During a surprisingly cool party at my apartment this weekend, there were a few of us sitting around talking about who our favorite comic book heroes are and why we love them. Now I know what you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like a cool party but you weren’t there so maybe you should zip it! It evolved into a heated but friendly debate that moved from comics, to their film adaptations and that’s when the adamantium claws really came out.
Some people have been very big fans of the latest comic book movies and are willing to bleed out on the floor in honor of their favorite heroes on the big screen but I gotta be honest folks…some of the movies have just flat out sucked. I understand that writers and directors can’t please everyone when they make movies, and I know that there will always be die hard fans out there that are going to hate the movie because it simply exists, but with that being said these types of movies are for the fans. There for the kids who saved there money to collect every comic in a story line. For the people who write Marvel fan fiction in their spare time, and for those of us who buy tickets to Comic Con every year. Those movies were made for all of us so they damn well should have been better! I have seen some terrible ones and there have been some real gems and so I have created a list of my top ten successes and flops. This isn’t based on money or the amount of press it received, this is based solely on the plot lines. Enjoy…
1. The Dark Knight: Success
Grossing over a billion dollars I have to go on record and say that this is probably one of the best movie adaptations EVER. I was iffy on Christopher Noland’s Batman when I saw Batman Begins but he totally blew it out of the water with his second instillation of the series. Speaking in a strictly traditional sense this is not the Joker or the Two Face we all grew up with, and I would by lying if I didn’t say I was completely disappointed with the way he killed Two Face off in this movie, but the monster that Noland created in the Joker more than makes up for the blah blah story of Harvey Dent. He totally nailed the darkness that was always inside the dancing, erratic clown of the Batman series and by adding the scars to his face instead of having him fall into acid gave this modern Joker and much harsher edge that I very much appreciated. So based on the Joker alone I am calling this movie a great success.
2. The Dark Knight Rises: Partial Flop
Coming up behind that huge win for the Batman franchise is the last installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy and it does not hold a candle to the second movie. After waiting almost four years for this flick, fans got to sit around and watch a movie with some dude in a weird mask that spoke like Sean Connery for over two hours. I mean I can’t be the only one who was crushed when Johnny Depp pulled out as the Riddler to do the latest Pirates of the Caribbean (seriously…like we needed another one of those) but when they introduced Bane as the final villain I was completely floored. Bane whom I have always considered a decent villain at best, is only even a relevant character because he created a recipe to harness venom and make himself ridiculously strong and that isn’t even included in the movie. Yes I get that he was a great tactician and that he was one hell of a super terrorist, but that weirdo guy in the movie could have been call Charles for all I care because without the venom you’re not Bane!!!! Now I will admit that I liked them bringing in Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter to bring the movie full circle but then Noland threw Catwoman in there too for good measure. We get a peek at JGL as Nightwing in a story line that might never exist and then to top off this bad guy potluck they brought back Scarecrow just for laughs? This movie was all over the place and I found myself zoning out several times.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Success
Now this is a little gem that I feel got completely overlooked by everyone. It made right under 50 million in the box office even though it had an incredible cast and was well written. I watched the movie before reading the graphic novel series and I must admit it was still pretty awesome. Michael Cera is perfect as Scott Pilgrim and the nerd humor radiates from the screen while you watch. It’s not a movie that is great because of the obvious, it’s all the subtle things that made this adaptation fantastic. Add to this all the original music from the bands and you have got yourself a movie that you could watch over and over again. Every time I see it I discover something I didn’t notice before and I love that in a movie. Edgar Wright nails it as a director making sure to use enough of the comic book vibe with out killing the story and is there a funnier side kick than Wallace the Roommate? I love this movie and I feel like it should have gotten way more hype than it did
4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Flop
Talk about a total bummer of a movie! Wolverine’s origin story was one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read and he has always been a Marvel favorite but when they dropped this mess of a movie I was sad for Logan I really was. While watching this movie I just kept thinking, man people are gonna be pissed when they see this. Striker as a villain…terrible! They picked the wrong actor for that off top, not to mention he looks absolutely nothing like the guy everyone has in their mind from X2: X-Men United. I know that directors and screenwriters are supposed to make the story their own but you must keep in mind what viewers have already seen as far as the movies. We all know that it was Striker’s son that prompted him to want to wipe out mutants but you have him frozen in a block of ice at 6 years old and that’s not the story. Next we get peeks at Cyclops as a high school student, Frost as a teenager but by the time we hit X-Men: First Class she’s over 30 years old, Quicksilver makes a cameo, and then you just totally ruin Remy LeBeau, I mean honestly he was flying through the air like a trapeze artist. It wasn’t cool it was comical. Sabertooth is the one redeeming quality of this movie but the biggest offense of all was what they did to Deadpool. That just can not be forgiven. Deadpool is an incredibly cool assassin that the Origins movie turned into some weird, mutated, hodgepodge of powers who is instantly killed. INACCURATE!!! You’re better than this guys…
5. Iron Man 3: Partial Flop
We’ve all come to love Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and although he is not the dark brooding asshole from the comics, I still think he is perfect for the role and that Marvel really got it right. With that being said…Iron Man 3 was not up to par. Movie goers are sitting in seats watching a slap stick comedy as Tony Stark’s latest prototype suit becomes the main character of the third movie in the Iron Man franchise. We watched as over and over the suit failed, fell apart, showed up late, glitched, re-glitched, and was blown up a few times. It got old, real old. So let’s talk villains. What they did to the Mandarin was all bad. All we’ve been seeing in the previews is the very spooky super terrorist who has a bone to pick with this notion of super hero and then we finally get to his big face to face with Stark and it turns out he’s a complete farce? Not only does the Mandarin not really exist, he’s some hippie pothead British actor? Not cool Marvel, not cool at all. The Mandarin was a great villain that they turned into a sideline joke for no reason other than they just felt like it. It took me all the way out of the movie. I was ready to get up and walk out at that point. I didn’t care what happened next even though I was loving watching Guy Pierce play his part. I don’t know what it is with directors getting to the third installments and just throwing good taste out the window but Iron Man 3 missed it’s mark as far as I’m concerned.
