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Author Topic: Greatest Superhero Movies Ever?  (Read 18245 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: August 05, 2005, 11:26:26 PM »

What would the lot of you consider to be the best Superhero movies ever made?

I know for one that if I had to make a top ten list, the following eight films would be on it:

8. Batman: the Movie (Adam West)

An over the top sense of humor, a fantastic story with fantastic villains...Batman getting rid of a bomb, and Batfanboys hate it. What could be better?

7. Superman

I don't think anyone doubts this movie's right to be on this list, so it as a choice speaks for itself.

6. Batman Begins

God, were the nineties movies ever terrible. Sure, Joel Schumacher gets a lot of crap because he totally deserves it, but really, the notion that the Batman movies were great films ruined by bat-nipples is rewriting history. Finally,  we get a tight story and characterization of Batman not a grunting, sullen jerk insensitive to those around him (yes, I *AM* looking at you, Chuck Dixon and Frank Miller) but as a heroic figure motivated by more than just revenge. In other words, we see a lot of Steve Englehart's definitive characterization shining through.

And Christian Bale is a great, understated actor. Remember that scene where Batman pretended to be drunk to get people out of his house? You get the feeling he wasn't entirely just pretending...

5. The Shadow

Superheroes ought to be played by unknowns, but I'd make an exception for Alec Baldwin. This one had it all: Tibetan temples, mind hypnosis powers, a fight in a hall of mirrors, mongols attacking mad scientists, giant invisible buildings...

4. Superman II

With all the origin stuff out of the way they could concentrate on telling a decent story, and the most astonishing 15 minute fight in the history of superhero film.

3. The Rocketeer

May not technically be a superhero movie, but it's so good that recognition of it trumps classification.

2. The Phantom
It also could have been titled "Ghost Dad," but I think that was already taken.

I don't want to say anything that we don't already know, but God, was Billy Zane BORN to be a superhero! I absolutely hated the Batman movies of the 1990s because the actors overacted; they growled and grunted and posed for the camera like supermodels. Billy Zane and Christopher Reeve were great because they were the opposite: they understated. Combine this with Treat Williams' warm and humorous performance of a villain with extraordinary personality, and for the love of Mike, a stunt where someone jumps off a plane to a horse...easily you have one of the greatest superhero movies ever. It had a fascinating sense of humor, a tight story, excellent use of the Phantom story elements without the movie feeling crowded (Bengalla, the Jungle Patrol, the Skull Cave, the Phantom's Ghost Dad).

1. The Incredibles

Great superhero film with great drama.

Two Movies I will confess to being guilty pleasures, but I would never in my right mind put on a list of great superhero movies:

Supergirl

Masters of the Universe
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TELLE
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2005, 12:01:58 AM »

I thought about this lately, after sitting through the glut of summer films.

Artistic Choice: Fantomas (1920s silent films series)

Nostalgic Choice: Superman

Modern Choice:  Spiderman 2 (my wife, not a superhero fan, enjoyed it immensely as well) or the Incredibles

Nerd Choice: Ultraman!

I watched the first Transporter movie right after Batman Begins and enjoyed it more.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2005, 08:31:16 PM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
Artistic Choice: Fantomas (1920s silent films series)


If we're allowed to have heroes from comic books apart from just superheroes, my list would have TANK GIRL on it too. Yeah, I know this is "Superman Through the Ages" and we're supposed to get all pissy if a hero in a movie even smokes a cigarette,  but there was something transcendentally awesome about that scene where Tank Girl, surrounded by mutant kangaroos, gives a guy the finger before hurling cans of beer at him from her giant tank gun. Lori Petti ought to give up the art and stick to character acting. It's as wasteful as seeing Michael Jordan play golf.

Quote from: "TELLE"
Modern Choice:  Spiderman 2 (my wife, not a superhero fan, enjoyed it immensely as well) or the Incredibles


I liked Spider-Man 2 as well, but I wouldn't put it amongst the best superhero movies ever. For two reasons:

1) CGI Spidey. What a disappointment. There is something inherently fake about CGI technology. Claymation, though less sophisticated, at least gives you a sense of a physical object. And it's significant to note that the best movies utilizing CGI have been LORD OF THE RINGS and JURASSIC PARK (which was made in 1993). LORD OF THE RINGS's CGI worked because it was all long shots so as not to see details, and because it was used to touch up and expand on an already extraordinary physical performance. JURASSIC PARK's CGI worked because it was the special effect director's last choice instead of their first, not supplanting more impressive advanced puppetry and anamatronics.

