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Top 5 'Superhero' Movies 
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Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
1)The X-Men Trilogy: Unlike most of you I liked the third part and I think it was a nice epilogue to the best comic superhero saga till now.

2)V for Vendetta: Powerful socio-political commentary and an excellent voice performance by Hugo Weaving make this one of the best and personally more influential movies of the past decade. V's televised speech and Valerie's story are instant classics.

3)Batman Returns : Perhaps Christopher Nolan should take a lesson or two from Tim Burton on how to make a movie about human's dark nature without being hopelessely pretentious and heavy-handed.

4)Unbreakable: Arguably Shyamalan's best movie. Willis and Jackson are excellent in their atypical roles.

5)The Incredibles: Pixar's contribution to the genre is as funny and spectacular as any of their live action counterparts.

I don't know if Sin City counts as a "Superhero" movie. If that's the case I would put it at number 3.


Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:22 am
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
How is Sin City a superhero movie?

Anyway:

1. The Incredibles. Just an immensely fun film from start to finish. I love it.
2. Superman. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, so it’s not fresh in my mind, but I remember loving it.
3. Iron Man. Again, it’s fun. More Superhero flicks need to have snappy dialogue like this. Chirst, that’s what made me love Spider-Man as a kid, which is why the films didn’t make the cut.
4. The Dark Night. I love the ideas this movie puts out there, and I respect the direction Nolan took with this. That said, even with its long running length, I never really felt like it all came together. Harvey Dent’s side of the story felt like it needed to a lot more time to develop, and I hate that the film has to resort to a deus ex machina to wrap things up. Luckily, the performances are so fantastic that I still rank it really highly.
5. X-Men 2. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. But I remember really digging the characters and having fun with the action sequences.


Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:28 am
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
ed_metal_head wrote:
I'm surprised that, apart from you and Johnny Larue, Iron Man hasn't seen a lot of love. I didn't include it because I thought the story was very average, however the film was brought out by a fantastic RDJ performance. What did you like so much about it?


I liked that while telling the origin story that starts pretty bleakly in the deserts of Afghanistan, Favreau finds the time to inject some decent humor in the story as RDJ "becomes" Iron Man. (Stark's interactions with his robotic helpers yield some good chuckles.)

A lot of the film's attitude and feel boils down to this:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
"I am Iron Man." What a great way to end the film and not something you would generally expect from a superhero movie. I know in the comic that Stark is out in the open like that too, but within the film when you expect RDJ to bullshit his way out of the Iron Man speculation, he just lays it out there. Classic.


Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:36 am
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
:shock:

Goddamn, Ken. I said Godamn...

johnny larue wrote:

A lot of the film's attitude and feel boils down to this:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
"I am Iron Man." What a great way to end the film and not something you would generally expect from a superhero movie. I know in the comic that Stark is out in the open like that too, but within the film when you expect RDJ to bullshit his way out of the Iron Man speculation, he just lays it out there. Classic.


You're right. Caught me way off guard too. Still, plot-wise, the movie is fairly average. Imho of course.


Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:18 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
5 - Blade
4 - Hulk (2003)
3 - Incredibles
2 - Unbreakable
1 - Batman Begins


Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:32 pm
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Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
#5. Batman Begins - Let it be known that Christopher Nolan was already an excellent director before this piece (in my opinion, both Insomnia and Memento are fantastic films), but this was the movie that landed him an A-list territory. Christian Bale reinvents himself in this film, and the supporting cast of Oldman, Murphy, Wilkinson, Caine, and Neeson are all terrific. I especially love the ending of the film with the train scene and the last line Batman utters before he escapes at the last moment.

#4. Spider-Man 2 - Features the best villain from the series in an always awesome Alfred Molina, as well as an impressive storyline. Maybe I'm a sucker for train scenes or something, but the one that takes place here is just something special. A lot of the dialogue could've come across as corny and forced (the heavily romantic ending risked this) but since it's acted and directed with such precision and excellence, it works, and it's memorable and lovable.

#3. V for Vendetta - The role Hugo Weaving was born to play (he's better than his Agent Smith character in The Matrix here), as well as a gutsy turn from one of my current favorite actresses, Natalie Portman. The end of the film is violent, potent, and the music selection couldn't be better. I love this film, and I find it to be extremely re-watchable.

#2. The Incredibles - One of my favorite Pixar films (right behind the first Toy Story), and one that possesses competent voice-over work and about a likable family of five. It's fast-moving, funny, and of course Samuel L. Jackson finds his way into the story.

