Pendragon’s Top 10 Best & Worst Comic Book Films

Well, the summer movies are over. Hollywood is turning more & more comics books into movies. This summer alone we’ve have had 5 movies based on comics book. So thinking […]

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Well, the summer movies are over.

Hollywood is turning more & more comics books into movies. This summer alone we’ve have had 5 movies based on comics book. So thinking about a previous article I wrote, “How To Enjoy A Comic Book Movie“, I started thinking about what are my top 10 best and worst comic book films, not including this summer’s films.

This is what I came up with:

The Worst:

  1. JONAH HEX – How can anyone make a bad Western? Just have geniuses at Warner try and make it a Comic Book movie. Jonah Hex should have just been a straightforward Western, but somehow they decided to add a supernatural element to the character. I guess it was too comic book like for them. Of course it would have helped if they read the damn Jonah Hex comic book. They should have just kept it as a simple Western
  2. SUPERMAN RETURNS – For a guy who did an excellent job on the X-MEN films, he really dropped the ball on SUPERMAN RETURNS. The big problem was, instead of Bryan Singer making the film his own, he was trying to be Richard Donner, right down to the acting. Poor Brandon Routh got a bad rap with this film. He was stuck playing Christopher Reeves playing Clark Kent/Superman. And then there was the entire dark tone to the film. This is Superman, not Batman. The cinematography should have been brighter.
  3. LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN – It’s films like this that make me understand why writer Alan Moore hates Hollywood. This film is just nowhere close to the original comic. All the characters are just off. And the director decides to add other characters that weren’t even in the books. Just such a train wreck.
  4. SIN CITY – Sin City was a great book series, but the translation just didn’t work as well for me. The movie was verbatim from the books and that make it hard to enjoy. It was panel to panel on the screen. The acting flat and the pacing was slow. A friend on mine, who didn’t read the books, felt the same way.
  5. WATCHMEN – And yet another reason for Alan Moore to hate Hollywood. I’ve heard so many people say how this is the comic book film. It isn’t. Zack Synder’s over the top visual totally took away the point of the book. That costumed heroes are just as flawed as regular people. I never seen people take so many beating & still be OK. Synder’s visual style just didn’t work on this film. It should have been shot straight & ground in reality, the way Christopher Nolan does Batman. This was supposed to be THE comic to make into film, but what we got was a slap in the face.
  6. THE SPIRIT – This one is personal for me, as I’m such a big fan of the character. I want writer/artist/director Frank Miller beaten for screwing THE SPIRIT up. Miller was good friends with Spirit creator, and comic legend, Will Eisner. And if you read the book EISNER/MILLER, supposedly Frank Miller seems to get Eisner’s Spirit. So what the hell happened? What happened is Miller’s ego got in the way & he thought he could be the only one to do the Spirit on the big screen (though he never directed a film before). After seeing the final result, Will Eisner is turning over in his grave.
  7. CATWOMAN – Wow! Do I even need to go into why this film was so bad? The character wasn’t even close to the comic book. They only shared the same name. This turkey won 7 Golden Raspberry awards for worst picture of the year. Hell, even star Hallie Berry said the following on accepting the Golden Raspberry: “First of all I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of shit, God-awful movie . . . It was just what my career needed.” Another case of the brain trust known as studio execs thinking they know what a good comic book movie is.
  8. PUNISHER: WAR ZONE – Over the top violence and gore, and a lame plot, just made this film just plain painful. Ray Stevenson’s performance of the Punisher was just plain flat. And then on the other extreme, you got Dominic West’s villainous Jigsaw way over the top. Honestly, just horrible.
  9. FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER – As bad as FANTASTIC FOUR was, it’s sequel RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER was 10 times worse. Let me just say on this one, all us Fanboys were looking forward to seeing Galactus on film. What we got was something that looked like that stupid fog monster on LOST. Disappointing to say the least. The script felt like it was written when the comic first came out in the 1960’s.
  10. BATMAN – Yeah, scream at me all you want Fanboys, but Tim Burton’s Batman just plain sucked. While it was dark, it was too dark & cartoonish at the same time. And then there’s the fact that Batman was the secondary character. I know it could be argued that a hero is only as good as his/her villains, but c’mon. Burton offers no explanation why a man would dress in a bat costume and fight crime. Plus it set the tone for the entire franchise, which led us to rubber nipples. Horrible. Just plain horrible.

The Best:

  1. IRON MAN – This film was just amazing. Robert Downey Jr just nailed Tony Stark, and yet made him his own at the same time. Half the scenes seemed like Downey was improving his lines, and it worked! Amazing special effects, great acting, and a strong plot really made the film. The film pretty much made Iron Man more of a household name. Plus, the best part, it was the start of Marvel cinematic universe.
  2. THE DARK KNIGHT – As much as I loved BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT is the better film. Christian Bale once again rocks the bat, but it was Heath Ledger’s Joker that totally stole the show. Ledger’s version was one of the closest to the books. And it had a great supporting cast.
  3. DAREDEVIL – Bite me on this one fanboys, but DAREDEVIL was a great film. I thought that Ben Affleck was just plain perfect. I think why some comic fans didn’t truly enjoy this film, is they wanted the hard core Frank Miller version, but I thought perfect blend of the character.
  4. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT – This was a lesser known comic book, but still a great translation from page to screen. Not only did it show vampires in a non-romantic role, but made them animalistic. The pacing was great, and kept you on the edge of your seat.
  5. WHITEOUT – Another lesser known comic book, but again, another great translation. Kate Beckinsale really brings her “A” game to this thriller. It kept you guess right up until the end of the film.
  6. THE ROCKETEER – This was directed by CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER director Joe Johnson. While the first version did loose some of the “pulp” feeling the comic had, it was a fun movie. Billy Campbell does a great job as the reluctant hero.
  7. SPIDER-MAN – Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN franchise really started out strong. It had a strong cast, and a good pacing story. Willem Dafoe is at the top of his game as the Green Goblin, and Toby McGuire was great as Spider-Man. You just gotta ask yourself what the heck happened with Spider-Man 3
  8. V FOR VENDETTA -I know I already bashed 2 other Alan Moore stories that were films, but I truly enjoyed this translation. The book was very multi-layered, but I thought James McTeigue brought the tone of the book to the screen. I’m still mixed on how I feel about Natalie Portman, but thought Hugo Weaving was plain amazing.
  9. X-MEN – The X-MEN film was really groundbreaking. Comic book movies were getting more cheesy and just plain awful. Then Bryan Singer brought these characters to the big screen, and really started the ball rolling to put better production costs into comic book movies. The main story centered around Wolverine, but you still had a sense of an ensemble piece.
  10. THE CROW – I love this film, but at the same time it really makes me sad. It was a tragic accident that start Brandon Lee was killed on the set. But regardless, there’s a strong similarity and familiarity between the book and the movie.

Now there are plenty more good and bad films I’m missing, but these are the ones that really jump out at me.

And now seeing how well X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER did at the box office, I can’t wait for next summer with the release of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and THE AVENGERS.

Brian Isaacs
Executive Editor/Publisher

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.