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Top 10 Best Super Hero Movies – Follow-Up

Marvel Movies

Yesterday, I posted a Top Ten list.  I rarely engage in lists because I am really bad at them.  I always worry I will forget something important.  And I find ordering things based on subjective reasoning to be extremely frustrating.  I enjoy debating (and ripping apart) other people’s lists.  But I hate making my own.

The response to this list was so positive, I may have to rethink my stance and start posting more Top Ten lists in the future.  But for now, I thought I’d write a follow-up to yesterday’s list.

First of all, a number of readers were kind enough to post their own list.  I thought I’d collect them all here for easy reading:

Here’s a link to my original list.

daffystardust’s list

10. Spider-Man
9. Superman 2
8. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
7. X-Men 2
6. Unbreakable
5. Watchmen
4. The Incredibles
3. Iron Man
2. The Dark Knight
1. Spider-Man 2

Geo’s list

10 Superman II
9 Hellboy II
8 Batman Begins
7 Spider-Man
6 X-Men II
5 The Dark Knight
4 Iron Man
3 Hellboy
2 Spider-Man II
1 Superman

xxadverbxx‘s list

10. X2
9. Thor
8. Spiderman
7. Superman Returns
6. Spiderman 2
5. The Dark Knight
4. Captain America
3. Iron Man
2. Batman Begins
1. Superman: The Movie
Honorable Mention: Kickass

(If anyone else feels like posting their lists, I’ll add them to the body of the text.)

All great lists, by the way.  On another day, in another mood, with a different set of criteria, I could see myself making lists very much like these.

Based on the responses in the comments section and some of the responses my list got on Facebook, I thought I’d share a few observations.

On my original list, I decided to try to prioritize traditional super heroes over gritty deconstructions of super heroes.  That’s why I left off Watchmen and Kick Ass.  Both movies have their merits.  But I don’t feel entirely comfortable with either of them.  Especially Kick Ass which I think crosses a line into ugly territory at the end.

I haven’t read the comic book Kick Ass is based on.  But I have that response to most of Mark Millar’s work.  I thought the comic Wanted was based on was vile.

I really like Unbreakable, but I left it off my list in favor of movies I considered to be more fun like Captain America and Thor.  Thor seemed to be a particularly decisive inclusion.  Some people praised me for including it while others called for it to be cast out of Asgard.

I was also surprised by the love for Captain America with more than one person telling me it should rank higher than 9th.  I expected people to be critical of me for including it at all.  The reviews, while largely positive, were mixed.  And the box office was respectable, but it came in under Thor.  Apparently, those of us who enjoyed it are very enthusiastic.

The most common complaint about my list was the exclusion of the Burton Batman.  A lot of people remember the 1989 Batman fondly.  I know I do.  In 1989, it was a really fun movie even if it didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

My problem is that everything that the Burton film got right, subsequent super hero movies have done better.  Both of Nolan’s Batman films are better Batman movies.  As great as Nicholson was as the Joker, he seems like Ceasar Romero when you put him up against Heath Ledger.  These days, all you’re left with is Tim Burtons visuals (which are a feature of every Tim Burton movie), Danny Elfman’s score and a Batman with no peripheral vision.  Long story short, I don’t think it holds up.

I respect the heck out of Batman Returns for taking so many chances.  But only about half of them pay off.  For the most part, if Michelle Pfeiffer or Christopher Walken aren’t chewing scenery, the movie is a mess.  10 years ago, it would have made the list.  But with so many fun super hero movies out there to choose from, Batman Returns got squeezed out.

Which brings me to another point.  I think we can all agree that CGI (for all its “evils”) has allowed for a golden age of super hero movies.  Now that film-makers can depict Spider-man swinging over rooftops and Captain America launching his mighty shield, comic book heroes can be adapted to the big screen like never before.  The only limitation seems to be the imagination of the film-makers.

But that technology doesn’t necessarily make for better super hero movies.  No super hero movie has made more use of CGI than last summer’s Green Lantern.  And that movie positively drowned in its CGI.  It overpowered any human element the story might have had.

I was also heartened by the shared affection for Superman: The Movie.  All of us “men of a certain age” remember it fondly.  Superman 2 shared in some of that love.  But many (myself included) feel it hasn’t aged as well as the first film.

Just for fun, I thought I’d end by running down my 5 least favorite super hero movies of all time:

(Having never seen Catwoman, it is not on my list.  I’m sure it would be if I ever made myself endure it.  I am also leaving off low-budget cheapies like Steel or the Roger Corman Fantastic Four.  Those movies aren’t meant to be taken seriously.)

Supergirl – After the Salkinds basically killed the Superman franchise with Superman 3, they tried to spin off a Supergirl series.  Helen Slater was perfectly cast as the Maid of Steel.  But everything else about this movie is terrible!

Punisher – Any version.  Take your pick.  One, I just don’t care for the character.  But two, Hollywood has never done a good job with him anyway.

