Tag Archives: X-Men

Summer Movies: Hulking Dark Man-Boy Knights of Incredible Iron

Iron Man
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I have now seen all ((Oops! Forgot about Hancock, starring The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Sorry, Will!)) of this summer’s slate of superhero movies. I’ll do a more in-depth write up shortly, but for those wondering whether The Dark Knight managed to unseat Iron Man from the number one position on my list of the Top Superhero Movies of Forever and Ever, Amen, the short answer is no.

The slightly longer answer is: not by a long shot.

The Dark Knight is not a bad movie—I gave it a solid 7 out of 10 stars—but it’s note a great movie, either. I’ll be posting a full review in the next couple of days, so let’s get back to the list.

Though Iron Man remains safely (for now; Watchmen is coming and the trailer is absolutely stunning) in the top spot, the summer blockbusters have shaken things up a bit in the middle and lower ranks.

Without going into excruciating detail, here are The Ten Superhero Movies (Summer 2008 Edition):

  1. Iron Man
  2. Hellboy
  3. Batman Begins
  4. X2: X-Men United
  5. The Dark Knight
  6. X-Men
  7. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  8. The Incredible Hulk
  9. The Incredibles
  10. Spider-Man

Something feels a bit off about the middle of this list; I may have to tweak it a bit once I’ve written reviews of The Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Top Ten Superhero Movies (Spring 2008 Edition)

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a blog! It’s an ordered list! It’s the Top Ten Superhero Movies as ranked by me!

Batman: The Movie (1966)10. Batman: The Movie (1966). The Dark Knight makes three separate appearances on this list and this is arguably the least dark of his incarnations; in fact, I’ve previously referred to the relative darkness of the Adam West version of Gotham’s nocturnal vigilante ((Actually, Adam West and Burt Ward do most of their crimefighting in broad daylight.)) as “a skim milk vanilla latté with a shot of raspberry syrup”. Batman: The Movie is classic, campy fun that still makes me chuckle, ((“Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”)) but this movie proves that superheroes don’t have to be dark and gritty to be enjoyable.
Superman: The Movie (1978)

9. Superman: The Movie (1978). Superman movies trouble me. Christopher Reeve was a fantastic Man of Steel, ((Brandon Routh did a find job of imitating Christopher Reeve in Superman Returns, but that was just about the only thing worthwhile in the entire movie.)) but I’ve never really been a fan of the “funny” Lex Luthor. Why pit the most powerful man on the planet against a clown with delusions of grandeur? How about a villain who actually has a menacing presence on the screen? ((Sorry, Nuclear Man, you’re about as menacing as Gunther Gebel-Williams with a head cold.))

Most people I know would probably rank Superman II higher than the original, what with Terence Stamp and all that business about kneeling before Zod. In truth, the first two movies kind of blend together for me and I don’t really consider them separate entities.
Batman (1989)

8. Batman (1989). The first movie I ever stood in line for on opening day, Tim Burton’s Batman pretty much revived the superhero genre. Michael Keaton was surprisingly good in the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, but it is Jack Nicholson who stole the show as the maniacal Joker. Unfortunately, this set a bad precedent for bringing in big-name actors to portray the villains and The Shumachery that followed damn near marched the genre off a cliff in a rubber-nippled batsuit.

Spider-Man (2002)

7. Spider-Man (2002). All hail Sam Raimi for bringing the web-slinger to the big screen! Now please, stop making superhero movies. Though Spider-Man 2 had a better villain and better action sequences, the overabundance of whining and preaching knocks it down several pegs in terms of sheer enjoyment. We will not speak of Spider-Man 3. Is that understood? We will not speak of it.

The Incredibles (2004)

6. The Incredibles (2004). Here’s a special beast: a well-made superhero movie that was not adapted from a comic book. Actually, The Incredibles has roots in a whole slew of comic books, especially Fantastic Four (the movie adaptation of which only wishes it could be The Incredibles). For sheer imaginitive use of superpowers, no movie has yet matched this one.

X-Men (2000)

5. X-Men (2000). In 1997, Joel Schumacher drove what I thought might be the final nail into the coffin of not only the Batman movie franchise, but into the entire superhero movie genre. Then along game Bryan Singer, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart to revive it. Sure, Halle Berry, James Marsden and a bunch of other folks were along for the ride, but let’s face it, X-Men fans only cared about two things: getting Captain Jean-Luc Picard into Professor Xavier’s wheelchair and finding the right guy to wield Logan’s adamantium potato peelers. Ian McKellan as Magneto was icing on the cake. As for the other X-Mean…yeah, whatever, we got Patrick Stewart, baby!

Unfortunately, Bryan Singer went on to murderize Superman Returns while Brett Ratner came in to do the same to X-Men: The Last Stand.

