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March 08 2006

X3 cast argue over the themes of the 'Astonishing X-Men' inspired script of new film at interview roundtable. Many compliments about the script too. I wonder if any of Joss' dialogue survived...

First off, i thought the X3 trailer was amazing. It is easily my most anticipated film of the year. Now, on to this topic.

I really liked the fact that the actors care so much. I love that they debate the script, issues the script raises, that they really get into it. To me, that is one thing that i always consider when making early assumptions on movies or shows. If the people who are making the movie really care about what they are doing, then i have more respect for the movie. Even if the movie ends up being poorly made or acted, the fact that they cared about it when they were making it always gets it a few extra points.
When it comes to movies where the people making them didn't care, i find it hard to see why i should care. I was iffy when i heard Brett Ratner was directing. I don't think he's a bad director, just that Bryan Singer is better for the X-Men franchise. Sidenote, Singer has earned himself a black mark next to his name in my book. He abandoned X3 to go to Superman (a character who has had plenty of movies and shows about him, what has X-Men had aside from the cartoons?) Singer went on and on in commentaries and interviews for X-Men about how much he loved these characters etc and then he just left them hanging to go do Superman Returns. I have lost my original point and have made myself a little angry, so take away from this what you will.
I think the actual topic is the plot arc of the first six issues of Astonishing X-Men adapted for X3 and hence discussed by the cast.
Here's a longer version of the Q&A which the sci-fi wire article summarises.

I think the cure idea that Joss came up with (I assume it was him anyway and not some directive from on-high) has a lot of potential for drama ranging from kind of uncaring (e.g. Wolverine) to those you could really understand being tempted (e.g. Beast). That said, Wolverine would die without his mutant power if I remember correctly (because of his artificial adamantium skeleton poisoning him) so maybe he should care a bit more ;).

It's really good to see the cast taking their roles seriously as well, even the veteran thesps, and being aware of the issues behind the X rather than just dismissing them as comic book caricatures. Brett Ratner's comments about wanting to maintain the tone of the previous two films are also reassuring (I had worried that he might Schumacher the X-Men franchise).

And now that i've seen the full trailer, i'm looking forward to X3 much more than I was previously tho' I guess i'm still keener on Superman Returns (kind of a DC kid at heart ;).
I also saw the trailer last night, and even though I never do this, I'm gonna quote George Costanza--"Kickin' it up a notch!"

The one issue I have, is that from the trailer, it looks like there's a lot going on. Maybe too much. A lot of characters, the cure plot, the Phoenix plot (the only X-Men arc I read in its entirety, btw), the war. Whether all of those things are appropriately juggled in the final film remains to be seen. But I enjoyed the other two Xs (and not because of Bryan Singer).

And I think when you get good actors, you're gonna get people who realize what a story's trying to say. But then again, the X-Men stories are pretty obvious in their messages, regardless of script quality, so...who knows if they're just spewing good PR or not?

Slightly off-topic, isn't "Superman Returns" just kind of a rehash of the origin story in the original film? (I swear I heard Brando's voice in the trailer) Or am I wrong? And if so, why should I go see it?

[ edited by pat32082 on 2006-03-08 14:19 ]
Still not over my disappointment that Joss isn't writing/directing X3 - but I guess he really can't do everything ;-)
"Superman Returns" is NOT an origin rehash. It's a continuation of "Superman I" and "II." And since it's directed by Bryan Singer, it's clearly the movie I'm most looking forward to this summer.

[ edited by bobtaylor on 2006-03-08 15:38 ]

[ edited by bobtaylor on 2006-03-08 15:38 ]
Seeing them talk like that is awesome. Those are the kind of conversations that used to only happen in a comic book store.