The Spirit – Proof that Frank Miller has lost his mind.  This movie is not competent in any way.  It is easily the worst movie on the list.  But since it is such a minor character, I don’t consider it a major crime.  So I’ll rank it in the middle of the pack.

Batman and Robin – It’s probably not as bad as it’s reputation.  But I’m still mad about seeing Batman whip out the Bat credit card.  This movie made me groan in pain repeatedly.  I have never endured a second viewing.

Superman 4: The Quest for Peace – Oh, how the mighty have fallen!  Even Christopher Reeve can’t save his final Superman movie.  If you thought it couldn’t get worse than Superman 3 (a Richard Pryor movie guest starring Superman) you were wrong.  Superman 4 lowered the bar in every regard.

More Super Heroes

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Posted on January 11, 2012, in Movies, Super Heroes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 53 Comments.

  1. I actually kind of liked Punisher 1, but it’s probably because I like Thomas Jane. I agree the movie as a whole was kind of weak but it wasn’t horrible enough to be on my list of least favorites. As an aside if you want to see good Thomas Jane roles check out Stander and 61*. He turns in fine performances in both.

    You’re right about The Spirit. It was just plain weird, and I never did follow what was happening. I don’t even remember much about it now except that I didn’t like it. I know some folks placed the Watchmen in their top 10 list, but I have that down near the bottom w/ The Spirit. It too was very strange and the Billy Crudup energy-man was just goofy. Dick Tracy and The Shadow would both have spots on my list of horse apples as well. Very forgetable movies both. Here’s a strange entry: I liked the first 1/2 of Green Hornet. It was funky and fun. It was played kind of tongue in cheek I know but it worked for me. The second 1/2 of the movie however spiraled downward into a mess and it didn’t finish well. I was bored by the end. So it’s half way on my list I guess???

    And finally the Tim Burton Batmans. I know you have an affinity for Burton, and I did like Sleepy Hollow. I just didn’t care for his surreal, cartoony, over the top visuals version of the Dark Knight. I was much younger when they came out of course and was really looking forward to them and was really disappointed. Nolan arrived and saved the day thankfully.

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    • Honestly, I picked the Punisher for my worst of list mostly so I could make a joke about all three of them being interchangeably bad. I didn’t hate the Dolph Lundgren or Thomas Jane versions. I didn’t like them either. Never saw the third but heard realy bad things about it.

      As an aside, I’m undecided on Thomas Jane. Obviously, I saw him in The Punisher. I remember seeing Deep Blue Sea and thinking he was destined for stardom. (ooops) I saw him in The Mist, which I hated! But Jane was fine in it. He had a very funny Arrested Development cameo. But that’s because Arrested Development was awesome. Even Carl Weathers was funny on AD. And I watched about a season and a half of Hung. Again, okay stuff. But he didn’t wow me either. I kind of think of him as a poor man’s Aaron Ekhardt, to be honest.

      I did love the following quote from Jane regarding being fired from a Sylvester Stallone movie: “I didn’t get a call from Stallone. I was a little upset about that. Maybe they didn’t want anybody on the movie with a bigger dick than him.”

      Um, so. Back on topic. The weird part about Watchmen is you almost have to have read the comic to appreciate it. But if you have, you know that it’s just a surface retelling of the story and gets the feel of it wrong. Still cool if you just want to see a live action version of a classic comic book. But something is just off.

      I actually sort of liked Dick Tracy and The Shadow. They came at a time when super hero movies were few and far between. Neither movie is very good. But they held me over till the Golden Age of super hero movies could begin. Also, I really liked Penelope Ann Miller…

      Nothing more to say about The Spirit. Comic fans already knew Frank Miller went off the deep end years ago. Now movie fans know it too.

      Totally agree with you on Green Hornet. I was digging it for the first half. And then it just imploded. Could not wait for it to be over.

      People I know who approached the Burton Batman films as Batman fans generally didn’t like them. At the time, I didn’t read comics. I had no particcular interest in Batman. But I was a movie buff and Burton was a young, interesting director. I approached those films as Tim Burton movies. They actually lead me into the world of super heroes. But if I had been a fan of Batman first and foremost, I probably would have been disappointed too.

      I did think the moment when Keaton in the Batgear pulled that thug in close and whispered “I’m Batman” was pretty damn sweet. Still do. But the movie is a narrative mess. So, I can’t fault those who don’t like it.

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      • Funny you mentioning Aaron Ekhardt; I actually confused one of his movies I liked thinking it was Thomas Jane in the role. I’m talking about No Smoking Allowed. That was a very funny and entertaining indie dramedy. Ekhardt is a fine actor too so my memory lapse does not reflect at all on either actors capabilities but rather my own faulty synapses. Age is a bitch!

