Posted by Martin:
With such a good summer for movies and a lot of them from comic books. I'm not a serious comic book geek, they are not my strength, but I do like the movies though. To make this list I don't include movies from "graphic novels." These are classic comic book characters, graphic novels such as 300 and Sin City are therefore excluded from this list.
I like the X-Men because it allows several different characters as opposed to just one character, the team approach is very rare in comic book movies.
This one was the best of the group from this franchise. The Nightcrawler was such a great character it was a criminal act to not bring him back for the 3rd movie.
What a refreshing change of pace this was. Some comic book movies seem to be more successful when they go dark, see The Dark Knight further down this list. But Robert Downey's, Tony Stark, was so cool and fun he is much more interesting than his alter-ego Ironman. Typically it is the other way around, Superman is more interesting than Clark Kent, Batman more interesting than Bruce Wayne. Plus Tony Stark's superhero power comes out of sheer curiosity and intellectual interest, not some other worldly or genetically altered ability, that makes him more easily to connect to, more human. If someone could become a superhero by tinkering in their garage, then maybe I can too.
The original Tim Burton film was a big change from previous superhero movies at the time. Nicholson's performance made it seem like he was born to be The Joker. When Michael Keaton was announced as Bruce Wayne a lot of people thought he was strange choice for Batman, he doesn't seem very tough. But he was intense and very good at being angry. In this version Batman he is also acts out the detective part of the character when trying to piece together the Joker's chemical puzzle, we didn't see that aspect so much in Batman Begins. Unfortunately Batman goes down hill quickly from here, until 2005 and Batman Begins.
Spiderman 2 was a big improvement over the first installment. The CGI was notably better. Here Spiderman has weight and gets hurt, in the first movie the CGI Spiderman had no weight and seemed very weightless. This time around he gets hurt, knocks things over, and lives in a world with gravity.
Spiderman also has trouble with his skills and smartly we are not given a direct explanation as to why he is having trouble. The love story is much more enjoyable to watch here as well. When Mary Jane excepts who Peter Parker really is, even I get a lump in my throat.
A lot of people consider the second outing of Superman is superior to the first, I'm not so sure. If Richard Donner hadn't been taken off the production then we would have had a superior movie. But as it is, it is still a great movie.
When Superman has to take on three other villains of equal skills it comes down to smarts to beat them. Plus the softening of Superman, in regards to Lois Lane, makes for a more vulnerable Superman.
This movie is the new textbook for restarting a franchise, and proved it could be done, this summer's The Incredible Hulk follows this trend. Putting Batman into as much reality as possible made it much more enjoyable than the disgraces that the three previous Batman movies had been. In regards to the villain Nolan got it right. Don't kill them, keep them alive. Makes them more interesting.
The Dark Knight
This is still fresh in everyone's mind. In many ways this isn't even a comic book movie. It is a police movie, a detective movie, and in that genre it is one of the best as well. Ledger's Joker of course is historical in this version. As much as I loved Jack's performance back in 1989. Ledger is Joker.
This is one that started them all. This is movie that told everyone you can make a comic book movie with serious actors, Brando, Hackman and do a great job in it. Without those guys going first, we would not have the Nicholson or Ledger Jokers, Downy's Tony Stark, and Gary Oldman in the last two Batman movies. Being in a comic book movie can give you some good material.
John Williams' music in this is an element to this movie that brings the movie completely alive. Reeves wouldn't seem to fly as well with someone else doing the music. The music is also a hidden character in this movie that adds to the tapestry of the film.
Don't believe me? Can you hum the theme to X-Men 2? Didn't think so.