Unless I find out Uwe Boll had a hand in making this I don't care what anyone says, I'm still excited to see it.
pat32082 I'm going to refrain from saying 'Because it's frikkin Superman, FFS' ;). The basic story is apparently that 'Superman Returns' to Earth after a several year absence to find that the world has moved on and he may no longer fit in it (even to the extent he did before). I guess it kind of parallels questions comics readers have asked themselves for a while i.e. 'Is there room in the 21st century for a hero as clean-cut, morally unambiguous and generally do-goody as Superman ?' so definitely not an origin rehash (which I think is a good idea since a) it avoids the normally slower pace of an origin story and b) it gives due props to the first films - Superman 1 probably still being my third favourite comic book movie, depending, as these things do for me, on planetary alignment, barometric pressure and what side of bed I got out of on the particular day i'm asked ;).

Re: PR fluff, well maybe but i'm reminded of some stuff Christian Bale said on one of his press junkets for Batman Begins to the effect that 'Bruce Wayne is the mask' and I thought at the time, a bit cynically, that this might have been a sop for the fans or part of a briefing but he then went on to say that, despite contrary opinions, he thought Bruce Wayne did have a super power and that it was his huge (basically limitless) wealth. This, I thought, was kind of insightful and signalled to me that he'd actually thought about the character a bit beyond 'Remember the ears. Must duck when walking through doors'. This X-Men Q&A has that kind of feel to it (to me anyway, YMMV).

BTW, another great aspect of the release of 'Superman Returns' is that timed (I think) to coincide, they're finally releasing the almost mythical Richard Donner cut of Superman 2 on DVD which should be interesting to see.
I love Joss like few others love Joss (and in a quite different way from how his wife loves him, thank you very much) but there's something that annoys me to no end:

Joss... did not... come up with the mutant cure idea!

Past writers like Chris Claremont, Steven T. Seagle, even the gorram nineties cartoon all dealt with similar ideas.

I know that, reportedly, the writers and the director looked at Joss's story for the movies, but they looked at a great many stories, and beyond the idea of the mutant cure, I don't know of anything that was supposed to be taken from 'Gifted'.

Rant over, standard not-directed-at-anyone-specific-so-no-offense disclaimer.

(And Joss or not, I am greatly looking forward to X3--I was honestly out of breath by the end of the new trailer.) :-)
Ah, spot the non-X-men reader (apart from Astonishing) *sheepishly holds hand up* ;). Thanks for the correction Telltale.
Saje, if you don't read X-Men, you can hardly be expected to know--what gets on my nerves is the everyone talks about the cure as if it were Joss's unique idea (even people who should know better). It's why this thread was posted here in the first place.
Dude, I've watched the trailor for X3 like 12 times OnDemand. I'm on pins and needles for all the summer sci-fi blockbusters; my favorite time of year.
Shohreh Aghdashloo plays Dr. Kavita Rao a character I believe Joss created for "Gifted" which leads me to believe perhaps it's Joss' version of the mutant cure theme that is utilized in X3. Isn't there also an article linked here in Whedonesque in which Joss comments on the use of his idea/character in X3? I remember reading an article like that.
Wasn't it Richard Lester not Richard Donner who directed SUPERMAN II?
Donner shot Superman 1 and 2 more or less back to back but was then pulled off of 2 and Richard Lester put in to finish it (there was some big disagreement between Donner and the Salkind family).

Here's a little article about the restoration (which isn't actually by Donner but a former assistant of his who's now an editor so tho' it uses his footage I guess it's a bit grey as to whether it's actually Donner's 'cut').
Superman and Superman II were made at the same time, but then Superman II was put on hold in order to get the first film finished. Donner was then fired. At this point around 75% of Superman II had been completed.

Lester was brought on board, but if he had just completed the remainder of Superman II then he would not have been credited as director. In order to be credited as the sole director, more than 50% of the completed film had to have been directed by him. Thus much (or rather just enough) of the Donner-directed portion was re-shot by Lester.

Hope that clears things up.
On the topic of the debate, I think I'm with Jackman on it. The most interesting character of the lot is Rogue.