        Stallone (insert symbol for confused emoticon). I don’t get why he’s a big deal. He can’t speak or act at all. Everything he does and says comes off very “hammy”. I only just learned that he wrote the Rocky movies; was never aware of that for some reason. Anyway Rocky 1 and 2 were pretty decent I guess, but I was never overwhelmed by them like so many are. They are considered American classics now, but I don’t see it. I just don’t understand why he is such a draw at the box office? It defies logic. And I include myself in the confusion. I’ve paid to see most of his work along with everyone else. Something about him puts butts in seats, but it escapes me what that could possibly be? I guess both he and Arnie possess some secret charisma that short circuits our brains and draws us in.

        You are right about Penelope Ann Miller. Yowza!

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        • Loved Thank you for Smoking!

          I know I’m going to draw ire from our resident movieman, but I was never remotely a Stallone fan. I liked the Rocky movies up to a point. First Blood was good. But Stallone’s presence in a movie is a deterrent to me.

          I was a Penelope Ann Miller fanclub of one back in the 90s. I even saw Year of the Comet! I don’t think Tim Daly sat through that stinker and he was in it! But even Miller at the top of her Yowza couldn’t save The Shadow. She came pretty close though…

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  2. Hey, hey! What a coincidence, I just beat Arkham Asylum (PS3) which I got as a present. Man, it was very well done. OK, the lists are great for conversations and discussions. I LOVED DC comics from the time I first learned how to read up until the 4th grade. That’s when I met me best friend (to this day) who introduced me to MAD, National Lampoon, and Marvel Comics. After that, DC seemed too clean and virginal. I never did lose me soft spot for Batman. he was not only a super-hero, but also the world’s greatest living detective.

    OK, the movies. As a teen in the 70s, the pickings were slim. The often forgot Dr. Strange made for TV films were arguably the only watchable stuff. I was a bit apprehensive when they announced the Batman update, but the fact Tim Burton’s name was attached gave me cause for cautious optimism. Spending the vast majority of me life in Pittsburgh, I had to hope Keaton was the man for the job. He was, for a couple reasons I dinna realize were important. The rubber mucscles were believable, and his eyes are very wild, something I never noticed until he put on the cowl. Finally, the somewhat weak chin was hidden well by the cowl. It wasn’t a great film, but the 1st two were the best from that run. More importantly, they showed the moneymen that there WAS a market and you can make a serious movie about a comic bok character.

    THAT paved the way for the ‘Batman Begins’, which was more in line with ‘A Touch of Evil’, with a superhero solving the crimes. As far as the rest of the list, eh. Fantastic Four was a painful joke which, IMHO should of went the Daredevil* route. X-Men was OK. but IMAX was a pretty big factor in making that enjoyable. On the small screen, I could understand me friends being underwhelmed. The scond one was only redeemed by the presence of Patrick Stewart. Wolverine? Maybe to a fan, but I would not recommend it to a film buff not into comics. SO, keeping in topic Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Mask of the Phantasm (great inclusion! I forgot about that one), Keaton/Burton Batman(s), Superman 2 is the list I would recommend to a non-comics film fan.

    *I really dig this site and am sharing just to share, not to tick anyone off. In that spirit I was considering nominating Ben Affleck for a ‘WTHHT…?’ entry. Then it dawned on me. To be a has been requires a fall from some level of performances above anything Mr. Affleck ever accomplished, so far.

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    • The Arkham games are almost reason enough for me to invest in a PS. Thing is, I’m really bad at video games and my kids wouldn’t give me a chance to play. Instead, time permitting, I have been playing DC Universe Online. I’m sure it’s not nearly as good as the Arkham games, but it is free and requires very little skill.

      I saw some of one of those Dr. Strange movies when I was a kid. But the station was one we just barely got in when I held the rabbit ears just right. So it was grainy and barely watchable. I used to watch Elvira movies on Sunday afternoons the same way.

      You’re right about Keaton. When he was announced, people lost it. You and I were apparently two of the only guys who had faith. Keaton’s Bruce Wayne isn’t very true to the comic book version. But I think he’s the most interesting Wayne even if he doesn’t get to do a lot with the role. It’s in those wild eyes you described.

      Wolverine” Origins nearly made my worst list. It’s not so much that it’s bad. It’s that it is thuddingly mediocre and it could have been so much more.

      As far as sharing goes, your participation is greatly appreciated. You need not worry about ticking anyone off. Ever.

      Regarding Mr. Affleck, I think he actually redeemed his career when he started directing. He was very near washed up prior to that. As an actor, he gained redemption in my eyes with Hollywoodland. Not a great movie, but definitely worth checking out.

      Affleck definitely had a lot to atone for. Daredevil wasn’t even the worst of his cinematic crimes.

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      • As far as Bat casting goes, my feeling is that the worst Batman movie had the actor who was most ‘right’ for the role. While “Batman & Robin” was frightfully inept, I thought it was a real shame, because Clooney could have been great with the right script. It wouldn’t have been the same kind of Batman as we got from Nolan, but it could’ve been a very valid Batman nonetheless.