6. Green Lantern: Flop
Where do I begin with this oh so boring movie. This was like comic book to movie 101 in how mediocre it was. Everything about this movie from it’s graphics to it’s actors was boring. I remember thinking to myself not even Common as the Green Lantern could save this film. I love Ryan Reynolds, I think he’s incredibly hot, but his goofball approach to the Green Lantern just did not do it for me. Lanterns are incredibly formal and noble heroes and Ryan Reynolds just can’t do that in his acting. Blake Lively, boring, even with the red hair you’re boring. Mark Strong as Sinestro was my favorite part of the movie because he fit his character very well but who didn’t see it coming when he puts on the yellow ring at the end, I mean it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that coming. Visually this movie had some strong points but everything else about it was just so boring that it’s hard to remember any of them. This could have been so much better but a constant reliance on CGI and a crew of actors that put you to sleep do not make a good movie at all.
7. Sin City: Success
It took a me a couple of times watching this movie before I could really appreciate all that it was. I had skimmed the Frank Miller novels in the past but had never been pulled in the way I thought I should be until I saw this movie in all its black and white glory. I don’t think I’ve seen anything better than Mickey Rourke playing Marv in a long time. Graphically stunning, Sin City is a great nod to the old comic days of Dick Tracy and I loved it. The way they merged all the stories into one long timeline by including the Bookend was fantastic and the way they used color to emphasize the important characters was perfect. Yes the movie is long but the actors in the movie do such a good job you don’t even notice the time going by. The love between Clive Owen and his warrior woman Rosario Dawson is HOTT. The love between Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba is a complete contrast but it works man, it just all works so well. I could watch this movie again and again.
8. The Incredible Hulk: Partial Flop
I’m only giving this a partial flop because Edward Norton did a kickass job in the second Hulk movie but this whole franchise is a flop as far as I’m concered because we’ve had three Incredible Hulks and there is a different actor playing the role every time! That is way to much change for anyone to be able to truly enjoy this character. Let’s just say it, the first Hulk movie sucked, it sucked a lot. I’m sorry Erica Bana but you did not do that movie justice and neither did the people who made it around you. The second Hulk movie was better but they introduced Abomination and now they’re doing what with this character? They used the same super soldier serum from Captain America on Tim Roth’s character but there is absolutely no reference to this in the Avengers Movie. I know you directors don’t all get together with one another and insist that people include all the details from other movies in plot lines but this is why movies fall apart and the Hulk franchise has been kicked around way too much. Is the Hulk not worthy of his own set of movies? He was always one of my favorites. How do you beat the guy who just gets stronger every time you try to beat him? There is a good Hulk movie out there, someone just needs to care enough to do it right
9. The Last Airbender: Flop
M. Night Shyamalan come and down and receive your punishment. Avtar, The Last Airbender has been one of the greatest cartoon series of this generation and this movie took all the was great about that series and ripped it apart. First order of business, taking an obviously Eastern Asian cartoon and making it Middle Eastern just because that happens to be your ethnicity is NOT COOL. The people of the Fire Kingdom are clearly Japanese with names like Zuko and General Iroh, and Commander Zhao. The people of the Earth Kingdom are clearly Chinese, they live in cities like Ba Sing Se, there police force is the Dai Li, and that is where Toph Beifong is from. Just a heads up, fair skinned is not the same as white skin ok. The people of the Water tribes are Inuit people, not white people. they have blue eyes because they are people of water, not because they are white! The only group that was done right were the monks at the Air Temple. These characters were a clearly a play on the monks of Tibet so at least they got that one right. The story of water was done wrong, Aang did a lot more than make a big scary wave, he drowned people as a giant water monster. The way this movie failed is mind blowing and also completely unnecessary. I don’t know how you mess something up as much as Shyamalan messed this up. Big time flop…
10. Watchmen: Success
I loved, loved, loved The Watchmen! Who’s watching the Watchmen? I am that’s who. I thought the graphic novel was great and I thought movie did a really good job. The opening montage of the heroes with Bob Dylan playing was perfect and I was glued to my seat from that moment on. The characters translated from print to screen very well. I hated Silk Spectere 2 in the book and I hated her just as much in the movie. Rorschach was my favorite character in the book and he was my favorite in the movie. Dr. Manhattan was like a god in the book and he was even better in the movie. I even loved the way they changed the ending so instead getting some weird squid monster they made the threat Dr. Manhattan which was so much more enjoyable. I heard a lot of people say it was too long but that’s what happens when you have to take hundreds of pages of story and put it all into a time slot for a movie. They kept all the really good parts, all the lines and catch phrases that I loved in the story and that’s what I think makes a good comic adaptation movie. The Watchmen to me is one of the best examples of turning a graphic novel or comic into a movie and I think people should keep that in mind for the future.
So that’s my list, read it and weep
Amber Mosby…”Forgive me if I don’t get excited”