Today The Dark Knight Rises (read our review) arrives in UK, U.S and Irish cinemas, the long wait is over when Christopher Nolan completes his trilogy and we can finally see what he means with ‘Legend Ends’. The past 5-10 years Hollywood’s films have been dominating our local cinemas, multiplexes alot not worth your hard earned cash, some okay in our new feature we look at ten of the best comic book films. Some you may agree with some you won’t love to know your favourites.
1. Sin City (2005, directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino)
Robert Rodrigeuz masterfully translates (not adapts) Frank Miller’s noir city of hookers, psychos, cigarette smoke and late nights. I remember before the film came out I read all of the graphic novels feverishly when included getting them banned from school. The film literally looks like a comic book which no other film has came close to yet and probably won’t till the much delayed “Sin City 2” (which was finally announced recently). The acting is superb across the board with Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen (the new Bogart in my opinion) and the always wonderful Powers Boothe as standouts. The film made you feel like you were in the city for it’s running time. It always shows how you make a stunning looking film for a fraction of the budget of the latest dc/marvel film. It also made go out and buy some red Converse all-stars.
Sin City Trailer 2 Published via LongTail.tv
2. A History of Violence (2005, directed by David Croenberg)
Often forgotten as a comic book film but it is. It’s based off the book by John Wagner and Vince Locke. It differs quite a bit from the original, the original deals a lot more with Tom’s background and his falling out with the mob and told a lot in flashback which the film cuts entirety (similar to what happened with Drive) and names are changed. Like “Sin City” it’s a great piece of pulp filmmaking. It’s a truly remarkable film and still packs a punch all of these years later (I recently rewatched it). Viggo Mortensen gives a extremely powerful performance as man who’s past comes back to haunt after he has settled down and is raising his family in the small town Millbrook, Indiana.
A History Of Violence (2005) – Official Trailer Published via LongTail.tv
3. Hellboy / Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2004, 2008, directed by Guillermo Del Toro)
Ron Perlman after 20 years + finally lands a lead role as everyone’s wise cracking pancake loving demon who fights paranormal activity. Guillermo Del Toro who previous dabbled with comic book films with the best of the Blade films, makes a very personal warmed heart film based of Mike Mignola’s wonderful graphic novel. Ron Perlman has rarely been better. It’s vividly shot and designed to a inch of it’s life. It’s eye porn for fans of paranormal weird shit with references to nazis, bigfoot and other stuff. Great supporting cast as well. The sequel is as good as the first film as well and makes a slightly darker tone like all good sequels like “Empire Strikes Back”.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army Official Trailer #2 – Ron Perlman Movie (2008) HD Published via LongTail.tv
4. Ghost World (2001, directed by Terry Zwigoff)
Daniel Clowes’ punk rock graphic novel comes to life by Terry Zwigoff (who previously directed “Crumb”). Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch play Enid and Rebecca. High school friends who has recently have graduated. They slowly grow up and become more distant from each other over the space of the summer. Enid meets Seymour (played by the always great Steve Buscemi) a lonely man who loves old R&B and becomes obsessed by him. It’s a every quotable film with lines that have leaked into my daily speak.
Ghost World Official Trailer Published via LongTail.tv
5. Batman Begins / The Dark Knight (directed by Christopher Nolan, 2005 / 2008)
Christopher Nolan reinvented the Batman after the disastrous Joel Schmacher films. Nolan brought the Bat much more into a believable world without the camp of Schmacher or the expressionism of Burton. Christian Bale is probably the best Batman on screen even though I will always have a soft spot for Keaton (who doesn’t have that at times annoying Bale Batman voice). The films were almost likes 150,000,000 art house films and it includes great ensemble casts. They really showed a lot people than the superhero film can be an art form.
The Dark Knight Trailer HD – Official Trailer Published via LongTail.tv
6. Mystery Men (directed by Kinka Usher, 1999)
Kinka Usher directed this sadly overlooked film about useless wantabe superheros. He seems to have drifted off the map after the box-office failure of this film and hasn’t made anything since. The film is absolutely hilarious with the failure of this rag time team of powerless superheroes like The Spleen (Paul Reubens), Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), Shoveler (William H. Macy) and the Blue Raja (Hank Azaria). The film was most a cast of then independent character actors and the lack of then star name probably didn’t help the box-office even though many of the film’s actor’s have went onto great success. It’s a hilarious forgotten gem of a film.
Mystery Men Official Trailer #1 – Ben Stiller Movie (1999) HD Published via LongTail.tv
7. V For Vendetta (directed by James McTeigue, 2006)
Alan Moore wanted no connection to this film however with the expectation of “Watchmen” (I prefer V) it’s one of the closest adaptations of his work . It’s a now standard reimagining of Orwell’s 1984, it’s the not the best cause that’s Gilliam’s nightmarish “Brazil”. However it’s a very well made and entertaining popcorn version which some good performances and some great effects and a very topical story about a freedom fighter.
v for vendetta trailer Published via LongTail.tv
8. Art School Confidential (directed by Terry Zwigoff, 2006)
This one arguably doesn’t count, it’s based off a panel from a issue of “Eightball” by “Ghost World’s” Daniel Clowes. Terry Zwigoff who also did the previous adaptation directs it. It’s a really brutally hilarious film especially if you’ve ever done an arts course.
“Art School Confidential” (2006) Theatrical Trailer Published via LongTail.tv
I’ve never read the comic of “Kick-Ass”, I hear it’s quite good. “Kick-Ass” is kinda like a adult version of kids film and it’s pretty awesome. Chloe Grace Mortez is awesome as the controversial character of Hit-Girl. It’s a very hard film not to like and Nicolas Cage plays her father and reminds us he can act. It’s a bloody, profanity-laded piece of great big budget trashy filmmaking
Kick Ass UK Teaser Trailer Published via LongTail.tv
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (directed by Steve Barron, 1990)
One of the earliest successful comic book adaptations. It’s the only Ninja Turtles film to come remotely close to the darker origins of the source material. The film was criticized by some critics for being too violent for kids but many based their views on the tv show rather than the comic. Shredder is extremely menacing as the villain much more so than in later versions. It’s overall really well done and I wish they kept the darker tone with the sequels rather than having Vanilla Ice in the sequel. The film also includes early performances by Sam Rockwell and Elias Koteas.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer Published via LongTail.tv