Monday, January 6, 2014

Ranking the Comics Adaptations - Part IV - The Stinkers

Finally, it's time to get to my 53-movie countdown (if I did my math right, an idea on which one should never rely). When I was looking through the list, it occurred to me that I probably like a greater percentage of these movies than the average person. (I, for one, am not suffering from any kind of superhero burnout as some critics have been lamenting.) However, I can honestly say that I don't like a single movie on this entry's list. Some I can find a good thing or two to say about, but overall, I consider all of these to be outright duds.

Also, before I get started, I'm going to state that I'm going to make no pretense of objectivity. Sure, a list like this is automatically subjective, but I think that while I am able to say that, for instance, Predator 2 is not as good of a movie as La Dolce Vita, I definitely LIKE the former much more than the latter. So, if those two movies qualified for this list, you know which one would be closer to the top than the other. While I think that there is some crossover between what I like and what I actually think is good, this is completely about my subjective reactions to these films.

With that said, here we go with the clunkers...

53. Batman and Robin - Never has more money been spent to tell me that my favorite genre was stupid and a waste of time. Obviously, there are some comic book films with far worse production values than this one, but the fact that this was done by normally competent people only makes things worse. In interviews, director Joel Shumacher talked about how he didn't want his Batman to still be brooding about his dead parents. Umm...then that's NOT Batman, Joel. Why not make a Hamlet where the Danish prince doesn't give a crap that his dad is dead? Makes just as much sense. Also, there are stories of when the cast would point out to Shumacher that the story didn't make sense, his retort was "It's a comic book!" Why not just take a crap on Batman's face? Here's my full review.

52. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace - Check out the DVD commentary from the screenwriter on this one, as it'll be more enjoyable than actually trying to watch the film. Christopher Reeve definitely had his heart in the right place, but clearly nobody was willing to shell out the money to make a proper Superman film.

51. Blade: Trinity - I probably like Blade II more than any human being should, and I can forgive an action movie if it's mindless. Still, it needs to have some sort of forward momentum to it. This just kind of rambled and wasted a potentially awesome nemesis for Blade - Dracula. I think that Jessica Biel might still have a cool action movie in her though, but she was wasted in this confusing mess.

50. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Lots of important stuff happened in this film that I was supposed to care about, but I went through the whole thing as indifferent as can be. Just like with Christopher Reeve in the last two Superman movies, Hugh Jackman always has his heart in the right place when it comes to the character. Turns out that the director recently revealed that he was having script pages faxed to him while filming. That's probably the least surprising thing, as it's pretty clear that the higher ups were more concerned about having as many mutants as possible in it than telling a compelling story.

49. Fantastic Four - I always tell people that if they want to see a really good Fantastic Four film, they should see The Incredibles. Sure, it's not exactly the same, but it captures the "superhero team as a family" dynamic much better than this film about the original superhero family. The biggest problem with this movie is that it commits the ultimate crime of ruining one of the greatest villains EVER (not just from comic books) - Dr. Doom. I saw the tool who played him at a comic book convention. The man was the anti-Hugh Jackman, clearly not giving a crap about the character of fans. (Did I put the sequel on my list of films I have no plans of seeing? Well, I have no plans to see it.)

48. Superman III - Believe it or not, I've only seen this movie in its entirety one time, and that wasn't even that long ago. I remember a friend of mine had taped it off of cable, but whenever I came over we'd never get to watch the whole thing, as he'd just fast-forward through all of the boring parts. When I sat to watch this, I didn't hate it, but it was pretty clear that it was made by people who didn't give a crap about the source material. Still, it has a few cool moments, like when Clark Kent fights Superman. (How's that possible? Guess you'll have to watch the movie, bitches.)

47. The Punisher - The Thomas Jane version is basically a bunch of really good scenes from a movie that just doesn't come together. I can't say that I hate this film, but it simply doesn't work. It ranks higher than some other stinkers because once again, I think that the lead actor had his heart in the right place. However, the plot can be summarized as follows: criminals hurt Punisher, Punisher hurts criminals, Punisher waits, criminals hurt Punisher, Punisher hurts criminals, etc. Maybe if I watched this movie in five minute increments, I'd think that it was awesome.

46. Green Lantern - Oh, how I wanted this to be good, and I believe that a good Green Lantern movie COULD be made. Unfortunately, this movie fails on pretty much every level. The special effects are awful, and the story stinks as well. The thing that bothers me is that there's a great mythology here, but they tried to cram far too much of it into one film. And then when they realized that it was too much, they altered it into something stupid - like the whole thing with Parallax, an evil entity who took decades of comics to evolve, bu they tried to sum him up in ten minutes. What they should have done is keep Hal Jordan on Earth fighting Hector Hammond, and the only other Lantern we should have seen would be Sinestro. Then they could have saved Oa and Sinestro's eventual turn to evil for the sequel, both of which would have had far more weight. Oh man, Oa...the center of light in the universe wound up looking like a burnt-out crater in a crappy video game. Ugh.

45. Spider-Man III - The team that made my favorite Spider-Man movie completely mucked it up with this one. I've read that Sam Raimi didn't want to include Venom in this one, and he was right for not wanting that, as Venom added nothing to this. As I (and others) have stated before, there might have been something to work with if this one had ended with Peter getting rid of the evil alien suit and then in the follow-up, he would have to face Venom. Instead, there was too much story, too much mucking with the origin, too much crying, and far too much random Peter Parker dancing.

44. The Crow - I absolutely loved this when it was out in the theater, but I watched it recently on Netflix, and it really doesn't hold up very well. It feels like a poor-man's Batman, and Brandon Lee's performance isn't nearly as impressive as I remember it being. It wasn't horrible, but it's really dated, and I probably would have ranked this higher had I never seen it again.

No comments: