Last month I did a post called MY 5 FAVORITE SUPERHERO MOVIES THAT WERE NOT BASED ON COMIC-BOOKS, and I thought this would be a good follow-up.
I don’t think I’d ever heard of this character before I saw this movie. But when I saw it, I was blown away, and I went to look up all the comics I could find about him (which are, sadly, not enough IMO). Wesley Snipes, who also produced the film, clearly had a love for the character which really shines through the whole film. While it’s true that Blade is pretty one-dimensional, I thought Kris Kristopherson brought some needed heart to the film in his role as Blade’s mentor, Whistler, and Stephen Dorff was delightfully evil as the Vampire villan, Deacon Frost. It almost seems all but forgotten now, but it could convincingly argued that this is the film that really kicked-started the beginning of this wave of superhero movies that we’ve been seeing in that past decade+, as it was soon followed by the X-Men and Spider-Man films. Speaking of which…
Actually, I should call this one a tie between X-Men and X2, since I do think that X2 is the superior film but it really only works if you’ve seen X-Men first so, in a sense, X2 doesn’t stand on it’s own. But, anyway, I loved this one. The stakes were higher, we got to see more characters, and it really explored the complex relationship between Prof. X and Magneto, which is the true heart of the X-Men’s story. That’s what the concept of the X-Men is really all about, defining the difference between the philosophical approach between these two men and how each believes they are doing the best thing for their community. In many ways it has been compared to the conflict between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (Prof. X) and Malcolm X (Magneto), which I think is a great way to look @ it. Although the underlying theme of mutants as a group fighting for their rights can be compared not only to the civil rights struggles of Blacks, but also other ethnic groups, religious groups, and well as the GLBT community, not to mention anyone who ever felt like they’ve been picked on and made to feel like they didn’t belong in society, which is why I think the X-Men have been such a popular comic-book creation for over 30 years now. Most readers can identify with them.
Plus this movie had lots of bad-ass action scenes with Wolverine.
I always loved Spider-Man, and Toby Maguire did an excellent job in his role as Peter Parker. I thought the effects in this film, they had him jumping around, walking on walls, and swinging on his webs, were excellent. The man things I have to deduct points for in this film is that I didn’t like Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, and the Green Goblin’s mask looked stupid (but, otherwise, Willem Dafoe was perfect).
I seem to be the only comic-book fan who was not that thrilled with The Dark Knight. It was good, and Heath Ledger was great as The Joker, but overall I enjoyed Batman Begins much more. Christian Bale is absolutely perfect as Bruce Wayne/Batman, as are pretty much all of the rest of the cast (except for Katie Holmes, who was the only weak link in the film). What I like most about it was that in showing Bruce’s training, and what he went through to become Batman, it showed that HE is a badass. The problem with previous slate of Batman films was that it almost made it seem like he was more like Iron Man, as if Bruce Wayne is just some regular guy until he puts on the Batman suit and then he can do all this cool stuff. But, no, Bruce Wayne only wears the costume so that no one knows who he is, and so that it will scare criminals, but even without the body armor and fancy gadgets he’s still The Greatest Fighter In The World. So I liked that aspect, and the fact that they even made it all seem sort of realistic. It almost didn’t feel like a “superhero” movie, in the strictest sense, it just seemed like a good action movie where the lead character just happened to put on a costume. So it really worked for me.
This movie remains the best, so far. I honestly can’t think of one single thing I’d change about this film. I liked the story, and the entire cast was perfect. And that goes double for Robert Downey Jr. When I saw him on screen, it was if I was literally seeing the character step out of a comic-book and come to life. The Tony Stark that I’d been reading in comics for years was real! That’s how I felt when watching this. Unfortunately, the sequel suffered from the typical superhero sequel problem: adding too many villains and extra characters, plus I think that while Iron Man was clearly just made with the intention of trying to make a good movie, Iron Man 2 was made with the intention of trying to build a “Marvel Universe” in the movies to lead up to an eventual Avengers movie. Black Widow, for example, had no real need to be in that film. Hopefully now that that’s out of the way, they’ll be able to just make Iron Man 3 another good film on it’s own. But, for now, I’m leaving the first film in my #1 spot.
Of course, that very well could change when the Avengers movie is released next month. It is looking REALLY good.