Although she's extremely powerful, she one of the few for whome the mutant powers interfere with her natural feminine desires... to be intimate, and to have children. (I mean, there's always the full-body condom, but I'm not sure how Iceman would feel about that...)
Rogue is sort of like an AIDS victim, so a cure for her might be appealing; but who would want to get rid of the powers Magneto or Storm have?
The topic in question, whether or not a mutant needs to be cured, is a topic that we geeks were arguing twenty some odd years ago when we read comic books like X-Men and New Mutants and the like. The fact the likes of McKellen, Berry, and Jackman can so easily drift into that during a press briefing or 'round table' shows just how mainstream the underlining themes of Marvel comics have become. This is what good scifi does: it makes you think, it stirs up controversy, it opens up for debate entirely new frontiers of thought and consequence. If you look at Serenity, essentially Joss Whedon was saying the same thing. No government entity should become a benevolent overlord and force or even persuade its subjects that it can make them 'better' EVEN IF THEY'RE RIGHT. Because every living being has an inalienable right to BE WRONG.

And what IS normal anyway? That was always my favorite tangent in these debatey geek fests. What constitues normal for a benevolent dictatorship parading itself as a corporate oligarchy parading itself as a democratic republic is not going to be normal to, y'know, someone named Bob who just is Bob with no pretentious connotations or narcisistic manipulation of facts.

Whedon went there with Blue Sun and he went there with X-Men. If he doesn't get some kind of writing credit for the film, I for one will be very put out. I mean if they're lifting this plot arc directly from Astonishing X-Men that'll be upsetting if they don't at least tip their hat to him in the credits. However, Whedon's plot arc probably was lifting concepts and ideas addressed previously in X-Men from Stan Lee to Chris Claremont to Grant Morrison, et. al... In 1982, Chris Claremont pointed out that "The X-Men are hated, feared and despised collectively by humanity for no other reason than that they are mutants. So what we have here, intended or not, is a book that is about racism, bigotry and prejudice..." The more things change the more they stay the same.

Dhoffryn: "Bryan Singer is better for the X-Men franchise..."

Not so much. First, it's a compliment to Singer that the money behind these films wants him to help the restart of the Supes film franchise. It means they acknowledge that he's one of very few people in recent years to successfully launch a comic source franchise. (the other being Sam Raimi for Spider-Man) and they want Superman to be done up right. However, I don't think Singer is required to keep X-Men on the straight and narrow. In fact I had thought with 2 he pretty much shot his wad, metaphorically speaking. Time to let someone else have a go.
He abandoned X3 to go to Superman (a character who has had plenty of movies and shows about him, what has X-Men had aside from the cartoons?) Singer went on and on in commentaries and interviews for X-Men about how much he loved these characters etc and then he just left them hanging to go do Superman Returns. I have lost my original point and have made myself a little angry, so take away from this what you will.

According to and other movie websites, Bryan Singer really wanted to do X3, but 20th Century Fox strung him along and wouldn't renew his contract with them right away. His contract should have been worked out a couple of weeks after X-men 2 was released and proved to be such a huge success. Instead a year later he still didn't have a contract with Fox and there was still a number of lingering questions what was going to happen with X3. Then Warner Brothers offered him Superman and he was left with the choice of doing a sure thing with Superman or take a risk with X-men, hoping that Fox wasn't going to bring in a new director for X3.

Plus, since he's a big fan of Superman, I can't exactly blame him for taking on that project.

Back to the main subject, it's cool to hear the actors are that passionate about the themes in X-Men 3, but from what I've heard about it I still fear that it's going to be a train-wreck of a movie. It's too bad Fox wouldn't let up on the release date, as I think Joss' take on it would have likely been quite incredible compared to Brent Ratners.
The cast discussion is terrific, and does get me excited about the movie. But was I the only one who was a little disappointed with the trailer? As pat32082 mentioned, it's a little busy. Too many quick cuts, story all over the place, and it all sounds a little, well, familiar: the stern Magneto voiceover, the norms taking steps, the mutants having to step up to the plate - yadda yadda, frankly. I'd like to have seen a very narrow focus on one plot thread, and a more sustained camera on various characters.