        Okay, (he says, bracing himself and wincing) everybody can pile on now.

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        • I don’t think anyone’s going to disagree with you (except for Andy Movieman). Clooney could have been a great Batman. But no one could have saved Batman and Robin. I only fault Clooney in so much as he agreed to do it.

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      • In a way I believe the Burton films did not really pave the way for Batman Begins. Nolan had to reboot the films and from what I gathered having seen some interviews (or was it special feature discussion?), Nolan had some trouble convincing the studio to let him make a new Batman movie. That it was a hard sell just for how badly the last Batman movies had spiraled into… well crap. If anything, The first two Reeves Superman films should be given credit to really starting the hero craze, even if the third was pretty bad the the fourth sucked (oh I wish I never saw the fourth one…)

        Clooney as Batman I’m not really sure about. Yeah, he’s a good actor and so with the right script he may have done well, but I just don’t know about it. But then when I think of it, I wouldn’t really expect to have enjoyed Bale in the role as much as I did… oh if only he could have done his Batman voice sounding like Conroy…

        Note to Lebeau: You can get the Arkham games for PC through Steam (google it) if your system can handle it. It is also on 360 and PS3. Steam often does deals too so you may randomly find it for 50% off or maybe ven 75% off.

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        • On the Burton films paving the way for the Nolan films: It depends on your point of view. Superman: the Movie broke down walls. It showed that people could take super heroes seriously. The Burton films showed that there was a heck of a lot of money to be made in super hero movies. And they showed that super heroes could be kind of dark. But, yeah, under Schumacher they also imploded and killed the franchise. I would say the success of Spider-man was probably more directly responsible for the Nolan films getting made than the Burton films. But if not for Burton’s Batman, Spider-man might never have happened. So, it all connects in a way.

          On Clooney: Clooney’s a very talented actor. He’s a good looking guy. That’s all it takes to be a convincing Batman. He could have played it a bunch of ways and been great. If you wanted a more Adam West Batman, he could have done that. But even if you wanted a darker knight, look at Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn. He could have pulled it off. It didn’t matter who you cast in Batman and Robin. Neither Keaton nor Bale would have made that movie any better.

          Thanks for the tip on the Arkham games! I may have to watch for that later. Aside from cost, my main reservations are time and skill level. I suck at games that require any level of skill. Seriously, it’s pathetic. I usually end up frustrated and quitting pretty early on. If I do power through it, it’s usually a pretty heavy time commitment on my part. For now, DCU Online is filling my (super hero) gaming fix. It’s free and I requires almost no skill whatsoever.

          Maybe this summer when work slows down, I’ll look into the Arkham games. I’d like to give them a try.

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      • Steam does random sales on and off throughout the year, but they tend to have a bigger one sometime in the summer (forgot what time of the summer), and then a lot more starting around Thanksgiving and going till a little after the New Year. The sale tends to have I think 8 or 10 games (or game packages) a day put on discount for 24 hours before they swap it up. Another time certain games will tend to go on sale is if its getting close for a new sequel to come out, or if something else that could be related to the games will be released soon. Which for Batman may count as the near the next film release.

        And yeah, Clooney is a great actor and I at least think Bale is too. It would have been nice if he had grown his hair out a little bit to help with the Bruce Wayne look at least. But yep, with the right script and director he probably could have done a really good job at it.

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  3. You’re keeping me busy LeBeau. Let me think this out and I’ll post my list tonight. I can tell you right now, that Superman IV and Batman and Robin will be included.

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  4. I used this list to limit my choices, keeping in mind your restrictions as well (no Steel, etc):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_superhero_films

    I haven’t seen The Spirit, Catwoman, Elektra, Supergirl, and a few others, but surprisingly I’ve seen most of the films on that list.

    From best to worst….

    5 Captain America (1990)
    4 Batman Forever
    3 Superman III
    2 Batman & Robin
    1 Superman IV

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    • I have not seen the 1990 Cap. I hear it’s horrid. I did watch the Cap TV movies. Loved them as a kid but I’d never want to revisit them.

      I don’t hate Batman Forever. Sure, it set up absolutely everything that was awful about Batman and Robin. But to me, Forever was just shy of awful. Tommy Lee Jones should be embarassed. But there was just enough entertainment value for Batman Forever to avoid my scorn. If Batman and Robin didn’t exist to put Batman Forever in perspective, I might feel differently.

      I feel the same way about Superman 3. It’s bad. But there is just enough I like about it to redeem it a little. I sort of like the stuff in Smallville with Lana. But the scene of Clark vs. evil Superman is pretty awesome. If only the whole movie had been like this.

      Christopher Reeve was the man! May he rest in peace. If Superman 4 never got made, Superman 3 would be on my list. But when you compare 3 to 4 and to Supergirl, 3 seems almost charming.

