Thursday, November 15, 2007

My top 10 comic book movies

I've been working on this for a while, trying to come up with criteria. If I count Sin City, then I have to count Road to Perdition, but do I have to count Oldboy, which is based on a manga? And if I count mangas, then do I have to count animes? So I decided to count movies based on graphic novels, but not mangas. I'm a big fan of comic book movies and incredibly qualified to put this list together. Just missing the cut was History of Violence, Ghost World, TMNT (2007), and Batman (1991).

1. Sin City (2005). 8.4 on imdb, 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. Featuring an all star cast, this masterpiece stayed incredibly faithful to Frank Miller's graphic novels.

2. Batman Begins (2005). 8.3 on imdb, 84% on RT. Nominated for an Oscar for Cinematography, this grounded in reality loose adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One has set the tone for a new generation of superhero films.

3. X2: X-Men United (2003). 7.9 on imdb, 87% on RT. Closely based on the transcendent X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills this sequel featured fantastic action sequences and a relatively coherent story arc, even if the ending feels unnecessary.

4. Road to Perdition (2002). 7.7 on imdb, 82% on RT. Won an Oscar for Cinematography and receiving five other nominations, Sam Mendes's follow up to Best Picture American Beauty features fantastic performances by Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law. Based on a series of graphic novels.

5. Spider-Man 2 (2004). 7.8 on imdb, 93% on RT. The reverse Empire Strikes Back of the Spider-man franchise, because part 1 ends on a downer and part 2 ends on a happy note. Didn't falling into the trap of every other superhero franchise which brings in multiple villians for the sequel (see Superman II, Batman Returns, X2, The Dark Knight, TMNT 2, ...).

6. American Splendor (2003). 7.7 on imdb, 94% on RT. This beats out Ghost World for the most unconventional comic book movie, but the Harvey Pekar biopic starring Paul Giamatti is a great watch.

7. 300 (2006). 8.0 on imdb, 60% on RT. The third movie on this list based on a Frank Miller graphic novel, the mechanisms on the home front were added so this wasn't 117 minutes of gore, but I would have preferred it that way.

8. V for Vendetta (2005). 8.2 on imdb, 72% on RT. The third movie based on the work of Alan Moore (From Hell, LXG) and the first one that is good, this Orwellian look at a future UK is an underrated adaptation.

9. Spider-man (2002). 7.4 on imdb, 90% on RT. This origin movie hit all the right notes. Many scenes feature shots incredibly similar to comic book panels in composition, making by far the best directed comic book movie at the time of it's release.

10. Superman: the Movie (1978). 7.3 on imdb, 93% on RT. There are so many points in this movie that get your blood pumping: the opening rift of John Williams' theme, when he bumps into the cat burgler, when he opens Lex's safe, when he throws the crystal. Christopher Reeve is one of the best casting choices ever, and Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando are as good as it gets as actors.

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