But, obviously, I'm there at the theatre come the opening.
However, I don't think Singer is required to keep X-Men on the straight and narrow. In fact I had thought with 2 he pretty much shot his wad, metaphorically speaking. Time to let someone else have a go.

Personally, I felt like Bryan Singer was just warming up and setting things up to tell the Dark Phoenix saga story, which has now unfortunately, has apparently become just a sub-plot in the new movie. In interviews with Bryan Singer and the X2 production art, there were all sorts of cool ideas of things he wanted to do but for either story reasons or budget reasons was leaving for X3. Even if X3 turns out to be an incredible movie, there will always be a question of what X3 would have been like if Singer stayed on the project to finish up his trilogy.

I mean if they're lifting this plot arc directly from Astonishing X-Men that'll be upsetting if they don't at least tip their hat to him in the credits.

Well, then you are likely to be upset, because these days they only give the original creators of the characters credits. Example Batman Begins was the combination of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, Jeph Loeb's Long Halloween and some other Batman titles that I forget at the moment, but none of them got any credit. However, to DC's credit they apparently gave some money to these writers for writing stories that contributed to Batman Begins. Marvel on the other hand as far as I know doesn't pay any of the writers or even the original creators. Stan Lee gets paid, but only because of a contract he has with Marvel, not because they are using his stories as the backbone to these movies. Unfortunately, that's the way work-for-hire contracts work and Joss isn't likely to get credit or paid for them using his story arc, any more than any other comic book writer.
But was I the only one who was a little disappointed with the trailer?

Nope, I was a little disappointed as well. Plus I have the third-intallment skepticism – meaning that while a sequel is occasionally good and in some cases better (X2, Spiderman 2, The Godfather II, etc), it's SO rare for a third outing to live up to that same level. And then there's Brett Ratner...
I, too, will definitely be at the theater to check it out. I just find it sometimes helps not to get my hopes too high beforehand :-)
I have no interest whatsoever in Superman Returns. It's superfluous, looks horrid, and sounds awful. It's a shame that Kevin Spacey and Eva Marie Saint are in it. ...Then again, I was saying the same about the Kong remake, and no one else agreed.

But X-Men 3, on the other hand, sounds brilliant and has better characters (to take a cue from a certain gentleman named Bill: "It's not a very good comic book; not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology is fascinating."). This article just makes me more excited about the conclusion to my favorite mutant group's onscreen story.
First, I've bashed Brett Ratner along the way, but I think both trailers look pretty good. Now, you can have a good trailer for a bad movie (e.g. The Phantom Menace), but at this point I'm willing to give Ratner the benefit of the doubt and go see X3 with an open mind.

Second, as others have pointed out, this script is explicitly based on Joss' version of the cure storyline, Dr. Rao included. So while others naturally have explored it before, it is Joss' story that inspired part of this movie, if only because it's the most recent cure story.

Third, the actual topic. I think Ian McKellen was too quick to dismiss Hugh Jackman's suggestion that Rogue may be right to want a cure. I think it's natural for him to approach the issue as a gay man and be disgusted at the idea of a "cure" for homosexuality. But I think it's different with the X-Men, because each one has completely different mutations/powers, so the issue becomes larger than homosexuality or race.

Some people are born with a severe aversion to sunlight, so they can't go outside without covering everything up (I'm sure there's a name for the condition, but I don't know it). Should a cure exist for them, or should they (and others) accept that to be the natural way for them to be? Personally, I don't think there's a question a cure is a good thing for them. Now, if those same people had the ability, say, to see in the dark, does that change the issue? Should they not still have the right to give up both their disability and their power? These are the questions I would pose to Ian McKellen (remember my metaphor is not for homosexuality, but for X-Men which I think is a more diverse issue).