#1. The Dark Knight - Unquestionable the darkest, most serious, and supremely well-acted film of the genre. What's haunting about this film, at least for me, is that you basically get to see a man die in real life when watching Heath Ledger give up his sanity for this role. The atmosphere is loaded with darkness, the story itself is incredibly bleak, but the characters as well as the epic feel the film contains is something that puts it on a whole other level than the rest of the movies in the category.

I actually hated the first Superman, so I had no real interest in seeing any of the other films.

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UPDATED 8/26 - Top 100 List *Updated*


Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:57 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Ken wrote:
awesome Superman stuff


This was the post I was waiting for when I saw this thread had been created. I knew Ken would bring the heat. Hell of a post, Ken. Great read.


Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:27 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Ken wrote:

Shit, I guess I need to pick four other movies to talk about.


Please do. That was very insightful. Great stuff!


Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:06 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
wisey wrote:
Ken wrote:

Shit, I guess I need to pick four other movies to talk about.


Please do. That was very insightful. Great stuff!


Yeah Kenneth, that shit reminded me that you blog too. I stopped by and read an interesting piece on Prince. Had something to add but saw that to comment I had to sign in with a Wordpress account now. What gives?


Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:06 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
I'm not sure, actually. If Wordpress has been tinkering with its comments feature, it's news to me. I'll see if there's something I can do.


Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:42 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Alright, I took a look at my blog settings, and it still appears to be set so that anyone can comment. Email addresses plus moderation for first-time commenters seem to be the only requirements. And yet, when I log out and try to leave a comment as a visitor, it requires me to log in. I'm not sure how to resolve this issue, but again, I'll look into it.

Anyway, here it is: the long-awaited sequel to my embarrassing superhero movie geek-eruption.

Here are the next two of my four remaining picks.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

This is kind of like the Lord of the Rings, except that I'm not very fond of Frodo, Gandalf, Kodos, Marky Mark, and all the rest of the Funky Bunch. What I mean is that this is kind of a cheat, in that I'm choosing two movies that were filmed in conjunction, with the intention that the two of them together form one collective storyline. Unfortunately, unlike the Lord of the Rings, that basic plan was not followed through in this case. Due to producer interference (and, make no mistake, they fucked up bigtime), Superman was released as a standalone movie with a new ending that was grafted-on, flawed, and incongruous. The original ending, which was supposed to segue directly into Superman II, was scrapped.

As for Superman II itself, it suffered even worse. Original director Richard Donner was fired upon release of the first film, with around 75% of Superman II in the can. Fill-in director Richard Lester overwrote much of that footage with his own, shooting around 70% of the footage in the finished film. The result is a jumble of jarring stylistic shifts, favoring Lester's sloppy, inferior style and losing much of what makes the first film great. The death of master cameraman Geoffrey Unsworth between the two productions hurt the film badly, and the departure of Gene Hackman was apparently the only major obstacle preventing Lester from shooting his own Superman II entirely. The end product deviated sharply from its original intention, showering attention upon the villains and minimizing the resolution of the story arcs set up in the first film.

In 2006, due to fan demand, Warner Bros. okayed the release of this recut version of Superman II. It favors the Donner footage as much as possible. Lester footage, screen tests, and other odds and ends were used to fill in the gaps where Donner was unable to shoot. The original ending of the first Superman is instated here as the prologue to Superman II, and the time travel ending--nonsensical and out of place in the first film--is reinstated here, as intended, as the ending to the second. It completes the film on a thematic level and resolves everything in a much stronger way than the ridiculous memory-wiping kiss in the Lester version.

I've already wasted most of the space I intended to fill here by talking about behind-the-scenes drama, but I felt it was important to discuss the history that resulted in this second edition of Superman II. With that out of the way, I'd better wrap it up quickly.

It took me a long time to get over the fact that this is an incomplete film at best, if not a sketch of what the complete film would have been like. I've reached the point where I can forgive that and enjoy Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut for what it is: a chance to experience the second half of the story, with its faithfulness, respect, and production values intact. Here is Superman II without the strong focus on mindless action and gags. Here it is with the themes of romance and responsibility brought once more to the fore. The strengths that made the previous film great are restored here. Incomplete though it is, it is an unlikely and marvelous achievement.

I only regret that the two films never had the chance to be finished as intended. Without question, they would collectively form one of the finest heroic sagas ever committed to film.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Batman: The Animated Series was a staple of my childhood television diet, and--unlike many shows I watched as a kid--it has risen in my estimation since then. This movie is one of several based on that show, but unlike its direct-to-video brethren, it had a brief stint on the big screen. This is significant, because the filmmakers clearly understand big screen shot construction and editing. The images contained herein are meant to be splashed across a broad, tall canvas.

