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cinemalover

Zap!....Pow!....Boom!....Movies based on comics

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The release of Ghost Rider with Nic Cage is just one more in a long line of recently released movies based on charqacters that originated in the comics. We have had variations on Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Daredevil, Hellboy, Catwoman, the Punisher, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and scores of others. But the trend of using comic books or comic strips as an inspiration for movies is hardly new, and dates back towards the beginning of movies. I would like to know which movie (or serial) that featured a character(s) that came from the comics is your favorite? TCM recently showed the two very entertaining Superman serials. My all time favorite is still the original Flash Gordon serial with Buster Crabbe. Chapter upon chapter filled with inventive visuals (those sparkler-powered rockets are a treat!) and thrilling cliff-hangers!

 

Message was edited by: someone that forgets how to spell

cinemalover

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I would say I like the first two "Batman" movies directed by Tim Burton and the first two Superman movies (Richard donner and Richard Lester) the best. Not terribly unusual choices, I guess.

 

I find I like the movies better when they are about characters I never followed in comic books. Thus I am more open to changes in character origins. I won't see the "Fantastic Four" movie because they changed Dr. doom's origin and powers, and that crosses my red line of death.

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The first two Batman's were certainly stunning from a visual standpoint. I recently watched the extended DVD version of SupermanThe Movie and was pleasantly surprised to catch a brief cameo by Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill as a young Lois Lane's parents on a train. Kirk and Noel were Superman and Lois in the two Superman serials shown on TCM. Noel was also one of the actresses to play Lois on the Superman TV show.

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I'm a serious, committed and, quite frequently, disappointed fan of this sub-genre, and I'd have to say the vehicle from which I've derived the greatest pleasure, and which, for me, delivered the best "superhero" value, is one of the least spectacular of all the entries: "The Shadow" with Alec Baldwin, John Lone, and brilliant cameos by two late, great practitioners of comic genius: Peter Boyle & Jonathan Winters.

I was pleasantly surprised by the characterizations & FX of "Fantastic 4", but felt the script just dawdled around too long, and ultimately didn't deliver.

I greatly enjoyed practically everything about "X-Men" & "X-Men II", though I felt there was a bit too much "tease" too them, and not quite enough pay-off, though from a serial point of view they admirably kept-up a good quota of tension & promise.

"X-Men III" was a massive let-down, despite strong performances by all the "regulars", plus a delightful romp of a supporting role by Kelsey Grammar;

the rushed, contrived & paltry "grand climax" was juvenile & shoddy, far below the standards set in the first 2, made all the worse as this was the conclusion of a 3-film story arc; in all probability, the final big-screen treatment for the Magnificent Mutants, and almost certainly the last outing for this ensemble of crucially cast actors.

Purportedly, the single biggest factor behind "X-3" 's quality collapse was the mid-project pull-out of director/co-scripter Bryan Singer, the celebrated driving force behind the first to X-flicks, allegedly in order to sign-on (last minute) for the final crafting of "Superman Returns".

And, as I've stated elsewhere, in that I find "Superman Returns" to have been a HUGE & utter disappointment, on nearly all levels, I now feel like inviting Mr. Singer out for beers somewhere, and joyfully pounding the stuffing out of him!!!

OK, OK . . I breathing deeply, regaining composure . . it aint the first time Hollywood's broke my heart r.e: the Comics (I won't even start on "Daredevil"!),

and doubtless it won't be my last . .

Then again, sometimes you find the real hidden gems, like "Hell Boy", and the absolutely, deliciously sublime "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (both involving fantasy rather than stock superheroes, but still originating from comics), so still scoreboard-wise, I reckon I'll go on hoping and believing, and keeping a good thought!

And, Hey, "Ghost Rider" does look like fun . . . !

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I actually went into X-Men III with lowered expectations, so I thought it was okay. Nothing special. I have yet to see Superman Returns, and, frankly, have yet to hear anything that makes we want to see it.I did enjoy Hellboy. Ron Perlman can project just the right attitude to make the character connect.

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When it comes to recent movies, I more or less like the same ones that have been mentioned here... I feel that Supergirl was a lost opportunity, and hope that the character may be revisited at some point, with a better script and better direction. I also would love to see a big-screen WonderWoman. :)

 

The one movie that I feel is rather underrated is Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy - the color design and Vittorio Storaro's photography are awesome, and the cast is excellent.

 

As for the old-time movies/serials from the Golden Era, I'd mention The Adventures of Captain Marvel as one of the better (or most memorable) movie serials.

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Captain Marvel is an excellent serial. For me it probably ranks right behind the immortal Flash Gordon with the under-appreciated Buster Crabbe. In 1941 when Captain Marvel was made he was giving Superman a real run for the most popular flying superhero of the time.

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You know, as a kid I read some of the old Captain Marvel comics from the 40's that my mom had saved. It was just awesome, to look at the art and the ads and how everything was different way before I was born.

 

That probably had a big impact on me in terms of always being fascinated with the not-too-distant past, that which still allows us to explore its films, magazines, graphic novels, etc.

 

You probably have no idea how much I'd love to be able to travel back in time to the 40's and get to see it all with my own eyes. :x

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And to appreciate some of the "culture" of the time it would also help to read some of the "pulp" magazines that were incredibly popular. Those were the origins of characters like the Shadow and Doc Savage. A lot of sci-fi writers also got their work published in these dime novels.