There is also the issue that ZachsMind points out of who's to say a group of people needs to be cured. When it comes down to it, shouldn't it be as easy as people asking for a cure? The sunlight-averse people would likely seek help for their condition, so it would be right for people to help them. In Joss' Gifted storyline, some mutants are desperate for it and rush to get it. Again, the problem is every mutant being so different that some will run to it and some will fight to the death against it. Moral dilemmas and killer action sequences ensue... =)

Fourth, UnpluggedCrazy, I think you're judging Superman Returns waaaaay too soon. The teaser trailer reveals next to nothing about the movie. It really just says "this movie's coming", not "this is what this movie's about". Let's see what the full trailer looks like.
Richard Lester took over Superman II because of a lawsuit he against the producers. When he filmed Three Musketeers the producers took all the footage and made two movies out of it with out paying anyone more money. Lester sued and the settlement ended up with him doing another movie. So the producers kicked Donner off and brought Lester on.

[ edited by Ledfeather on 2006-03-08 22:31 ]
jam2, I think it's called celtic ancestry ;). I can barely watch the weather forecast without getting sun-burned (actually it might be porphyria the sufferers of which are very sensitive to light among other symptoms. I read somewhere it may have been one of the inspirations for vampire myths).

I agree that Sir Ian was a bit quick to poo-poo the cure idea. He seemed to be looking at it purely from a prejudice angle rather than just the simple practicalities of everyday life. In Rogue's case it wouldn't matter if the entire world welcomed mutants with open arms, she still wouldn't be able to hug anyone without the whole life-sucking death thing (which I think should definitely wait until at least the third date). And as for getting pregnant, never mind the problems with sex, what would happen to a foetus that's part someone else when it was inside her (and that's assuming sperm could survive long enough to fertilise an egg) ? For Beast he risks losing himself completely in the feral animal which is a part of his mutation, not to mention the potential stygma attached to, y'know, being blue.

However, from the metaphorical angle in which mutancy is just a stand-in for different ethnicity or sexuality or anything else for which people are unfairly persecuted he's absolutely right. Clearly in these cases it's society that needs to respond differently. Even then though (as someone said above) we shouldn't make people change. E.g. if we found some kind of gene therapy that prevented people from being bigoted it still shouldn't be forced on us (even though it'd be bloody tempting) since forcing a 'cure' on the majority would be every bit as bad as forcing it on a persecuted minority (and, at least quantitively, worse).

As Zachsmind says, normalness is, if it exists at all, a purely statistical artefact. On an individual level no-one is normal and if there were such a person well then they'd be abnormal by their very averageness ;).
Just to chime in here. I'm looking forward to X3 very, very much. The trailer looked great, though I agree that it was a little crowded. The Superman Returns trailer left me feeling a bit 'meh'. Then again, I've never been a big Superman fan. To me the moral-fibre-upstanding-citizen aspect of it was never all that interesting and the 'they're a good people Kal-El' voice-over stuff just sounds cheesy to my ear. Give me Spiderman or X-Men any day of the week. But then again, I grew up on Marvel, whose characters always felt like people, while the larger-than-life DC superhero line never did a whole lot for me, so I may have a slightly skewed image.

In short, X3 can't arrive fast enough (although I do hope it's not a dissapointment - I'd rather have had júst a Dark Phoenix movie, because that has the possibility for greater emotional resonance). As for Superman Returns? Ah well, I'll probably check it out at the theatre. But I'm not holding my breath yet. ;-)
re: anticipation

I'm not at all looking forward to the movie, though I will still see it. I'm sorry -- Ratner has before taken a great script and an amazing cast and turned both assets into an indifferent movie, i.e. Red Dragon, the lackluster pre-quel to Demme's Silence of the Lamb. But then, I was never a huge fan of the X-movies, though I liked the second one an awful lot. I think they're fun and pretty and entertaining, but ultimately not memorable. I am looking forward to Singer's Superman movie because I think he's a good director and the mini-trailer is wonderful looking.