      There’s a whole bunch of bad super hero movies that just aren’t bad enough to distinguish themselves. To my mind, that’s almost worse than being awful. Wolverine: Origins, Elektra, Ghost Rider, etc. These movie just fail. At least some of the awful ones are still entertaining in a so bad they are good kind of way.

      Can’t really argue with any of your picks though. They are all lousy.

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      • From a marketing perspective, the coolest thing about Superman III was the poster.

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      • My worst list would have to include Superman IV and 1989 Punisher for sure. I really want to see Nick Fury: Agent of Shield (1998 film staring: HASSELHOFF!). I’ve heard it was really laughable by a friend. Some odd reason too, that Cap. America preview made it seem the movie could be passable at least.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joZODFleOaA <– Hasselhoff Fury. He seems that (at times) he can pull off a good Fury look, but that seems to be about it.

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        • I remember watching the Hasselhoff Nick Fury movie. It was cheese-tastic! I was disappointed it didn’t get picked up for a series.

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  5. That is a pretty sweet poster. I miss old school movie posters, I gotta tell ya.

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  6. hmmm…new topic? Favorite movie posters?

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  7. I like the sound of that!

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  8. Looking at my list again, at this moment I’d probably swap Returns and S2 about, and the same with Thor and X2. All that different day, slightly different feel and all. But I don’t think I’d actually take anything off of it. I feel I should iterate I was trying to follow your guideline of a superhero movie, and as they greatly change the scope of what can go on the list, I also left out animated movies.

    I basically agree with your Burton take. The second one I think is better, but having seen them both a couple years back I realized a lot of what I loved of them had been due to the fond childhood memories of them. The action was, for the most part I found too, pretty bad to watch. Poor Keaton barely moving, and who I don’t fully think pulls off the Bruce Wayne look or feel despite his acting ability while failing in his ability to portray a good Batman in a fight. Both things I feel Bale greatly trumps him in. For Returns, I thought Devito made a great Penguin. Almost a shame Penguin doesn’t count as a superhero for the upcoming list I’m working on.

    Superman the Movie aged so well in part of the actors (though it is a pretty crappy Lex Luthor in there I have to admit) even if a lot of the effects in it now look rather cheesy. GL I agree, and even if the story was the same, I think it would have come off better if they had less CGI in it. Heck, Reynolds wearing a pure costume with no CGI effects based more on the comic version would have made me enjoy it more.

    For your new list: Supergirl… I never knew. Punisher I have not seen War Zone, but I rather enjoyed the 2004 version (1989 one I laughed for it was so crappy).

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    • On a different day, I’d rank my films differently too. That’s just the nature of lists, I think.

      So, if you were to go with a less strict super-hero list, what would you have included?

      I think DeVito’s Penguin is… interesting. To me, he’s the weakest part of the movie. Which isn’t DeVito’s fault at all. The Penquin was a victim of too many rewrite. They never got a consistent take on the character. So he changes plans and motives every five minutes. Whereas Nicholson got to steal the spotlight just be being Nicholson, DeVito had to deal with Pfeiffer stealing the spotlight in skin-tight leather. No way he could compete with that. All he had going for him was he was small and gross.

      I agree that Keaton didn’t make a very good Bruce Wayne/Batman from the perspective of a comic book fan. Keaton’s Bruce is this distracted, nerdy lunatic. But he’s very compelling to watch. If you’re open to a completely different take on the character, it works. But if you’re looking for the traditional take on Bruce Wayne, it’s completely at odds with the source material.

      And yeah, it sure didn’t help that he couldn’t turn his head in fight scenes.

      On Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor: I actually think Hackman is brilliant in the movie. He turns in an extremely funny comedic performance with just a hint of menace under the surface. I LOVE this exchange from the first movie:

      Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?
      Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.

      The problem is, as great as Hackman’s performance is, it leaves Superman without a strong adversary until General Zod shows up.

      Supergirl is worth checking out just for its craziness.

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      • It has been a while since last I saw that movie, but Devito can be a really great actor and he at least had the looks for it. He does change faces quite a bit during the film, but he did a good job (another casualty to the script?) with what he had to work with.

        Keaton worked with me as a kid, but before it all I knew was reruns of Adam West Batman, so not much to compare it to until after the animated series started. Thinking of head turning too, Nolan did a good job of changing that up in the second film.

        And you probably are right. Hackman is great, and like Keaton Batman his role as Luthor really worked with me at that age. Save the wig bit, Hackman’s Luthor probably was pretty well written. Just, didn’t age well and now also doesn’t compare to how the DCAU Luthor was or Spacey’s Luthor in Returns (which did do a wig scene itself). I could be wrong though for I hadn’t seen much of Luthor in the comics.

        I don’t know if I’d really expand what the list would hold myself, but if anything would probably make a purely animated movie list to stand on its own. If I really had though, Superman/Batman Public Enemies, Batman Gotham Knight, and Green Lantern First Flight would at least be considered though I’m not certain if I’d give any of them an actual spot.

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        • Thanks for the tip on Steam – I’ll keep an eye out!

