Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ranking the Comics Adaptations - Part V - Less Stinky

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

I've barely begun the actual list, and I'm already regretting some of my decisions. Oh well, gonna keep on keeping on...

43. Daredevil - Even though I'm pretty low on the list, this still feels too high. It probably would have been even further toward the bottom if it wasn't for the fact that I love the character so much and that I've seen the Director's Cut, which while not a great movie, improves things a bit with some  fun dialogue between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. The ultimate problem with this movie is that they messed up his origin a bit (he should have gotten in the accident while trying to save a blind man) and that they tried to cram about three major stories into one movie. Also, there was a lot of silliness that didn't help, but I can't bring myself to completely hate this.

42. Batman Forever -  I actually think that the first twenty minutes or so of this movie are entertaining as hell. It's silly and for little kids, but everything is just so big, dramatic, and kinetic. Unfortunately, Two Face is nothing but a generic villain in this, and The Riddler is actually The Jim Carey. Still, this is the first of the live-action Batman films that I put in for my son. He lost interest about halfway through though. Here's my full review.

41. Hulk - Some folks might put this  lower on the list, but I admire it for director Ang Lee's ambition. It certainly tried to be something other than a simple action flick. While it didn't succeed, I still think that there are enough interesting things going on to not consider it a total failure. Ultimately, the only really bad things about it were the hulk-dogs and the exhausting third act. Plus, the CGI hulk didn't always look very good. I do find it interesting that this movie had not only its defenders, but a fair bit of praise from Roger Ebert. One thing that I definitely thought was cool was how it tried to create the feel of a comic book - something that was done to much better effect in Scott Pilgrim Versus the World.

40. Kick Ass - I'm having a hard time placing this one. I like the comic series, and this was fairly true to it. However, there are things you can do in a comic that just don't work for me on film. The biggest sticking point was the little girl who curses and cuts people up. I dunno, when she's a drawing, I'm okay with it. When they actually have a girl act all that out, it just doesn't sit right with me. It's a fun movie, and I was entertained, but I doubt that I'd ever want to see it again.

39. 300 - I loved the comic book, and the movie did a great job of bringing it to life. Unfortunately, it also made me realize that the comic book is kinda dumb. I guess I'm a sucker for history, and the basic premise of the story is one of those can't-miss "last stand" stories. There's a lot to admire here, even if the visual style that was created was ripped off by a billion other movies, to less effect, ever since. Also, the first time the Persian army rushes into the shields of the Spartans is still pretty intense upon repeated viewings.

38. Punisher War Zone - This movie isn't very good, but I'll be damned if I wasn't entertained by it. Of all the attempts to do Frank Castle, this one comes the closest, as at least it seems to acknowledge that he's a violent sociopath - just a violent sociopath who directs his murderous rage at those who you don't mind seeing dead. Turns out that Patton Oswalt is a fan in the same way that I am. I also wrote a full review here. For more fun, listen to the How Did This Get Made? podcast featuring Mr. Oswalt and director Lexi Alexander.

37. Blade  - The beginning of this movie is stupid-awesome. Much like Punisher War Zone, I don't think that this movie is good so much as I love it. The final battle doesn't exactly work, but the film creates a pretty fun mythology, and Wesley Snipes is clearly embracing the character wholeheartedly. Honestly, I had never read a comic with the character before, and he really was probably thought of as one of the "least likely" characters to ever get his own movie.

36. X-Men: The Last Stand - I honestly don't understand the hate that this one engenders. Yeah, Brett Ratner is a hack, and yeah, Cyclops was offed rather unceremoniously, but I really think that the action scenes were done better than the previous two installments. Plus, we got to see the Danger Room! The Fastball Special! "Oh My Stars and Garters!" There was simply too much fun stuff in this for me to not like it. Plus, I kinda liked the whole "mutant cure" story, even though it wasn't followed-through to its full potential. Perhaps this movie's saving grace is that it's relatively short - and it sets up The Wolverine rather nicely. (Even though that turned out to be more of a happy accident.)

35. Superman Returns - This one gets a lot of hate as well, and as much as I liked it, it's slowly starting to not hold up very well for me. Probably its biggest problem was that it was too slavish to the Christopher Reeve films rather than trying to branch out into new territory with the character. I wrote a full review some time ago, and if I was making this list then, I probably would have placed it higher. Anyway, I still like it, but I just don't like it as much.

34. Superman II - Had I seen this movie for the first time as an adult, it would have probably ranked pretty low on this list. However, childhood nostalgia pushes it up further than it probably deserves. Also, the Richard Donner cut improves on the film as a whole, removing all of the Richard Lester randomness (Since when does Superman shoot beams and throw his S-shield?) while sticking on an ending that's dumb as all hell. What else is there to say but the obligatory "Kneel before Zod!"

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