Holding Out For A Hero: The Top Ten Comic-Book Adaptations


Summer’s here and all the blockbuster epics with MEGA-LOUD soundtracks are back. Recently, it’s been all about the superheroes: the good (Iron Man), the bad (Fantastic Four) and the butt-ugly (Hulk). With Iron Man 2 blasting onto screens amid high expectations, I’m getting my geek on and taking a look at my personal top ten comic-book flicks.

At number ten, The Crow. Yes, the ultimate Goth movie is from a comic-book. A bloody downer of one as well, I’d imagine. Brandon Lee, tragically killed during filming, is excellent as the murdered Eric Draven, returning from the dead to avenge his and his fiancée’s death. It’s moody, violent and brilliant. A cult hit.

It’s a brave guy who makes a film where the lead is the son of Satan, brought to Earth by Russians and Nazis in World War 2 but Hellboy just works. As bizarrely beautiful as Pan’s Labyrinth, killer one-liners and exciting set-pieces, the film is an underrated gem. The sequel’s pretty hot as well (pun entirely intended).

Superman 2 at eight, demonstrating that, once powers and relationships are set up the good guys can really do their thing. And what better way than against THREE villains? Showing the recent sequels exactly how to handle multiple villains and providing a believable relationship between Clark and Lois, the film is a blueprint for all comic-book sequels.

Batman Returns is my pick of the Burton-saga purely based on the villains. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Keaton is brilliant as the chiroptophobe (afraid of bats, fact fans), arguably the best one, but Pfeiffer oozes sex as Catwoman and Danny DeVito’s Penguin gave me nightmares. My nose clenches just thinking about it. Yes, it can do that.

Spiderman was good but Spiderman 2 blows it out the water. Spidey faces issues from Doc Octopus and his immense metal limbs. Sounds lame. Is, in fact, genius. Again, clever casting and pulsating action– a wonderful train-top battle – make it a must-see.

Three reasons why Blade 2’s at 5: Wesley Snipes as a vampire, Kris Kristofferson as a vigilante and Bros’ Luke Goss as a villain. Oh yes please. The violence is brutal but the style is perfect. The first is good, the third is trashy but this is the one to remind you that Snipes could kick anyone’s ass in his day. Except maybe the taxman’s…

It takes a shrewd man to take something iron and turn it into gold (boom boom) but Jon Favreau did just that. Of course, having an exuberant Robert Downey Jr as your lead, king-of-cool Jeff Bridges as a bloke called Obadiah and Gwynnie as Pepper Potts (for the love of God) helps. Iron Man is contemporary, lighter than the current crop and bloody good fun.

X2 again illustrates the leeway of a sequel, balancing moral dilemmas with Wolverine going medieval on everyone’s ass in thrilling set-pieces. The opening scene is one of the finest openings to any film let alone on this list. Just ignore the third one. It never happened.

Just missing out on number one is Superman. The late Christopher Reeves was perfect casting for the Man of Steel, making tights manly and every girl swoon. The plot’s exciting and, for once, the girl isn’t irritating. As Lois Lane, Margot Kidder oozes sass, relishing the chance to say one of cinema’s greatest lines of dialogue whilst flying in the man’s arms: “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?!” A classic.

Ok, so no surprises that top banana is The Dark Knight. Following Batman Begins was never going to be easy but Nolan made this seem like child’s play. An unbelievably tense, thrilling and real story for the Bat, TDK features a tour-de-force in acting from the late Heath Ledge as the Joker. Combine that with the performances of every other cast-member, sadistic humour and clever action sequences, TDK is the most bold and brilliant superhero movie yet.

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