Personally, I do not read comic books, and if I do, I make rare exceptions to my rule. Let’s see which movie adaptations I’ve seen so far:
- X2: X-Men United
- X-Men: The Last Stand
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man 3
- The Incredible Hulk (2008 version)
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- Batman Begins
- The Dark Knight
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Ghost Rider
- Fantastic Four
- Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Let’s start with the worst first.
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
Terrible, terrible movie, even for one based on a comic book series. Excuse me, a modern comic book series. Honestly, the story was the worst way to squash a crew of unrelated literary characters (most with bad reputations) into a hero squad. How does Alan Quatermain fit into a gang that includes a vampire, an invisible man, and the infamous Dr. Jekyll? Sean Connery was excellent, as always, but the rest of the cast earn two thumbs down.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
I honestly like Edward Norton as an actor. He can convey the sensitivity and vulnerability of a character while also displaying both the light and dark side of the character’s mentality. However, the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde re-creation in the Hulk doesn’t work for me as a superhero, especially a “power” that is aroused by one unstable emotion: anger. Liv Tyler as the Hulk’s love interest didn’t work either, and the story looked like a run-and-chase getaway that ultimately was boring for a superhero movie. There was no climax, no purpose in the plot. Again, Edward Norton is great in this film, but that’s about all that’s great about the movie.
Hmmm…the two Fantastic Four movies. What can I say? Johnny’s and Susan’s powers are incredible superpowers I would like for myself. However well the story was graphed, the whole idea that a cosmic storm provided the protagonists and antagonists with powers is a little off, and all the characters are a little too good-looking to be credible. And then the Silver Surfer in the sequel…his character is more than a little weird. Still, if you want a fun comic book movie that has more humor than seriousness, see these two. I wasn’t impressed by them, but I will remember them.
A uniquely powered battery to keep the heart beating, a scientific genius, and the personal charm of Robert Downey Jr.—that’s Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. I was interested in how Stark made himself a superhero with his wits and his billions instead of acquiring powers like other comic book heroes. His Iron Man suit is indestructible and made out of pure scientific ingenuity…the Iron Man movies are not boring, for sure. Gwyneth Paltrow puts in a spunky performance as Stark’s organized assistant Pepper Potts, who always knows how to contradict her boss’s banter and witty retorts. Visually eye-glueing, these two movies have their cast and their special effects to recommend them.
I’d sound like a dork if I said that all 4 of the X-Men films so far are cool, awesome, and so AWESOME! Well, they just are. It’s not just that Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine, who has the most unique superpowers I’ve ever seen, or that Halle Berry plays Storm, a girl with the power to control the weather. It’s the concept of X-Men. The notion of evolution is taken into serious consideration here. If humans did evolve from some life-form, perhaps it is possible for us to evolve to the next level of strength, whatever that could be. Therefore, “mutant” powers. And what mutant powers they are in “X-Men!” To go through walls, read minds and master telepathy…very sleek of the comic book creators to invent all these characters with background stories that incite curiosity from a viewer who can’t take her eyes off the mutants’ control of extraordinary abilities they’re born with. And that scene in “X-Men,” when Wolverine sacrifices his life for Rogue…very touching. Obviously, the first two X-Men movies were pretty good, but I was a little disappointed with “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” I thought the stories in these two were a little too…exaggerational and extreme with the sexual content and violence. However, all 4 films are solid as far as their content is concerned. And the cast…you couldn’t find a better one for the X-Men.
So, which of these is the best comic book movie ever? No idea. 😀 Sorry, but it’s hard to choose between Ghost Rider and Batman Begins. Or the 4 X-Men movies. If you counted only realism without any “magic,” the Batman movies would win top prize, but if you were considering science and realism together, X-Men would win. It all depends, in the end, on personal taste. And actually, this extensive movie review has done just that…my tastes have been divulged when it comes to comic book movies. Now, that new Thor movie sounds interesting… 😉