I went back through some of the old posts (and they’re all old aren’t they?) and I saw my list of comic book movies that I wrote shortly after seeing ‘The Dark Knight.’ First off, let me apologize to TDK because I don’t know what I was thinking saying something was holding me back from calling it better than ‘Batman Begins.’ Clearly I was on something. Having watched that movie roughly 2,000 times on DVD, I’m ready to revisit the list factoring some newer films that I’ve seen.
Important note: I have not seen ‘Thor’ (really wanted to but just couldn’t get to the theater before it left), ‘X-Men First Class’ (same reasoning as ‘Thor’), nor ‘Green Lantern’ (I fear it’s terrible and the reviews didn’t ease my fears). So understanding that the list could change again after I see those movies, here’s the updated version:
1. The Dark Knight — Here’s what I wrote in the original post:
Extremely good, especially the way they handled the Joker. Brilliant cast, great writing, but like I said, there’s just something about it that holds me back from naming it better than it’s predecessor. I might change my tune after a few months go by and the DVD comes out. We’ll see.
Change my tune indeed. I honestly don’t know what I thought was wrong with the movie the first time. I love this movie. The more I watch it, the more I’m blown away by Heath Ledger. He was just so good in it. Yes, I hate the Rachel Dawes character, and am thrilled *SPOILER ALERT* that they killed her in the movie, but was that character which got a huge upgrade in acting from Maggie Gyllenhaal enough to hold the movie back? Absolutely not. Great movie and I can’t wait for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ which I think will be every bit as good if for no other reason than Anne Hathaway in tight leather.
2. Batman Begins — I can’t really drop more than spots than this because if you go back and read what I wrote, it still holds true. Great movie that nails the characters.
3. Iron Man — I can’t downgrade this one either. I think the more I watch it the more I enjoy it. Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark.
4. Here is where I started to debate things. I really went back and forth on this spot, but I decided to go with:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Putting aside the fact they had to work “Avenger” in to the title because there might be someone somehow not aware they’re making an Avengers movie, I really, really liked this movie. Maybe it rates this high because it’s the most fresh in my mind, but it was really good. I was very concerned going in about Chris Evans, but he knocked it out of the park. The CG looks good, the story is great, Tommy Lee Jones brought his A+++ game, and if Hayley Atwell doesn’t end up a break out star after this, then I hate Hollywood. Hugo Weaving could not have been more perfect as the Red Skull. There are some awesome little winks to fans (which I’m a sucker for), and they do a nice job of working Thor and Iron Man references in. Not an easy task when the movie is set in the 1940’s. Stanley Tucci: awesome. The guy that played Bucky: awesome. I could keep going, but you get it. Speaking of Buckey and the Skull, yes they made some changes, but I didn’t mind them. I thought they made sense within the structure of the movie and they weren’t so big that I was outraged. And I would’ve been if the changes were huge. I get mad over the Superman costume if I decide it doesn’t look right. I’m that much of a nerd.
5. Superman The Movie — We’re talking the original here. Christopher Reeve, to me, is Superman. I thought Brandon Routh got an unfair shake with a really bad script in Superman Returns, but I don’t think he would’ve passed Mr. Reeve up as the best Superman on film. Yes it’s old, and some of the fashion is funny to see now, and Lois smokes which would never happen these days, but you know what? Go back and watch it again. You get some really solid, fun moments of him just being super. Still mad they didn’t write Luthor correctly though and wasted what could have been an awesome Gene Hackman performance. Oh well.
6. X-Men 1 &2 — In my original post I said I couldn’t decide between the 3 so I put them in order of 1, 2, 3 for numbers 6, 7, and 8 on the list. At the time I had no problem doing that but really, that was a cop out. I’ll combine 1 & 2 on the list because to me, they really are the same in terms of enjoyment/entertainment. 1 sets up the characters and 2 follows on some story lines, primarily Wolverine which I’m fine with. Excellent casting, good writing, special effects look good, so no complaints here.
7. Iron Man 2 — Here’s why it shows up this low: it’s fun, no doubt, but I could’ve used more Mickey Rourke as Whiplash. Because there isn’t a ton of him, I feel there isn’t a ton of drama. They played up the “Tony is dying from poisoning due to the arc reactor in his chest” angle too much. At this point, we knew there would be an Iron Man 3 and The Avengers so we knew Tony wasn’t going to die. No drama there. I loved Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, Gary Shandling, and Don Cheadle, but aside from Sam Rockwell, there wasn’t enough of them. I get Shandling’s character was a cameo for the most part, but Cheadle felt like he was barely in the movie. I take points off for that.
8. Batman — from 1989 and it feels like it’s from 1989. I saw it again on TV the other day and it didn’t hold up as well as I thought. I love Jack as The Joker, and Keaton was a solid Batman, but he didn’t quite get the voice down, so it becomes pretty hard to believe that Vicki Vale couldn’t figure out that was Bruce Wayne talking. Also, what’s with Alfred letting her in to the Bat Cave??? The gadgets were a lot of fun though, and I never get tired of Jack saying Batman’s at home washing his tights.
9. The Incredible Hulk — when I wrote the original list I pointed out I hadn’t seen this because the first Hulk movie was pretty bad in my opinion. This one surprised me. I think the casting is great, the inclusion of the Abomination and the set up of the Leader were fun, and working in Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno as well as the piano music from the TV show was great. By the way, did you catch that the serum they give Tim Roth to make him a super soldier is the same stuff they gave Steve Rogers to make him Captain America? True story.
10. X-Men The Last Stand — I know a lot of people would complain about that, but I enjoyed the movie. I was stunned at some of the deaths, and while I feel they under used Colossus (one of my favorite X-Men), Kelsey Grammer as Beast helps make up for it. Yes, they botched Juggernaut a bit, but the “I’m the Juggernaut Bitch!” line still cracks me up.
I’m positive that had I seen X-Men First Class, or Thor this list would look different, but this is the world in which I live. I’m guessing those two knock X3 and Hulk or Batman off the list. If you read the original post, you saw I listed Watchmen as a potential list changer. At the time it certainly had that potential, but after seeing it, it doesn’t make my top 10. I liked it fine, and actually like their ending more than the comic book ending, but I wasn’t sucked in to it. The Incredible Hulk for example sucked me in enough to get me to watch it on TV complete with commercial breaks. I’m not sure Watchmen does that for me.
Potential list changers this time around: Dark Knight Rises (I can all but guarantee it makes the list), Avengers, Thor, X-Men First Class, The Amazing Spider-Man. I’m way excited for the Spidey reboot, so if you were placing bets…actually I would bet on all of those making the list by the end of 2012.
What a wonderful time to be a nerd.