2) Bad editing. Good Lord, was this movie ever longer than it ought to have been. You can picture poor Sam Raimi in the editing suite bawling and crying his eyes out. "NO! NO! We CAN'T cut that scene of Spider-Man buying an ice-cream cone and looking up at the sky!" Aunt May's narration was excruciating instead of inspiring because it was allowed to go on FOREVER. That scene with Hal Sparks in the elevator was a cute cameo, but it belongs to the DVD release as a cute DVD extra instead of padding out the finished film. About the only scene that was cut and edited properly was the one where Doctor Octopus's arms go haywire in the hospital. It was cut quickly like a horror movie and not surprisingly, was the best scene in the film.
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2005, 01:29:27 AM »

Good choice for a thread.

10: X-Men - Not as good as the sequel, but it's still one of the best comic book films ever made.

9: Sin City - Easily the most accurate comic book adaptation ever. This one has excellent film noir and an equally excellent cast.

8: Superman 2 - The last good Superman movie. Even without Donner this film was very enjoyable for me--hopefully WB releases a "special addition" version with the cut scenes put back in. It'd be a great way to promote Superman Returns (since it is a semi-sequel to this film).

7: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - The best Batman film ever before Batman Begins came out.

6: X-2: X-Men United - A truly great comic book film. The cast was used very well in this superior sequel.

5: Spider-Man - THE movie that re-energized the comic-film franchise. It connected with the public and did huge business at the box office.

4: The Incredibles - This movie portrays super-heroes as many of us miss them being portrayed: noble, unselfish, caring, and majestic. A film that anyone--of any age--can watch and enjoy.

3: Spider-Man 2 - Another Marvel movie sequel that was better than the original. This film proved that the original Spider-Man movie wasn't just a fluke. Raimi really showed what makes Spider-Man such a compelling character.

2: Superman - Hopefully I don't get lynched for listing this film as the runner-up. This Donner masterpiece was the very first GREAT super-hero movie. It's still timeless after all these years.

1: Batman Begins - Even though Superman is my favorite comic book character ever, I'd have to say that the newest Batman movie narrowly nudges it out. Superman would've EASILY got this position if not for the Deus ex Machina ending and the somewhat campy (though still quite evil) Lex Luthor.

As for this film, it was perfect. The Batman portrayed here was a nice mix of the different interpretations of the character--from O'Neil, to Miller, to Loeb. It makes the other live-action Batman films pale in comparison. It literally dwarfs the other live-action films with its greatness. Christian Bale was the perfect Batman (just like Chris Reeve was the perfect Superman).
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2005, 03:52:23 AM »

I feel fairly thoughtless for leaving out MASK OF THE PHANTASM, which was neat. Ditto for X-2, which was likewise astonishing. While it had the most innovative uses of superpowers since the giant fight in SUPERMAN II, it had one flaw that I think keeps it from astonishing greatness:

Namely, here were all this colorful, personality-rich bad guys that inhabit the X-movies, to say nothing of the comic source material and they pick as the Lord of All Evil and central bad guy, an evil accountant? Good Lord, with the goatee Brian Cox looks like a grinning, evil literature professor.

I can't believe they went from fighting the god Kukulkan and Krakatoa the Living Island to THIS guy. Blech.

Quote from: "NotSuper"
As for this film, it was perfect. The Batman portrayed here was a nice mix of the different interpretations of the character--from O'Neil, to Miller, to Loeb. It makes the other live-action Batman films pale in comparison. It literally dwarfs the other live-action films with its greatness. Christian Bale was the perfect Batman (just like Chris Reeve was the perfect Superman).


What, no love for my boy Steve Englehart, who wrote the definitive Batman?  :wink:
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2005, 05:48:23 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
What, no love for my boy Steve Englehart, who wrote the definitive Batman?  :wink:

My bad.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2005, 03:00:25 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Quote from: "TELLE"
Artistic Choice: Fantomas (1920s silent films series)


If we're allowed to have heroes from comic books apart from just superheroes


You have my permission. Cheesy

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Quote from: "TELLE"
Modern Choice:  Spiderman 2 (my wife, not a superhero fan, enjoyed it immensely as well) or the Incredibles


 You can picture poor Sam Raimi in the editing suite bawling and crying his eyes out. "NO! NO! We CAN'T cut that scene of Spider-Man buying an ice-cream cone and looking up at the sky!"


I'm with Sam on this one, despite the CGI!  Superhero movies need to be shorter on the tough-guy ass-kicking and SUV-driving-while-lying-on-your-belly-for-no-apparent-reason, and longer on the blubbering!

More date, less hate!
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2005, 03:19:47 AM »

There are some honorable mentions that I'd like to include: Hellboy and Ghost World.

Hellboy surprisingly followed the source material quite faithfully, and it had a steller cast.

Ghost World is one of my favorite movies ever, and the only reason it didn't make the list was because it wasn't a traditional comic book film.
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