character. "McLovin" gets to be a bad guy.
DIDN'T LIKE: Movie took itself a little too seriously.
24. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
LIKED: If you're not a fan of Batman: The Animated Series, I don't think we can be friends.
DIDN'T LIKE: Wait, so Joker dies? Or not? I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!!
LIKED: Compelling hero, quality acting, great one-liners. Amazing final scene. Good score. Excellent closing lines.
DIDN'T LIKE: A lot of filler material stretched throughout the movie.
22. V For Vendetta
LIKED: Good music/score. Great acting.
DIDN'T LIKE: Reliant on slow-motion and bullet-time special effects.
LIKED: Doing blow off a hooker's titties. ED-209. Murphy's "death." Knowing that Clarence Boddiker becomes the dad from "That 70s Show." Guy getting shot in the nuts - literally.
DIDN'T LIKE: Not much to hate. Why the fuck isn't this movie higher on my list?
LIKED: Wesley Snipes makes the whole damn thing work. Compelling story. Good one-liners. Donal Logue, folks.
DIDN'T LIKE: Some weak special effects in places. The lead actress is "meh."
19. Road to Perdition
LIKED: The film was based on a graphic novel, hence its inclusion on this here list. Tom Hanks as a "bad guy", Tom Hanks crying as he guns down Paul Newman, Tom Hanks' mustache, great father-son dynamic, great last lines, excellent cinematography. The whole "I would like to apologize" scene.
DIDN'T LIKE: Again, this is a super hero and comic book list, and this movie barely qualifies as the latter. As a movie, this a great film and I'd recommend it to everyone. But I can't in good conscience put a gangland flick like this too high on my list. Sorry, Tom Hanks.
18. Batman Begins
LIKED: Michael Caine. Morgan Freeman. Christian Bale, a guy who pulls off being BOTH Batman and Bruce Wayne better than anyone. Unique take on Ras al Ghul.
DIDN'T LIKE: Christopher Nolan sucks when filming an action scene, especially a fight scene. Look back to all the fight scenes in this movie. Can you get a clear picture in your head as to what was going on? Also, the Jamaican guy walking up to the Batmobile at the end...WTF? Same goes for the bum with the "nice coat." Too many villains, perhaps? Katie Holmes' acting. Batman's all too gravely voice. Score was average.
17. Captain America
LIKED: Good actor in the lead role. The entire first hour. Hayley Atwell....HAWT. The Captain America outfit (bonus points for the helmet).
DIDN'T LIKE: Didn't like the montage scene where Cap is plowing through Nazi bases. I wanted to see more Captain America-ing, damn it!
LIKED: Michael Keaton got to be an action hero. The closing sequence. Great score. Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Everyone's reactions to the character of Alexander Knox. Very violent for a PG-13 movie marketed to kids.
DIDN'T LIKE: Tim Burton had some swings and misses in this one, and too eager to use Prince music for everything. The actual character of Alexander Knox.
15. X-Men: First Class
LIKED: Dug the James Bond vibe. The character of Beast was awesome. McAvoy and Fassbender were well cast as Prof. X and Magneto.
DIDN'T LIKE: Kevin Bacon as a Nazi mastermind - I was more amused than frightened. How exactly Prof. X became paralyzed. January Jones...meh.
LIKED: The actor playing the little boy. He's the unsung hero of the whole movie. Everything he does as a character works. And that quiet scene at the end where Bruce Willis slides the newspaper over to his son...it gets dusty in the house.
DIDN'T LIKE: Very little to complain, EXCEPT...the ending with the words on screen TELLING you what happened to the main characters was disappointing.
LIKED: I went in with low expectations and was wildly surprised by this one. Great casting. Kat Dunning's tits, if you need them, folks. Natalie Portman...indeed. And because I'm trying to be fair to my wife, Chris Hemsworth without his shirt. (shakes head.) Good fight scenes. Good father-sons dynamic. Idris Elba, FTMFW. "Son of Cole."
DIDN'T LIKE: The split second cameo of Hawkeye didn't work. Nobody really dies.
LIKED: Christopher Reeve. Getting Marlon Brando to play Kal-El and take it seriously. Superman's "I'm sad now I'M ANGRY!" face. "Otisburg? Otisburg???" John Williams' score.
DIDN'T LIKE: Movie is ultimately lessened by it's campiness.
11. Dick Tracy
LIKED: Great scenery, make-up, etc. Solid cast. The only real "weak link" is Madonna, and she's not that bad. The wristwatch walkie-talkies. The songs and montages worked well.
DIDN'T LIKE: The little kid. For some reason, he's become more of a bother as I've gotten older.