X2: X-Men United (2003)4. X2: X-Men United (2003). Why does the sequel rank higher than the original? Two reasons: Brian Cox and BAMF! Brian Cox plays an excellent bad guy; the perfect antagonist to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. ‘Nuff said on that. Now on to the other thing: Nightcrawler’s teleportation attack on the White House was simply stunning. I spent the following five minutes trying to reattach my lower jaw and to this day I’m still not sure what happened immediately after that scene.
Batman Begins (2005)

3. Batman Begins (2005). Holy franchise resurrection, Batman! Director Christopher Nolan rolled the stone away from the tomb and we found that George Clooney was gone—replaced with the American Psycho himself, Christian Bale. The retelling of Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the Dark Knight Detective is the grittiest silver screen version of the Batman to date, and the Gotham-under-siege storyline lays a solid foundation for a resuscitated series.

Hellboy (2004)2. Hellboy (2004). How much do I love this movie? Let me put it this way: I wish I had not one but two wombs so I could have both Guillermo del Toro’s and Ron Perlman’s babies. That is all.
Iron Man (2008)

1. Iron Man (2008). The latest is, indeed, the greatest. Jon Favreau is clearly an Iron Man fan, because he got everything right: casting, story, special effects, pacing, beards; it’s all brilliant. Iron Man is the first movie I’ve seen in quite a while that had me wanting to stay in the theater and watch it again after the end credits had rolled. Speaking of end credits, if you haven’t seen Iron Man yet (and you should), be sure to stick around for an extra piece of geekery after they roll.

As the self-appointed Arbiter of Superhero Movie Worthiness, I declare that this list is truth absolute ((Until my whim changes and I update it.)) and its accuracy is above question. However, if you should wish to offer your opinions on the topic—whether they rightly align with my own or not—you are encouraged to do so in the comments.

Movie Review: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men: The Last Stand (DVD)X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, Rebecca Romjin, James Marsden, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Ellen Page, Bill Duke and Big Chris.

Directed by Brett Ratner.

I saw X-Men: The Last Stand at the gloriously restored Pic Theater ((I’m taking some liberty with the word “gloriously” here. There was a fire at the Pic a couple of years after I graduated from high school, and the theater was closed for a while. I don’t believe the theater was modernized at all during its renovation/restoration/repair; the theater is almost entirely unchanged since I saw Bram Stoker’s Dracula there three times back in 1992, except that the balcony is now closed.)) in Hancock, Michigan with my wife and two of my siblings.

The Pic is a very humble theater, a single-screen relic with no stadium seating, digital projector or THX-certified surround sound. Across the Portage Canal, the Pic’s sister theater, the Lode, now sports three screens and, up the hill at the Copper Country Mall, Carmike Cinema has five. None of these theaters rival the Cinemark or Regal multi-plexes scattered across northeast Ohio, but the Pic is the last place I would have expected to see the first of the so-called summer blockbusters.

As it turns out, the venue in which X-Men: The Last Stand was playing was the least of my worries. Like an unstoppable juggernaut, the creative forces behind the film had trampled the franchise underfoot leaving only devastation and ruin in their path. If only Bryan Singer hadn’t been too busy directing Brandon Routh’s spit-curl in Superman Returns, maybe he could have spared me this pain.

If you’d rather have X-Men: The Last Stand spoiled for you the old-fashioned way—in a theater, by Brett Ratner and company—then you may not want to continue reading. ((If you do go this route, you’ll want to stick around for the zinger after the end credits.))
Continue reading Movie Review: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Movie Preview: X-Men 3

The X-Men 3 teaser trailer is available over at Apple’s movie trailer site and it looks, in a word, epic.

There’s at least one notable addition to the X-Men lineup: Kelsey Grammer as Hank “Beast” McCoy. Now, I’m pretty sure that a non-Grammer Hank McCoy is seen on a television talk show in one of the previous X-flicks, but I’ll have to double-check. At any rate, it looks like they may be pulling a Billy Dee Williams/Two-Face with Beast.

On the scarred side of the coin, you’ve got Vinnie Jones as Cain “Juggernaut” Marko. Vinnie Jones is certainly mean enough to play Juggernaut, but the costume they’ve got him in looks plain silly.

It looks as though we’ll see Emma Frost (AKA The White Queen), Omega Red and a couple of other nasty folks siding with Magneto. To balance things out, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin appears to play a bigger role this time around, and Warren “Angel” Worthington is getting his wings. But whither goest Nightcrawler? The opening scene of X2: X-Men United featured Nightcrawler kicking all sorts of Secret Service ass, and was worth the price of admission all on its own. Alas, it looks as though Alan Cumming will not be reprising his role as everyone’s favorite fuzzy blue elf, even though his bestest of buddies, Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde, seems to be stepping into the spotlight. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Lockheed this time around, though.

Excelsior!