          I think Batman Returns (and DeVito in particular) were victims of the script. Returns got rewitten to death!

          Funny story about the Luthor wig. It was done that way to accomodate Hackman who refused to shave his head. In fact, Hackman refused to shave his mustache either. But Donner eventually convinced him to do that much. I believe Donner had a full beard which he shaved in order to convince Hackman to shave his lip if not his head.

          I considered the DCU direct-to-video features. (Although Public Enemies is one of my least favorite of the bunch!) They are good and arguably better than a lot of features. But I think I’ll do up a Top 10 direct to vid feature instead some day.

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      • If I was doing an animated one, I’d include non-DC (like Marvel) with it. If you limit it to just direct to video releases though, you would knock out a couple films (Mask of Phantasm I think is one?).

        Under the Red Hood would be another that would tempt me, Year One is a little iffy somewhat for the VAs didn’t do a great job (mostly Batman), though it would probably make a purely animated list for me. And I loved Public Enemies, even if they watered down the comic story a lot. Granted, I was completely giddy over the fact they got Conroy and Daly back which really helped the movie for me. Otherwise, it was great in terms of being a nearly non-stop action movie and that is what they pretty much planned for it to be.

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        • Personally, I was not a fan of Loeb on Superman/Batman. Public Enemies is really the storyline where Loeb and I parted ways. I loved the first issue, but every issue after that got dumber. By the end, Loeb just completely lost me. So really, there was very little chance I was going to like the adaptation. It dumbed down something I thought was too dumb to begin with.

          I did like Under the Red hood more than I expected. And Year One was good (one voice actor aside). I really liked All Star Superman. Wonder Woman is a favorite. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights was a pleasant surprise (First Flight was so-so in my book). The two Justice League videos were both good. Hopefully “Doom” will live up.

          I’ll probably type up a list when Doom is available.

          I liked the Planet Hulk adaptation pretty well. I can’t think of any other good Marvel ones off the top of my head. Am I missing some?

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      • I actually think I saw the movie before I read through that arc in the comics. Still if nothing else, I loved the movie for it basically being one big fight after another while showing many times Batman kicking ass vs. metas (which can be hard to realistically do when he is paired with Superman) and the return of Daly and Conroy which is a great team. Believe I enjoyed the film actually more than the movie (save the cameo of Nightwing), while Apocalypse I enjoyed the comic better than the movie. Not that I was a huge fan of that story arc in the first place, it had some nice moments, and led to Batman learning Kryptonian which was nice in some later arcs.

        Animated films DC has me more than Marvel, while live action Marvel seems to have me more than DC >.< Wasn't huge on Wonder Woman, Emerald Knights I liked but wasn't big on that either. I think it was JL Frontier that I never saw in full so can't comment. First Flight was really my introduction to Hal Jordan though. I knew he existed, knew about him and a bit of his past, and saw him in scattered short moments in comics and cartoons. First Flight was really the first story I came across with him as the focus or even in more than a slight role. Year One was a great comic and despite the rest of the cast being great, Ben McKenzie really let me down. With him being one of two leads in the movie, well it hurt the movie itself to me. Under the Red Hood has my favorite Batman voice out there after Conroy.

        Also, I completely forgot Doom was coming. It does look great. And seeing the old DCAU (at least most of it) back doing voices really has me stoked. Side note: I always found it funny how many good actors the DCAU pulled in, and how some of them then had roles in Smallville. Biggest one being the Flash turning into Lex Luthor.

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        • Pretty much in agreement on the Batman/Superman films then. Only you liked it for many of the reasons I didn’t like it. I actually posted reviews of both on read/RANT. I recommended Public Enemies for anyone who just wanted to see a lot of fights. And I also liked the return of Conroy and Daly. I preferred both movies to the comics they were based on. But none were great stories.

          I have to rewatch Wonder Woman. But at the time, it was my favorite of the bunch. I had low expectations of Emerald Knights, but really liked it much more than I expected to.

          Interesting that First Flight was your into to Hal. I grew up with him on Superfriends. As an old timer, I found a lot of the odd changes they made in FF to be a distraction. But if I came in clean, I probably would have liked it better.

          I forgot Rosenbaum was the Flash. He was actually on Smallville before he was cast as Flash in Justice League. But yeah, great voice work on that show.

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      • Just checked, but I had forgotten Rosenbaum was not the voice for Flash in that Superman ep Speed Demons. Also forgot Smallville started before JL. Otherwise the other main one is John Glover for being in both. And of course the roles (or cameos) picked up by many of the old Superman movie cast in Smallville. But we are suddenly veering off badly.

        Speaking of off topics, if you have any suggestions for a top ten of best actors/actresses in Superhero roles (VAs excluded) you should check out the board.

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        • Shoot, I have not been on the board in a long, long time! I should drop by!

          Don’t worry about veering off topic. We do it all the time. I’d estimate a good 30-40% of articles spin out of tangents in the comments section.

