Monday, March 28, 2016

Man To Man

With a new Batman/Superman movie opening, The Hollywood Reporter had a piece ranking all the old Batman movies (not including the serials).  I'm not a big fan of most of them, so I don't feel too strongly about the list.  Anyway, here it is top to bottom:

1.   The Dark Knight (2008)
2.   Batman Begins (2005)
3.   Batman Returns (1992)
4.   The Dark Knights Rises (2012)
5.   Batman (1989)
6.   Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)
7.   Batman: The Movie (1966)
8.   Batman: Dead End (2003)
9.   Robin's Big Date (2005)
10. Batman Forever (1995)
11. Batman & Robin (1997)
12. Catwoman (2004)

A few observations.

First, a lot more love for Christopher Nolan than Tim Burton.  I guess that's fair, though I imagine Burton has his supporters--and without his revitalizing the title, Nolan may have never had his crack at it.

So The Dark Knight comes first on the list.  But while it does have the very memorable Heath Ledger Joker, it's also too long and has plot problems.  I prefer Batman Begins.

Batman Returns beats Batman.  I don't love either, but the whole concept and look that brought the franchise to life was invented in Batman. Batman Returns just copies it, mostly.  I like Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, but she doesn't make the rest of the movie any better.

Numbers 8 and 9 are quirky shorts--I don't think they should be on this list.  Were they added to puff it up a bit?

Next there was a follow-up piece on Superman movies.  Here's that list:

1.  Superman (1978)
2.  Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980/2006)
3.  Superman II (1980)
4.  Man Of Steel (2013)
5.  Superman Returns (2006)
6.  Superman And The Mole Men (1951)
7.  Supergirl (1984)
8.  Superman III (1983)
9.  Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

It gets one thing right--the only good Superman films are the first two with Christopher Reeve.  The original Superman is probably the most powerful, though it's all over the place--the sci-fi Krypton story, the heartland origin tale, the romance at the Daily Planet, the farcical comedy surrounding Lex Luthor and the action which takes over at the (bizarre) end.

Superman II as originally released is more coherent than I, generally playing as a romantic comedy with (not the greatest) action sequences.  The Donner cut is fascinating, making the first two films (which were planned together) more consistent.  I don't know if it's better, however.

Everything else has been a mess.  The third film with Reeve has moments, but is part Richard Pryor film, which just doesn't work--though I'd still take it over the recent Superman films.  The fourth is a message film with bad action, bad everything--it probably deserves to be at the bottom.

Man Of Steel is just the wrong take on the story.  It's a reboot, but nothing's fun about it--it's trying to turn Superman into the Dark Knight.  Unfortunately, it's the Superman we're stuck with right now.  Superman Returns has a lighter tone but a disastrous story line.  The Mole Men movie really isn't comparable to the rest.  Supergirl was a missed opportunity.

Finally, here's a list of all 35 DC comics movies rated.  The Dark Knight beats Superman for #1.  I would flip that.  The only non-Batman/ Superman films in the top 10 are A History Of Violence at #5 (you don't generally think of that as being DC) and The Lego Movie at #10 (though that arguably is a Batman movie).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam West and a bunch of phonies

9:20 AM, March 28, 2016  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I like Man of Steel, with the major excetion of Kevin Kostner's role as Dad Kent. I know it is darker, but it's also a bit more realistic, for something so unrealistic. I feel like Zod is much better (not just a cartoon tyrant), and generally, superhero films are defined by the quality of their villains. This is why The Dark Knight is the best Batman movie, and imho the first Batman with Jack Nicholson's Joker is the second best.

9:35 AM, March 28, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Man Of Steel has fans, but not me. I've gone into detail in the past, but, among other things, beyond Pa Kent, is a weak Lois Lane (and a bad relationship with her), a meandering story line, and a ridiculous ending where we find out Superman could have ended the whole thing easily at any time.

9:54 AM, March 28, 2016  
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