— Originally published in facerockery.bigbaddie.com. —
Like all great movie trilogies, the second movie has to live up to the first, and maybe even try to surpass it. It also has to build the story and the conflict for the third movie’s awesome finish. On top of all that, it has to stand on its own. It has to be a strong enough movie so it won’t feel like just a bridge connecting two towers of AWESOME. That’s a lot of responsibility for a movie. Thank God this isn’t a movie. This is the second part of Cinemabuzz, Comicology, and Face Rockery’s collaborative list of the 15 Best Comic Book Movies of All Time! HAHAHAHAaaaiiineed a drink.
Now, before we start, make sure you’ve read the first part of the list over at Cinemabuzz. If you haven’t done that yet, please do so now. … Done? Awesome. Let’s go.
#10: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (7.93/10)
Face Rockery: When I first saw this 1993 animated movie, I was seriously blown away. I was a huge fan of the old Fleischer Superman cartoons (in Technicolor!) which inspired the look of Batman: The Animated Series. Naturally, I loved the movie’s noir-ish feel.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appeal to me that much to warrant repeated viewings. Also, it’s animated. Animated movies don’t give me the awe-inspiring “HOLY JACK KIRBY THAT’S AWESOME!” moments as much as live action movies do.
Cinemabuzz: First of all, I encourage any of you readers out there to think of a better comic book movie title than frickin’ “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.” Go ahead. You can’t, can you? Well that’s because IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, YOU FOOL!
Aside from having a surprisingly dark theme for a major animated release, it also scored some great actors to lend their voices.
As soon as Batman flipped that card to reveal a Joker right at the end of Batman Begins, word began to swirl as to who should play the Clown Prince of Crime in the inevitable sequel. Steve Carell, Crispin Glover, and Adrien Brody were some of the candidates. But the name which got the most buzz among Batman fans was Mark Hamill, who voiced the character in Mask of the Phantasm.
Luke Skywalker NAILED the Joker, right down to his maniacal laugh. Mask of the Phantasm also had Stacy Keach (who’s like the old, fat, mustachioed version of Will Arnett), Abe Vigoda (I mean come on, who doesn’t like Abe Vigoda?), and of course, Kevin Conroy, who’s voiced pretty much every animated incarnation of Bruce Wayne and the Batman since this movie was made.
Comicology: The early Batman: The Animated Series was one of the best comic-to-TV translations ever made. You can’t really say Super Friends was a literary masterpiece, now, could you?
BTAS had wonderful writing, great animation and a gloomy Gotham-y feel. It was perfect. The translation to a movie just made a lot of sense. One more thing going for it that I truly enjoyed was the animated violence that didn’t really get shown on the TV series.
#9: Hellboy (8.00/10)
Face Rockery: If I told you 5 years ago that the Hellboy movie would be included in the top ten of a Fifteen Best Comic Book Movies of All Time list, you would’ve laughed at me. Not just because I’m fat and hairy, but because nobody knew who Hellboy was, except for the comic book geeks, of course. And yet here we are. #9. Hellboy. With a sequel in the works.
And seriously, not only did the movie stay loyal to the look and feel of the comic book, it also proved that Ron Perlman is a viable lead star… if all movies are Hellboy movies HUHLOLZ! I’m sorry.
Cinemabuzz: You know who Ron Perlman reminded me of before he scored this role? Gary Busey. I’m just sayin’.
However, I wasn’t really that familiar with the source material to begin with, so I didn’t have any expectations upon entering the cinema. But that didn’t matter because whether you were a fan of the comic book or not, this movie did nothing short of bust our guts and melt our faces right off of our goofy heads.
Comicology: Ron Perlman, after tons of his bad-ass secondary roles, was able to take this project and run away with it, ignoring all stop signs and speed limits.
Like Cinemabuzz, Hellboy was never in my radar, and wasn’t something I read extensively. I knew he existed, and I knew his backstory, and I knew what he looked like, but that was about it. And here’s where I think this movie succeeded for me and other comic book fans who didn’t really pay much attention to Hellboy- the character suddenly gained a push in terms of popularity. Comic book sales suddenly picked up, Hellboy came out in different forms of media and even had action figures.
Plus points for that Selma Blair chick.
#8: X-Men (8.07/10)
Face Rockery: OK, the Blade movie may have unlocked and slightly opened the door for the current comic book movies era in Hollywood, but Bryan Singer’s take on Marvel’s Merry Mutants blew that stupid door right out of its stupid hinges!
It was really a fanboy’s wet dream come true. I would know. I’m a fanboy. With nocturnal discharge problems. But I digress.
It may not have been the perfect movie adaptation of the X-Men, but it worked. Which isn’t a surprise given the caliber of respected thespians in the cast, most notably Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, and Rebecca Romijn.
