EDITORIAL: PaulRom's Top Six Underrated Comic Book Movies
There are several comic book-based movies that don't seem to gain as much respect as they should, and are often overlooked by more quality films such as The Dark Knight and The Avengers. Hit the jump to check out my list of six such films.
There are about as many poorly received comic book movies as there are positively received ones. However, some of those that weren't so successful deserved much more. Many have been overlooked by more successful films such as Iron Man, Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, Marvel's The Avengers, etc. Below, I've compiled a list of six CBM's that I believe deserve more praise than what they currently have.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Many may not think that Marvel Studios' third film was a non-success, as the majority of critics gave it positive reviews (though not as positive as the first movie, of course) and was very successful at the box office. However, I noticed that the sequel has divided comic book fans, hence why the movie is on the list. Iron Man 2 definitely has its flaws (too many Avengers Easter eggs, an average script, a disappointing final battle and a slightly one dimensional/unoriginal villain), but it certainly has its highlights (War Machine, Agent Coulson's wisecracking, and of course Robert Downey Jr., to name a few). Probably Marvel Studios' weakest entry so far, but still a pretty solid second film for the Armored Avenger.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
After two fantastic entries in his Spider-Man series, Sam Raimi let down many fans with the final film in the trilogy. To this day, it's still one of the most hated comic book movies. As a huge fan of the character, I somewhat enjoyed this threequel. Flawed? Absolutely (too long, too many villains, Venom being underused, a mediocre script...I can go on). Disappointing? Certainly. Horrible? Not really. The actions scenes are excellent, some of the cast members offer very solid performances (Thomas Haden Church as Sandman is genius), J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson, etc. are all bright spots in this flawed movie. The film was a decent effort (not worth all the hate IMO), but a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise excellent series. Still makes Ghost Rider look like Catwoman, however.
Green Lantern (2011)
This one let down a LOT of fanboys. Warner Bros.' first non Batman/Superman related attempt at bringing a major DC Comics character to the big screen fell short of success; it was release to mediocre reviews and it barely made back its budget at the box office. Did it deserve all the hate? Not in my eyes. While the script was a bit of a mess, focused too much on Earth and featured subpar villains, Green Lantern is otherwise a pretty good movie. The visuals are mostly excellent, Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong turned in strong performances as Hal Jordan and Sinestro (respectively), and the action scenes and Oa all looked fantastic. The final battle between Hal an Parallax was epic to say the least. I believe that a sequel can fix many of the first film's flaws (such as making the setting entirely in space, give Reynolds better direction, etc.), which is why WB should make one in the near future (unless Reynolds can return in a Justice League movie first, which could be a good idea).
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Another Marvel Studios film on the list. The second attempt at bringing the Green Goliath to the big screen was more well received than Ang Lee's 2003 outing, but only grossed slightly more at the box office. I think it deserved to do much better. While not perfect (the CGI needed some work, for example), The Incredible Hulk was a lot of fun and a very good addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The acting was great, the pacing was fine, and the action sequences are a blast to watch. Definitely an overlooked film, and so much better than Ang Lee's Hulk.
The Punisher (2004)
Thomas Jane's turn as Marvel's Frank Castle is arguably the best big screen incarnation of the character to date. The film had quite a few flaws (such as lacking enough action, a mediocre villain and not enough believability), but didn't deserve to bomb at the box office. Jane's performance is clearly the highlight of the pic. Fingers crossed Marvel hires him to wear the skull once again.
The only film on the list that's not based on a DC or Marvel property, 300 is an impressive adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel which has left CBM fans divided. While the slow motion is occasionally annoying and Rodrigo Santoro's Xerxes was a bit obnoxious at times, the fictional historical epic certainly packs a punch. Gerard Butler shines as King Leonidas, the action scenes are thrilling and the visual tone is stunning. Hopefully the planned follow-up delivers (however unnecessary it is).
That's the end of my list. I have yet to see several other CBM's that have been considered underrated (such as Blade, Watchmen and Daredevil), so I can't add 'em to the list. But feel free to list your own choices for the most underrated CBM's in the comments below.
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