Isn't there also an article linked here in Whedonesque in which Joss comments on the use of his idea/character in X3? I remember reading an article like that.

Yes, and Joss commented! Apparently Summer Glau went in to read for Kitty Pryde and she called Joss and told him that the sides (the proto-script they give out to actors for auditions) they gave her were very powerful and felt very Joss-like to her, and Joss realized they were using dialogue from his X-books for the auditions. Given the subject matter, the fact that Ratner has complimented Joss' work on the books, the character of Dr. Rao and that little clue about the sides, I think it's fair to say that it's his version of the mutant virus story that they're using. Also, the actors were arguing the cost/loss benefits of a virus, which was also a focus of Astonishing X-Men.
Well, jam2, I've been following Superman Returns' development quite thoroughly, and let me just say...enthused I am not.
Please. Could everyone stop trying to pretend that they didn't like the first two X films? Come ON, they kicked ass! They were the perfect model for how we want our superhero movies to be! Oh sure, you wish they had included this storyline or that character, but truth be told, they were honest to the comics as much as h'wood would allow. They were fantastic. Herotastic. Mutantastic.

In my head, of course I could've envisioned more. So could we all. But the fact is, what they put up was (K to the A!) kick ass! I loved X one and two. And I'll be in line with my ten-year-old for the first day release of X3. Just like I was for Serenity.
Hey, W, I liked the first 2 X-films fine but, truth be told, I was a wee tad disappointed in . . . I don't know, probably the inevitable feeling of spread-thiness, given all the characters that had to be introduced. (And because X-Men was *the* book when I was a lad.)

Spiderman 2 remains the acme of super-hero movies for me. But X-2 isn't that far behind. Kurt's raid on the White House is as fine a representation of the comic-book as anything that's yet been put on screen.
I'm with you, Willowy. I loved both X films. Heck, I liked them better than the Spiderman films, which I've found myself unable to connect with (I seem to be the only one alive with that problem).

At the grave risk of going totally off-topic, my favorite superhero film is Unbreakable. I never read comics growing up, but after I saw that film I felt like I understood what superhero comics are all about. Maybe I would like the Spiderman movies more if Unbreakable hadn't revealed that to me already.
Ah, yes, Unbreakable. Very underrated, that movie. But then again, I totally love the way Shyamalan makes movies. They're almost too pretty to watch, and the camerawork is just simply great. Although I could do without the whole 'twist' thing. It's starting to feel awfully gimmicky. I'm holding out hope the next movie will have no twist whatsoever.

Still, don't really see Unbreakable as a superhero comicbook movie. Probably because it's an original work. I don't count 'Sky High' or 'Mystery Men' either, for instance.

My favorite comic book movie is still Spiderman 2, but X2 is close behind. And then there's X1, Spiderman 1, Hellboy, Batman Begins..there's really a lot of pretty good comic book adaps (not even mentioning things like Sin City, Road to Perdition or Ghost World).
Unbreakable is a great film. It's probably not a comic-book movie per se (even tho' it explicitly features comics, sets the hero and villain up as comic-style characters and is even mainly shot in static 'comic' frames) but it's definitely a superhero movie and, IMO, possibly the best superhero origin story to make it to film (maybe apart from Superman 1). Like 'Marvels' it takes the superhero premise and makes it a realistic journey of self-discovery, with the only supernatural power being the 'visions of evil' (even at the end Bruce Willis isn't really superheroic since 'all' he does is hold on and, y'know, not break). It isn't hurt a bit by the superb James Newton Howard score either.

I think X1 and 2 are great films, BTW, with X-Men 1 really setting the tone and paving the way for Spiderman 1&2, Batman Begins etc.