What. She was hot in blue paint.
Cinemabuzz: Having grown up on the animated series back in the 90s, I had high hopes for this film. Will the blue and yellow translate well on screen? How will they incorporate that many characters without compromising the narrative? And will Wolverine still be the hairy, attention-hogging douche that we’ve come to know?
Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry about the first two issues because the costume update to the always-dependable black was a good call, as was the decision the producers to not blow their wad way early by just sticking to the basics. And of course, Wolverine being the hairy, attention-hogging douche is already a given.
It wasn’t perfect, but if there’s anything I can thank this film for, it’s for paving the way for the great, great sequel, X2: X-Men United.
Comicology: When you think of comics, one of the first few things that enter your mind is the X-Men and mutants. This, if done right, should have been the movie to pwn all other movies. So, was it done right? Well, yes and no.
First off, what’s up with those leather costumes, yo? Trying to be all new X-men, huh? Yeah, even in the comics, that wasn’t received well. Hell, writers make those costumes the butt of the occasional joke within the ranks of the X-men.
What’d it get right? The dynamic between the characters, which is pretty much what every team comic book should be about. More than fighting insurmountable odds and bad guys in weak-ass costumes, it should focus more on that.
#7: Sin City (8.20/10)
Face Rockery: We all know this wouldn’t have worked if they didn’t take the look directly from the graphic novels. The main reason for its success is the visuals. Come on, it’s insane! It was an honest to God comic book movie. Literally. MOVING COMICS! Needless to say, I was monumentally awesomed.
And let me just say that part of the fun of the visuals were the actors. Half of the time, I didn’t know what was going on. I just homed in on Alexis Bledel’s haunting eyes and Jessica Alba’s epic pole dancing. Glorious.
Cinemabuzz: If there’s one person who can adapt Sin City to the big screen, it’s the guy who successfully cast David Arquette in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl In 3-D. Because really, if you can pull off putting David Arquette, who I hear eats embryos for brunch, in a children’s movie, you can pretty much do anything you damn well please.
I absolutely have no gripes about this film. And being smothered with loose women in fishnets and people getting shot in the face throughout the film aside, I especially loved the casting, and how funny it actually was.
My favorite characters have to be Rick Gomez and Nick Offerman as Klump and Shlubb, respectively. You may remember them as the articulate goons whose witty banter gave the movie well-deserved comic relief in between scenes with PEOPLE GETTING SHOT IN THE FACE.
Comicology: Gritty, violent and full of shots I still masturbate to until today.
They captured the look perfectly. But since I’m Frank Miller’s bitch in leather and chains, even if they made it with bunnies and purple flying dragons, I’d still probably think it was kick-ass. Fortunately for those who don’t have an irrational love of Frank Miller, it was done the way it should have been.
#6: Spider-Man 2 (8.30/10)
Face Rockery: Hey, guys! I want you to meet my least favorite Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man 2! He’s not as charming as the first one, and he’s not as exciting as the third. But compared to other comic book movies, he’s still a keeper.
Somehow, Kirsten Dunst lost all her hotness from the first movie, and that’s a major downer, you guys. Tobey Maguire, however, kept all his Peter Parker awkwardness and all his Spider-Man wisecrackiness intact.
It’s a solid second movie, actually. With that wicked train action sequence, it’s got to be! But yeah, it’s part of a franchise with 2 other movies that are more awesome in my book.
Cinemabuzz: What I love about the Spider-Man movies is that whether they’re nothing short of (say it with me kids) LEGENDARY like the first one, or if they’ve shamefully teetered into Moulin Rouge territory like the third, they’re all unforgettable. Numero Dos, of course, is of no exception.
The terrific action sequences notwithstanding, the one thing that about this film that will forever be etched in my mind is how much of a whore Mary Jane is. I mean, how can you go from Peter Parker to John Jameson to Harry Osborn and back to Peter Parker within the span of a two-hour movie? If you’re a mega-tramp like Mary Jane, that’s how.
Comicology: I’m surprised this made it in the top 15. The Spider-Man franchise got worse and more emo with each flick.
Spider-Man revealed his secret identity to how many people in this movie?
- Mary Jane
- Harry Osborne
- Doctor Octopus
- A whole train-full of people
Yeah, better just glue that fucking mask to your face, moron. This is why you got One More Day’d, Spidey.
To be fair, though, director Sam Raimi showed off a lot of his background by using those classic horror shots, especially during the hospital scene.
Face Rockery: Well, that’s it for Part Deux of this list. Check Comicology tomorrow for the conclusion of the triple threat blog crossover kung fu extravaganza that is the 15 Best Comic Book Movies of All Time!