          I did not remember Glover did JLU!

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      • Glover was in Batman the Animated Series as the Riddler, which is a character I don’t think ever made it over to the JL series. But he at least was still part of the DCAU.

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      • I also love Hackman as Luthor. I do think Hackman gets across a threatening streak under his surface smarminess which adds the necessary layer of evil to the character. But mostly it’s just a darn entertaining and hilarious performance with each and every line delivered in an incredibly expert fashion. It actually reminds me very much of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka performance. Both of them seem to take a perverse delight in torturing other people. They both seem to look down on the other characters as simpletons and idiots and enjoy lecturing them. They’re both extremely witty in an almost musically charged way. They both can explode with a ferocious temper at times. And both of the actors just seem to be having an enormously fun time cutting loose and devouring the scenery.

        The story about Hackman’s mustache as Donner tells it is that Donner put on a fake mustache before Hackman showed up on his first day, and then got Hackman to agree to shave off his mustache only if Donner would do the same to his. They both ran off to do it, then when Hackman came back, Donner was still wearing his mustache and peeled it off in front of Hackman. Hackman turned bright red and looked like he was about to explode in anger but then burst out laughing instead.

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        • Nice comparison between Hackman and Wilder. Very true.

          I have not heard that version of the mustache story before. If it’s not true, it should be.

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  9. WOW! Can’t believe lebeau doesn’t like the original Batman movie. I’m not sure I like him anymore… Super hero movies are essentially crap and very few are any good. Even the more serious ones feel really dumbed down. But the original Batman movie doesn’t suffer for that. It has aged remarkably, I think…

    Batman Returns is kind of bad though.

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    • I didn’t say I didn’t like it. It’s just not in my top 10. I love it for a lot of reasons. But I don’t feel it has aged especially well. Especially after Dark Knight. Hopefully we can still be friends! 😉

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  10. My top 10 Superhero movies:
    10) The Wolverine
    9) Unbreakable
    8) The Incredibles
    7) Iron Man
    6) Captain America
    5) Batman Begins
    4) Avengers
    3) Dark Knight Rises
    2) Dark Knight
    1) Watchmen

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    • I was going to comment, but I think I’ll wait until we record our podcast.

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    • For What it is worth, My top 10 is below, with what I am sure are some controversial choices. For the Record, I’m a huge fan Burton’s Batam, and that is probably because I was not a huge reader of the comics (I collected Green Lantern – so imagine my pain when the Reynolds fiasco was released). I actually also really enjoyed X-Men First Class, and unsure why it hasn’t appeared in anyone else list? I also loved Batam Begins..

      X-Men First Class
      Batam Returns
      Unbreakable
      The Dark Knight Rises
      X-Men 2
      The Incredibles
      Iron Man
      Batam Begins
      The Dark Knight
      Batam (1989)

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      • I don’t consider any of your choices controversial. I liked Burton’s Batman a lot as a Tim Burton movie. As a Batman movie, it was still better than what we were getting at the time. And better than much of what followed. My criticism of your list would be that you didn’t spread the love. It’s almost all Batman with some X-Men. I didn’t want to over-represent any one franchise which is why First Class didn’t make the cut. Also, it’s almost more of a 60s spy movie than a true super hero movie.

        I liked Unbreakable. I watched it a couple of times. But I don’t really want to sit through it again.

        The Incredibles is great. I think I stuck entirely to movies based on comic books. Otherwise, Incredibles would rank pretty high on my list.

        I like Batman Returns. Once again, it’s better viewed as a Tim Burton movie than a Batman or super hero movie.

        Batman Begins is another one of those movies I liked enough to watch a couple times. But I see no reason to sit through it again. It’s basically necessary to set up The Dark Knight. But any time I might want to put Batman Begins on, I’ll opt for Dark Knight instead.

        I like Dark Knight Rises largely because it incorporates a lot of stuff I was reading in the 90s. But it’s kind of a mess.

        No Superman or Spiderman? Too young for Christopher Reeve I’m guessing?

        I feel your pain on that Green Lantern movie. Although I’m a Kyle Rayner man myself. I read Johns’ Green Lantern revival, but thought it was highly over-rated. That movie was just bad no matter who you like.

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        • I concur with your assessment of too much Batam. I just didn’t rate Spiderman, as much as I like Raimi (and Dunst).The simple truth is though, there has been a lot of Batmen Movies.

          No Superman…a terrible oversight, it should have been included. Reeve was fantastic. Not too young. Perhaps my memory has been ruined by the last couple of movies.

          Kyle Rayner? I normally couldn’t fault you on anything you write (and I have lurked here for a while!) but Rayner was a poor attempt by DC to grab some teenie-bopper support from Marvel. Apparently Superheroes can’t have Grey hair.
          GL was terrible. It was always going to be a hard sell, but Ryan Reynolds..my god.

          Lists are always hard. I usually only keep a top 3 of anything..that way I have no doubts.