For comics movies I'd go

1. Spiderman 2
2. Batman Begins
3. Superman (at least partly cos of my age at first viewing)
4. X-Men 2
5. X-Men 1

with Fantastic Four somewhere down around infinity ;).
Okay, a very small point (and slightly off topic) but one that has bugged me for absolutely years now. It's not Spiderman, it's Spider-Man. There was a story i read years ago at the start of which Spidey stops a kid spraying "Spiderman sucks!" or words to that effect on a wall in graffiti and he gets pissed off that after all the years of fighting crime people still don't remember that he has a hyphen in his name, lol. :)
Hehe, check, yes, it is Spider-Man, duh. I'll pay better attention to my spelling from now on, VwaG ;-)
Or is the term just changing ? Sure, Spider-Man may be technically correct but like the new (*cough*wrong*cough*) meaning of blog, the future has Spiderman written all over it.

Also, does God have a hyphen ? No. Therefore, hyphens are the devil's work. QED.

Join usss VWaG, join the ranks of the dehyphenated (stay away from the de-underscorers though, fucking splitters).
Yeah, underscores are clearly here to stay ;)
The way I see it, Blade paved the way for the latest wave of the super hero/comic book film (or as I like to call it, the "Taking-the-original-material-seriously Wave"). The success of Blade is what prompted the greenlighting of X-Men which led to Spider-Man, etc. After that, Marvel couldn't license their properties fast enough. It's to the point where Prince Namor even has a film in development now.

Prior to Blade, a few smaller attempts were made to adapt comic books (Tank Girl, Barb Wire, Time Cop, Mask... all from Dark Horse I think) but Joel Schumacher nuked the big franchises with his two takes on Batman... a setback that took years to overcome. Perhaps Joel did us a favor by nuking campiness. Once the present day auteurs realized that camp was out it liberated them to approach properties like Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman with Shakespeare gloves on. Blade was the first of these attempts to screen.
I've yet to see the Fantastic Four film. Considered getting it on DVD but have heard nothing but bad for it. Is it even not good for the eye candy? Has anyone who saw the Roger Corman version that Stephen Spielberg purposefully purchased and buried honestly say this new one is worse than that? Cuz my benchmark for the new FF film is that it has to be better than that. I mean, Michael Chiklis as Thing! How could that have gone wrong? He was perfect for that role! Although, Jessica Alba in anything makes me wanna gag.

At my IMdB movie ratings list, the first superhero movie to come up is Spider-Mans 1 & 2, which I give a rating of nine out of ten. X-Men 2 also gets a nine from me. Buckaroo Banzai and a very old (but cool!) Captain Marvel movie serial (and a lesser known Masked Marvel serial) get an eight rating, as does The Iron Giant, The Mask, Mystery Men, The Rocketeer, 1978's Superman with Reeve & Kidder, and Unbreakable. The first X-Men movie got a seven from me, and I recall that being VERY generous. Same as Hellboy. The Reeve & Kidder sequel to Superman gets a six, which is the same as Michael J. Fox's Teen Wolf and Thelma & Louise, not entirely bad company to be in. It was above average. Lara Croft, Hollow Man (w/Shue & Bacon) and Josie & the Pussycats got a four. The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer featuring Rutger Hauer & Paul Reubens got a three (in company with Cannonball Run, Logans Run, & Honey We Shrunk the Kids so again, not meant to be insulting). Superman III also gets a three out of ten from me. Eddie Murphy's Pluto Nash got a one out of ten, as did Uma Thurman & Sean Connery in The Avengers, the 1966 hyper Adam West Batman movie, the Beastmaster sequel, Swamp Thing, Supergirl, and the Fox-less Teen Wolf sequel

I actually did all of these ratings for myself a few years ago but I have to say they still hold up for me. For the record, a low number doesn't necessarily mean I didn't enjoy the film. It's just that B (low budget) movies and otherwise badly made movies entertain me in an entirely different way. I loved Phantasm, but boy was it a corker.

