In celebration of me attending my first ever Comic Con this weekend, I figured I may as well tie my High 5 into the category of comics. Problem is, I’m a comic lackey. I’m not out there discovering new comics; I’m not hip to the indy artists or things that have buzz. When it comes to comics, I do what I’m told. Oh I have to read Preacher, ok. Oh, Planetary is awesome? Sure I’ll read it. I have to read Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, ok, I’ll buy them. So then how do I connect my shitty poser comic geek self to the world of the REAL comic geeks? Through movies of course!
What I have here are my top 5 important comic movies. Don’t agree? Then come and argue the point with me at Boston Comicon. I’ll be at the 5 & Dime Table both days.
5. Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man set the tone for Marvel movies going forward into the Avenger (Movie) Initiative. It had a difficult time of telling the origin story of a lesser known hero. When I say lesser known, I mean of Iron Man’s beginnings. Everyone knows that Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider, and Super Man is an illegal immigrant from Krypton, and Batman’s parents were killed, but how many of your non-comic friends know of Stark’s bad ticker? Well, now they all do. There was a lull in the quality of comic movies in the mid 2000’s, for good or for worse, Iron Man brought them back.
4. Superman (1978)
I can’t believe I’m calling this movie important. I don’t really even like it. I hate Superman, I don’t care about any of the other characters in this story, and effects are cheesy. Even still, the 1978 Superman is important because its the first modern superhero flick. Superman is the most recognizable super hero of them all. However since Superman 1 and 2, Hollywood has failed to produce a passable film entry into his pantheon. The closest you get is the Adventure of Lois and Clark … and that has about as much accurate Superman info as the 3 Doors Down song Kryptonite. People talk about Smallville occasionally and I’ll admit; I’ve never seen it. I doubt I ever will (as I’ve mentioned I hate Superman). Zack Snyder will attempt to rectify this and place a new Superman movie before us but I have a feeling it’s going to be a stinker.
3. V for Vendetta (2005)
V for Vendetta is important because it took comics movies out of the tights and flights genre and gave us something more. It led filmmakers to look beyond the big name titles and find good stories to tell. Sure we still had to put up with rehashed Punisher trash and another Fantastic 4 debacle, but we also got Scott Pilgrim, The Losers, RED, 30 Days of Night, 300, and a slew of other entertaining comic inspired movies. Yoou could say that Hellboy got the ball rolling on this topic as well, but V knocked it out of the park.
2. Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man was mired in development hell for decades. It was always a technology problem from a film maker’s viewpoint. In 2002 that problem was solved. Sam Raimi became responsible for the reinvention of comic book inspired movies. All of a sudden soccer moms, football jocks, and cheerleaders were all going to a comic book movie. It was madness. What we found was that a comic book movie could be enjoyed by the masses. This led to producers handing over wads of cash to comic book writers and publishers giving it a shot in the arm. While some of us may not like where we’ve ended up, there is little doubt as to where it started.
1. Batman Begins (2005) / Dark Knight (2008)
This is less about a movie and more about a man. Christopher Nolan has always used film to tell great stories. When he combined that ability with a character as strong as Batman the result was magical. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight placed an emphasis on the narrative instead of the character. His world feels real, like his character have to react to the it as opposed to having a writer build the world around the characters. The kicker is that both movies were a financial success as well as critically acclaimed. You couldn’t say that they were great for comic book movies. No, first and foremost, they were great movies.