This is a gorgeous and criminally overlooked movie, elegant and classical. It owes far less to its contemporary TV shows and movies than it does to the golden age of Hollywood animation. It has an ongoing, old-school design motif of painting on black paper and quasi-vintage architecture. I might even posit that there are some downright artistic touches to be found. The scene when Bruce Wayne first dons the cape and cowl, for example, is handled in a way that drives home the transformative quality of the Batman alter-ego. It is an almost entirely visual sequence, punctuated very simply by Alfred: "My god."

Furthermore, it was the most intelligent and faithful screen version of the character at the time, and might even remain so today. As stylish as Burton's films are, they're one-dimensional from a psychological standpoint--unacceptable for a character whose reputation tends to sink or swim based on psychological readings. Despite the bizarre fetishistic overtones, particularly in Returns, the character relationships in Burton's movies could almost be called juvenile. By contrast, Timm and Co. give us a romance that is far from obligatory or childish. It is presented as one of the factors that initially muddies Bruce's single-minded determination, and later solidifies it. (I'm sure we can all relate.) That determination is very much the driving force of Batman. It shocks me that the guys who make cartoons for kids got it long before the guys who presumably make movies for adults.

The "Bruce Wayne becomes Batman" story has been treated in a number of ways, and this, I find, at least matches Batman Begins in terms of humanity and plausibility. (There is nothing inherently plausible about a traumatized kid cleaning up town as a bat-themed urban vigilante. The test becomes creating the illusion of plausibility. Here, as in Begins, it works.) The storytellers make a series of effective choices, not the least of which is depicting two very different styles of masked vigilantism against one another. Batman's ethos veers uncomfortably close to "might makes right," and Phantasm explores the dividing line perhaps more thoroughly than any other adaptation. At the same time, Phantasm brings to bear the melodramatic, operatic touch that is missing from the modern films, which is a central element in the world of the Batman.

Without spoiling things too much, this is the first of my two choices that are animated. I find this interesting. Perhaps the superhero, while entirely viable in the 'toons, was just never given a fair shake on celluloid until the birth of modern visual effects.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:31 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Ken wrote:
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut


Again, good stuff. You could only have seen the Donner cut after watching the theatrical Lester cut several (?) times. If the Donner cut had not been released, would the theatrical version still find its way into your "top 5"?

Also, I know how much you love to make lists ;) It's cool if you decide to port this whole thing to the blog when you're finished. I get the feeling that what we write here won't stay on the interwebs forever.


Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:28 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
(In announcer's voice)
I would like to submit!

5)Ghost Rider- Flaming Skeleton with a flaming bike with flaming chains. Plain and simple. :)
4) Batman and Robin- Holy underatedness, Batman. This one is a lot better than the overrated dark knight ;)
3) Superman 4- Best of the Superman franchise. It has the most plausible plot, and incredibly accurate physics :roll:
2) Fantastic Four 2- All powerful, planet consuming cloud. Best villain of all time. :P
1) Stan Lee's Lightspeed- Truly a masterpiece, that we mere mortals are not worthy enough to gaze upon. :lol:


Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:59 am
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Slade wrote:
(In announcer's voice)
I would like to submit!

5)Ghost Rider- Flaming Skeleton with a flaming bike with flaming chains. Plain and simple. :)
4) Batman and Robin- Holy underatedness, Batman. This one is a lot better than the overrated dark knight ;)
3) Superman 4- Best of the Superman franchise. It has the most plausible plot, and incredibly accurate physics :roll:
2) Fantastic Four 2- All powerful, planet consuming cloud. Best villain of all time. :P
1) Stan Lee's Lightspeed- Truly a masterpiece, that we mere mortals are not worthy enough to gaze upon. :lol:


:shock:... You're funny.


Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:39 am
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
ed_metal_head wrote:
Again, good stuff. You could only have seen the Donner cut after watching the theatrical Lester cut several (?) times. If the Donner cut had not been released, would the theatrical version still find its way into your "top 5"?
I doubt it. Lester's Superman II is definitely superior to his Superman III, but I don't doubt that it's because much of the groundwork was already laid down. He is completely wrong for the franchise.

Of course, Donner's version probably illuminates the problems with Lester's version much more starkly.

Quote:
Also, I know how much you love to make lists ;) It's cool if you decide to port this whole thing to the blog when you're finished. I get the feeling that what we write here won't stay on the interwebs forever.
Funny thing is, I've had two vague, unmotivated plans in recent times: 1. Look into adapting Internet posts as blog entries. It would seem to be an easy, free-flowing source of material. 2. Do a blog entry discussing the sordid history of Superman II. I never got around to it, because I could never quite figure out the angle.

I'd never just outright c'n'p from an Internet post to a blog entry (two completely different contexts), but it would be less work than whipping up stuff from scratch.


Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:26 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Missed the cut:

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (really good Batman story; tells the origin really well; pretty decent Joker story as well, though I didn't like the origin part of the Joker story, even as minimal as it was)

Fantastic 4 (you know what, I like the first one. I do. I can't really explain or excuse it, but I do.)

Superman (good movie, but Lois Lane annoys me too much to make me care much about the third act).

Incredibles (A very fun movie, but the politics bother me a little bit and aren't handled in the most subtle or intelligent fashion).

The order changes all the time, but these are definitely my favorite 7.

7. Batman (1966) - I remain convinced that Adam West and (especially) Burt Ward had no idea that the writers were writing a comedy. Which somehow makes their acting pitch perfect.

6. Batman Begins
_____________________________________________

5. Spiderman 2 - Just a good solid superhero movie. Pretty much everything works. Except the too-long, anti-climactic ending, but still a very good movie.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - A criminally underrated movie. I honestly think that if you released this movie in, say, 2004 in place of Hellboy, it gets the same positive response from critics. It's fun, funny, ridiculous, and entertaining. I really do love this movie. I just think critics in 1990 weren't ready to go into a superhero movie accepting of a ridiculous premise. Even Ebert, in his review, says something like "probably the best Turtles movie that could be made." When a movie isn't even given a chance because of its premise, it's a shame.

3. Iron Man - There seems to be a backlash against this movie that I don't quite understand. It was just fun. Pure fun.

2. X2: X-Men United - A movie so strong that even the disappointing third movie manages to ride the emotions created by the end of the second movie to a fairly acceptable ending for the series. A little more willing than the first X-Men to ask the audience to just accept the ridiculousness of the premise and go with it. Probably the strongest story of any superhero movie, and the ending on the jet between Wolverine and Cyclops is fantastic.

1. Dark Knight - Oddly, Dark Knight manages to continue where Batman Begins left off while seeming to inhabit a different universe. A more realistic, less noir-inspired universe. Which I wouldn't have expected to work in a Batman movie. But the taut script, great acting, and solid story really bring it all together, building on what was established in Begins without ever rehashing. Amazing movie.


Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:15 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
Ken wrote:
Let's talk about Superman.


A lot of what Ken writes mirror my thoughts, but I think he put it in much better words than I could. Just a few comments:
I think Christopher Reeve was highly underrated as an actor, especially in this role. Just the way his body posture changes between Superman and Clark Kent, perfect.
The special effects aren't perfect, but I think they hold up much better than many blue-screen atrocities that came later. There's also some good miniature work by Derek Meddings (it's interesting that he also did it on Tim Burton's Batman, where I didn't find the miniatures as convincing).
Just when I thought Ken won't mention the music, he does. I'm definitely a John Williams fan and Superman is probably one of his best scores. John Ottman in Superman Returns wisely emulates most of the themes, only his rendition of "Can You Read My Mind?" is too short of my taste (maybe it was also just me waiting for the theme for half an hour or so).
The main reason why I think I would have enjoyed Superman II even more if Richard Donner could have stayed on is the reveal scene of Superman. IIRC, in the theatric version Lois Lane takes a leap of faith down a waterfall. Yes it works, but I think the original scene is much better, where Lois shoots Clark Kent with a revolver. Then the following dialog (paraphrased from mind) happens:
Superman: You realize, if I was just Clark Kent, he would be dead now.
Lois Lane: When shooting with blanks?
Much better, because I think it's more personal and also funny. And I think it seems more like the thing that Lois Lane would do.

I'm not much of a superhero buff, so I'd have a tough time picking my five favorite movies. But I believe that the original Superman certainly belongs to the top 5, despite some of its flaws.


Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:19 am
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
1. Superman
2. Superman 2
3. The Dark Knight
4. Batman Begins
5. Iron Man

Pretty straightforward. Quick question though: is the only major difference between the Lester and Donner cuts of Superman 2 the excision of the Paris terrorist scene?


Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:24 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
1. The Incredibles

2. Blade II

3. Unbreakable

4. Spawn

5. Batman Begins


Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:06 pm
Post Re: Top 5 'Superhero' Movies
MGamesCook wrote:
Pretty straightforward. Quick question though: is the only major difference between the Lester and Donner cuts of Superman 2 the excision of the Paris terrorist scene?
I suppose it's the only major deviation at the global level. When Donner was forced to cut the original cliffhanger ending from the first Superman, it created a gaping plot hole. Lester's II solves it by inserting the Paris sequence. The Donner Cut solves it by simply adding the original ending on as a prologue to II.

Shade wrote:
4. Spawn
That's a bold pick.


Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:35 pm
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