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        • Yeah, I have a love/hate relationship with lists. There are fun. But I hate coming up with them. It’s hard for me to quantify one subjective piece of entertainment over another.

          There have been a lot of Batman movies. And Joel Schumacher aside, they are pretty consistently watchable. I didn’t even hate Batman Forever.

          I had extenuating circumstances on the Kyle Rayner thing. The timing was just right. I grew up with Hal Jordan, but mostly on the Super Friends. He had a cool costume, origin and powers. But zero personality. I didn’t read a lot of comic books. I had one GL/GA book from the late 70’s/early 80’s. All I remember is they hung out in space a lot. Hal showed up in a couple of Justice League books I had. So although I liked him a lot, I’m not sure I even knew his name other than Green Lantern.

          I gave up on comics and super heroes pretty early. Star Wars and Indiana Jones supplanted them. But the Burton Batman movies and the animated series got me interested in them again. When DC killed off Superman, I decided to walk into my first comic book shop and see what it was all about. I started reading Superman and Justice League. Knightfall got me into Batman. So Emerald Twilight was my entry into Green Lantern.

          I picked up some of the previous issues of Hal’s book in the quarter bins. They were largely terrible. Hal was so boring. The grey hair didn’t help. Every other issue, he was lecturing someone. And then there was the thing where he was having an affair with a minor in an adult’s body. (I know that got retconned.) DC had some good reasons for wanting to replace Hal with a Peter Parker every-man. As he was being written at the time, Hal was not relatable. And they had so much success with other temporary shake-ups. Why not make one permanent.

          Being a relative new comer to the comic book version of GL, I found the Corps and all of its back-story to be daunting. I know it was blasphemy to long-time GL fans. But I had no issue with throwing out all of the baggage that came from a police force of aliens with the same power. I was the same age as Kyle (early 20s, not teens) and was dealing with a lot of the same issues. We had similar sensibilities. It was catnip to a Gen Xer like me. Although I knew it wasn’t the best book on the shelves, Kyle (and Wally West) were the two characters in comics I could relate to at the time.

          Later, they stripped Kyle of everything that defined him and basically made him Hal Jordan lite. This was done before Hal’s return. I think it was an attempt to win back Hal fans. But it basically alienated Kyle fans. And Hal fans were never going to accept Kyle anyway. So all it did was pave the way for Hal’s inevitable return. Which saddened me at the time. But, you can’t argue with the success DC has had with the GL franchise since bringing Hal back.

          That movie was terrible no matter who you liked. I was glad it was Hal and not Kyle in that thing.

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        • I think we are of the same era lebeau, I got hooked on GL through a friends older brother who had the GL/Green Arrow collection, which were amazing, for a comic first timer like me.

          So I started collecting the new GL’s as they came out and you are right, by the late 80’s DC had pretty much ruined Hal Jordan, always doing this far out missions in space. I even started reading the John Stewart Mosaic series…..collected the complete run before it got canned – absolutely terrible, well they were well above my head in any case.(Incidentally, You ask any kid who watches Cartoons and doesn’t read comics, as far as they are concerned, GL is John Stewart.)
          The way HJ ended up, they had to do something dramatic to him, and they did.

          In someways it surprises me that GL is still around, DC have done a fairly good job of alienating new fans as well as old for about 30 years. Having 3 or 4 Human Green Laterns destroys the brand. I wont even mention Guy Gardner (the ’70’s Rayner?).

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        • They have done a remarkable job of rebuilding that brand. I think it helps that most of the current Hal fans probably weren’t reading his books in the 80s. Honestly, Emerald Twilight created a hunger for Hal Jordan stories that hadn’t been there for years. It was probably the best thing DC could have done for him in retrospect. I’m often critical of Geoff Johns who I think has lost all sense of how to tell a story at this point. But I have to give him credit for successful world building in the GL books. I don’t care for most of what he did, but a lot of people sure do.

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  11. Mine would definitely go:
    1) The Incredibles
    2) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
    3) Batman Begins
    4) Spider-Man
    5) X2: X-Men United
    6) Dick Tracy
    7) The Dark Knight
    8) Batman Returns
    9) Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    10) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

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    • Another good list. Dick Tracy, for me, is a comic book movie. But not a super hero movie. Probably splitting hairs. While I like the movie, it ultimately left me feeling kind of flat. Beatty’s heart just doesn’t appear to be in it. So while he creates this visually interesting world, it feels bloodless.

      I’m excited to see Batman Returns on the list. I consider it to be under-rated.

      With both Hellboy films, I enjoyed the eye candy. But felt like they were empty calories. I don’t remember very much about the sequel at all.

      Scott Pilgrim entertained the heck out of me at first. But as it dragged on through boyfriend aft boyfriend, it wore out its welcome. There’s some great stuff there. And I understand why a lot of people like it. But it was just too repetitive for me.

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  12. The Dark Knight trilogy high above the rest.

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