The Ten Spot: Top 10 Favorite Comic Book Movie Moments (Video Edition!)
With IRON MAN 3, MAN OF STEEL, THE WOLVERINE, KICK-ASS 2, R.I.P.D., and 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE opening this summer, comic book adaptations are alive and well. Here we take a look back at ten of our favorite moments from comic book movies through the years. Now, remember I said comic book and not superhero, because not all adaptations are Marvel or DC heroes. So, take a look and the list and let us know if any of your faves didn't make the cut. Feel free to add them in the talk back below!
The first time I saw the original SUPERMAN, I was already in awe before the opening credits had even finished rolling. The iconic theme song by John Williams is instantly recognizable by any movie fan. As a kid, I remember humming the theme to SUPERMAN, which would somehow turn into the theme from STAR WARS, then back to SUPERMAN again. It goes to show how powerful of a character Superman really is when you instantly associate a visual image with a song. I could have picked any moment from Richard Donner's classic movie, but the opening titles shooting across the screen made it for me.
Technically, UNBREAKABLE is not a comic book adaptation, but like Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES, it is one of the best superhero movies to hit screens. Despite spending the majority of the movie seeming like a supernatural mystery in the vein of THE SIXTH SENSE, once the revelation that the entire series of events was orchestrated by Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). UNBREAKABLE's twist clicked with me instantly and I loved getting an original superhero story on the big screen, something we rarely see. A very cool moment and the last time M. Night Shyamalan did something interesting.
IRON MAN 2 was a failure, in my opinion. The only thing that worked was Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. This scene summarizes Stark's personality perfectly. It is brash, pompous, and an absolutely self-serving moment, but it showcases his showmanship as a superhero. Tony Stark is the anti-Bruce Wayne: a hero who embraces both sides of his personality because he doesn't have to hide who he is.
People always forget that BLADE was the first box office success based on a Marvel character. It hit theaters two years before X-MEN and gave us Wesley Snipes most badass role. And what a way to introduce a character than this scene. The blood rave featured the pulsing electronic remix of New Order's "Confusion" and culminated with blood pouring from the sprinklers. From there, Blade himself proceeds to kick some major ass. This movie should be the template for where a new DAREDEVIL or PUNISHER movie should go.
Zack Snyder's film made this list not because he is directing MAN OF STEEL, but because of how surprising 300 was. Quite a few people didn't realize that 300 was based on Frank Miller's comic. After the success of SIN CITY in bringing to life the moody art from Miller's pages, 300 was another perfect translation of still image to movie magic. Gerard Butler has not been this badass before or since 300 and this scene is one of the reasons why. Despite becoming a worn out internet meme, this scene is a stylized moment that will forever be remembered in comic book movies.
THE CROW was supposed to be Brandon Lee's introduction to Hollywood stardom. Alas, he died tragically filming this movie. THE CROW is not perfect and does not hold up as well as it did when first released, but it is an example of how a difficult comic can be translated to a movie without sacrificing the intention of the original artist. THE CROW on film looks just like THE CROW on the page and none of the sequels were able to live up to this one.
There are so many moments in Tim Burton's BATMAN that I could have chosen: the museum scene, the "I'm Batman" scene, even the Joker's origin, but I felt this moment captured the movie despite not even having Batman in it. The Joker confronts Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale and utters his "Dance with the Devil" line, giving Bruce Wayne the realization of who this guy really is. Plus, it has Michael Keaton channeling a little BEETLEJUICE when he says "let's get nuts".
A lot of people said WATCHMEN was unfilmable even after seeing the movie version. By no means perfect, WATCHMEN was able to tell a dark, literate story with visual flair. Zack Snyder makes his second appearance on this list for this beautiful shortcoming of a film. This opening sequence takes the beginning of the first issue of WATCHMEN and brings it to life faithfully and beautifully.
While I loved X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, I still consider X2: X-MEN UNITED to be the best film in that franchise. It got the villain right and it got Wolverine right. I could have picked numerous moments or one-liners featuring Hugh Jackman's awesome portrayal as Logan, but this showdown with Lady Deathstrike is probably the single best battle he has had in any of the films so far. It is a shame that his ORIGINS movie was a pile of shit. Here's to hoping that THE WOLVERINE finally gives us a proper solo film.
The epitome of Sam Raimi's trilogy, this fight between Spider-man and Doctor Octopus took the action to another level. The battle feels straight out of a comic book but also incredibly real. But, my favorite part has to be the patrons of the train sticking up for Spider-man when he is down. Raimi truly brought together the people of New York as a superhero unto themselves in his movies which just enhanced Spider-man's appeal. Marc Webb has not yet been able to match anything like this in his AMAZING SPIDER-MAN series, and I don't know if any solo superhero movie will come close.
THE DARK KNIGHT is the best superhero movie of all time. There is no contender. Sure, the movie has some holes in logic, but it also has the two best villain portrayals of all time. Harvey Dent/Two-Face is phenomenal, but Heath Ledger's The Joker is a million times better than anything else put to movie screens. The entire nurse sequence is brilliant, but the ending where The Joker wonders why the explosion has stalled is cinematic gold. The best part is, it was an accident. Ledger improvised the moment when the explosives didn't go off as planned. The rest is history.
While I am not saying that THE AVENGERS is the best superhero movie of all time (far from it), it did something that no other comic adaptation has been able to: it put multiple heroes on the screen at the same time and gave them an opportunity to work as a team. Sure, X-MEN did it first, but it almost felt like a bunch of heroes in the same movie and not a super team. In THE AVENGERS, everyone shows their strengths but also work as a cohesive unit to bring down the enemy. From Iron Man to Captain America to the best version of the Hulk to date, the final act of THE AVENGERS is the best comic movie scene of all time. Puny god!