10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
LIKED: Having never read the comic myself, I can only rely on others to tell me this is a superb adaptation. According to those "others," it was a supers adaptation. I know some folks are sick of Michael Cera, but this role was tailor made for him. I also like that there's no rhyme or reason for this guy or the seven evil exes he fights to have super powers. It just happens.
DIDN'T LIKE: Some of the characters were not as well-rounded as they could have been.
9. The Rocketeer
LIKED: Young Kevin really appreciated Jennifer Connelly's "efforts" in this film. Shit; adult Kevin STILL appreciates Jennifer Connelly. Plus...it's about a guy getting a jetpack! And he fights Nazis!! And the hero gets to wear a sweet gold helmet.
DIDN'T LIKE: Ah, something still irks me about the mob "teaming up" with the FBI agents to fight off the Nazis at the end.
LIKED: Dude, the guy who played Wallace in "The Wire" can't catch a fucking break in other TV and film roles, can he?
DIDN'T LIKE: A few of the special effects were not as convincing as others (ex: the spider being pulled apart). And while I'm here...alien ejaculate? Is that where we are as a filmgoing society?
7. Superman 2
LIKED: My favorite moment in any Superman movie. He fights three strong villains. Lex Luthor's campiness is greatly reduced. "Oh, I've been working out." That scene with Superman at the White House was pretty sweet.
DIDN'T LIKE: Superman throwing his "S" at a bad guy? Really? Seriously? And since when does the Fortress of Solitude allow people to duplicate themselves? Huh? Some of the camp involving Clark Kent, like smashing his finger in the juicer, etc. I don't like how the "re-cut" edition of Superman 2 put the "changing the Earth's rotation" ending on this one.
LIKED: "Where is my super suit?" There's more great things about this movie, but I haven't seen it in so damn long I've forgotten most of them.
DIDN'T LIKE: The baby becoming ultra super powered at just the right time was a little too convenient. And how exactly did the family all get different super powers? It's the thing that ultimately bogged down the show "Heroes" for me.
5. Spider-Man 2
LIKED: Alfred Molina is the best actor to play a Spider-Man villain. Shit, he may be the best villain actor in a Marvel movie. Yeah, better than Gandalf as Magneto. A lot less hokey than the original Spider-Man.
DIDN'T LIKE: The entire sequence on the train once Spider-Man loses his mask. I wanted to cringe over that shit.
LIKED: The entire "attack on Xavier's School" sequence. Colossus offering to help Wolverine. Pyro going apeshit on Iceman's parents' front porch against the cops. Everything involving the character Nightcrawler.
DIDN'T LIKE: Very few things to nitpick here. It's more a case of the other movies ahead of it are just that much more awesome or better.
LIKED: Hulk and Iron Man came out like bad asses. The Hulk v. Thor fight was incredible. Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man is the perfect character for Joss Whedon to play with. Schwarma. The entire final hour of the film. Agent Coulsen as the unifying force behind The Avengers. Both closing credit scenes. On the whole, the movie is just fun. 2 hours and 30 minutes of fun.
DIDN'T LIKE: I feel like Captain America was somewhat underserved in parts. People say Hawkeye didn't turn out as well in this movie, but I think somebody had to have his thankless part. And Jeremy Renner did a good job with what was given.
2. The Dark Knight
LIKED: Heath Ledger. The fact that the word "absconds" was used in a newspaper headline, albeit a fictional newspaper. Upgraded from Katie Holmes to Maggie Gyllenhaal. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine - still awesome. Here's an interesting conversation I had with my best friend... He said The Dark Knight was "Christopher Nolan's apology for the Bush Administration." I laughed. Not so much because I'm some big defender of G.W.B. or anything (spoiler alert: I'm not), but I have no choice but to laugh when making such harsh political judgments against the backdrop of a film. I understand the argument that Batman can be viewed as a fascist character in general, but that's more closely Frank Miller's Batman and not the movie Batman. And actually, Frank Miller's Superman is a far worse character since he's basically a living god working as a puppet for the government. At least Batman does his own thing outside the authority of law. My friend said, "Batman hacks every cell phone and Morgan Freeman just says, 'okay, I'll let it go this one time.'" I told him that the general theme of the movie went back to the scene with Harvey Dent at the restaurant: that Rome would appoint one man to take control of things to establish order. Yes, there is the possibility of said man becoming corrupt and abusing his power, but that's what makes Batman a great fictional character: he doesn't succumb to that shit. Why? Cause he's the fucking Batman.
DIDN'T LIKE: I just feel like Two-Face did not get enough time to shine. He really should've had his own movie.
1. Iron Man
LIKED: Robert Downey Jr. is to Iron Man what Christopher Reeve was to Superman. I fear for whoever takes the role after RDJ. The Bro-mance between RDJ and Terrance Stamp. Jeff Bridges as a bald bad guy.
DIDN'T LIKE: ... uh, let me get back to you on this one.