...Why do I have "Psycho" listed as one out of ten..? That must be a mistake.
Don't forget The Crow as one of the earlier comic book films that found success and a pretty big cult following. At least one or two complete collections of The Crow were out before the movie. Judge Dredd apparently sucked but is big in the UK. Darkman's another comic book film that spawned a few cheapquels, though I'm not sure if the original was ever that successful or good either. Only have a child's memory of it.

When listing favorite comic book films, it's probably a good idea to differentiate between favorite superhero books and non-superhero, otherwise it helps to say that you're making an all-encompassing list. 'Cause among either of the Spider-Mans, X-Mens, and Batmans, I can't imagine not having at least one of the following in your top 10 or 20--Sin City, Ghost World, From Hell...

And there's A History of Violence, Road to Perdition, American Splendor, Monkeybone, Bulletproof Monk, Josie & The Pussycats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dick Tracy, The Rocketeer, Steel, Timecop, Virus, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Mask, Constantine, Mystery Men, Spawn, and other Marvel fare like Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic Four (two version if you count the cheesy `90s version they tried to bury), Punisher, Man-Thing, the Blade films, and Hulk (I'm in the camp that liked it, even loved certain elements of it), wherever some or all of those may fall among your own rankings.

Plus a host of made-for-TV stuff that's mostly cheese.

[ edited by Kris on 2006-03-09 19:56 ]
Unless you were rating the remake Zachsmind ?

In my mind I wouldn't have put The Iron Giant down as a superhero movie but now that you mention it, it so absolutely is. The giant refuses to accept the world as it is (including himself) and chooses in the end to be a force for good. Superb film and even if the book is a bit less sentimental (I remember it being a class reader at primary school) it's a fitting adaptation.

Fantastic Four has a few nice lines and Jessica Alba in her underwear (briefly). Apart from that the action is very flat, the plot kind of daft and the characterisation virtually non-existant though Chiklis, McMahon and Ioan Gruffud try their best. Some of the effects are pretty good but since the film as a whole is so unengaging it's more a 'That's technically very good' (a la Star Wars prequels) than 'Wow, this rocks !' feeling.

You're right Kris, as soon as I did the above list I immediately thought of Sin City and A History of Violence which feel like they should be higher than 5, I just don't know what i'd take out (and Spiderman 1 and Superman 2 are also hovering). Must confess though, most of the other films you mention weren't all that great, IMO (not seen American Splendour, Monkeybone, Josie... or Man-thing) ranging from could've been much worse (e.g. Constantine, where I was one of the few Hellblazer fans not all that bothered it was moved to the US and quite enjoyed the film, even Reeves performance) through to why the hell bother (e.g. Dick Tracy or Steel).

Judge Dredd was an example of someone hitting the right notes just in all the wrong order. They had a lot of the key elements but it just seemed like they had no real idea what to do with them. Plus, there's the whole thing that Dredd was originally intended to be a kind of satire on fascism which got a bit lost in the film (if anything, the film ended up being more a celebration of it).

The Crow was good though and the Blade films weren't bad. Daredevil and Hulk both had their moments (internal cheer when he says 'Don't make me angry...' even if it was in Spanish ;) but didn't really hold together as films and Punisher (the modern one, not the Lundgren dud) was entertaining enough for what it was. I'm also hopeful that 'V for Vendetta' will shoot straight to the top of the list when it comes out since it's one of my favourite comics so fingers crossed they haven't screwed it up.
Thanks, GVH (and Kris), for mentioning Ghost World. That probably is my favorite comic-book adaptation.

The only thing I liked about the FF movie was the tweaking of Johnny Storm's character. The rest was instantly forgettable. I too rather enjoyed the Hulk movie, although I can't remember why now . . . Notoriously, I found some good things in Elektra - but I was apparently the only one who did.

And I take full responsibility for the latest round of "Spiderman" for "Spider-Man" blunders. Shocking really.

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