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There was a movie made in the mid-1970s called Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze

starring Ron Ely and Paul Gleason.

 

All these years later I still remember this memorable line"

 

"Mona, you're a brick!"

 

It was supposed to be a franchise movie with more episodes/films made but the box office was eclipsed that year by Jaws.

 

Would love to see it one of these days.

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Cinemascope,

IMDb lists Wonder Woman as "in production" for 2009. Joss Whedon had been attached to the film, but has apparently left the project.

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I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed that the production goes on as scheduled, once in a while some project will be "in production" but then someone pulls the plug before shooting begins.

 

Oh as for the general topic, I'd like to add that the best comic-book movie not actually based on an existing comic (IIRC) is Sam Raimi's Darkman :)

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lz;

 

I remember "Doc Savage, Man of Bronze"!

I even went out to see it, back in the day; a lot of cool, period fun (especially with an Amazonian assassin, trying to snipe Savage from the deco parapets of the Chrysler Building!).

Held up pretty darn well (similar aesthetics to "the Shadow"), Ely is typically "lunchbox" good, pacing is fine right up until the climax . . . . but, fear not, no *spoiling * here, no giveaways pro or con, just a recommendation to be "forgiving".

I think, nonetheless, it's worth a rundown, and a rental, if not a purchase.

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Oh yeah, there's one comic book movie we should definitely hope will get made soon... Captain America.

 

There were some awful low-budget versions made not too long ago that were almost shelved... a big budget movie adaptation might be a lot of fun, if done right :)

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I'm not a big fan of movies based on comics but I must say that I really enjoyed Spiderman and Spiderman 2 The origin of Spiderman in the first movie was interesting and both the films were packed with great special effects. The only comics I read as a child were Wonder Woman, Archie & Jughead, and the newspaper comic strip of Brenda Star Reporter :)

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I had forgotten "Darkman," which was a good movie. It was nice and low keyed as I remember it. The fate of the universe wasn't in the balance.

 

I saw "Superman Returns" last summer, and while i didn't dislike it, I have to say that it struck me as simply a retread of the first two Superman movies with nothing new to say. In "Superman," Lex Luthor wants to destroy the West Coast. In Superman Returns, he wants to destroy the East Coast. If they make yet another Superman movie, with Luthor want to destroy the Midwest?

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Darkman was great fun. It was also directed by Sam Raimi, which proved to be good practice in the genre so that he could do an even better job on the two Spiderman movies (with a third in the wings).

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For me, the appeal of Superman Returns wasn't at all in the plot mechanics (i.e., the Superman vs. Luthor part) but rather in the relationships, i.e., what Sup might be feeling due to his frustrated love for Lois Lane, and the awkardness of seeing her raising (SPOILER ALERT) his little child. Also to a lesser extent, Clark Kent's enduring love for the land where he was born and his great affection for his mother.

 

That's what kept the movie interesting for me.

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Well, C-scope, you definitely have my envy on this one!

I watched "Superman Returns" start to finish, noted every single thing they were trying to accomplish with casting & script & performance & plotting & camera work & pacing & sound & editing . . but it was all purely (and hollowly) mental for me, nothing even once migrated down to my heart or my "gut" . . just floated around from the neck up, cold & contrived . .

But, you know, far more folks agreed with you than did with me; "Superman Returns" earned itself some hefty box-office, and overall, good, solid reviews with the critics, and from what I can see, is making some pretty sweet income with DVD sales & rentals.

(I just wish I could get MY $3.50 back!)

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I recently got the ULTIMATE SUPERMAN COLLECTION DVD SET, the one with the 14 discs. Needless to say I've got Man of Steel to last me a while! :x

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I read comics quite a bit as a kid (and still have most of them). The movies I have seen lately though have been very disappointing to me.

 

The first big problem with many of them is they have factual errors. The main people who want to see this stuff are the people who read comics--so please get your facts straight!

 

Another problem is that it seems to be mostly special effects driven and there is not much in acting (I felt some of the Xmen stuff, and Batman was better in this regard. I thought the acting in Spiderman was just awful).

 

I would be interested in a Captian America flick if they could do it right (WW2, the Red Skull, etc.). I also enjoyed the Captian Marvel serials as well as Green Hornet.

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But don't you think sometimes things need to be adapted a bit to work better on the big screen? It's kind of like the uniforms in X-Men, they made them black instead of all colors like in the comics and it probably looked better that way, don't you think? :)

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I'm not going to nitpick about the uniforms. But Dr. Doom NEVER went into space with the Fantastic Four. He was never friends with any of them.

 

Peter Parker did not have that serious of a relationship with Mary Jane and she did not appear till much later. His serious girlfriend was Gwen who got killed by "The Shocker" which would have been more interesting anyway.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing a film about Green Arrow and Black Canary's relationship either if it was well done.

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Well. Sometimes changes are made when adapting movies based on novels, or on Broadway musicals. I can understand the desire for the moviegoers for the movie to remain faithful to the source material, but sometimes changes may be deemed necessary...

 

If they help the movie reach a wider audience, it's all for the best, because there's a better chance more movies will be made... :)

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