Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Answer to the Most Recent Criticwire Survey: Best Comic Book Movie

The best movie based on a comic book or graphic novel is clearly David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. However, considering just how much has changed from the book – the movie is far less lurid than the graphic novel – and the fact that apparently Cronenberg was unaware that it was based on one when he agreed to direct the movie, and did not read the original before making the movie, I’m not going to pick that one. If I were inclined to pick an “alternative” choice rather than a superhero movie, I’d be more inclined to pick something like Robert Pulcini & Shari Spring Berman’s American Splendor, which had a ton of respect for Harvey Pekar’s source material, or one of two films by Terry Zwigoff – his adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ teen girl story Ghost World, or his documentary Crumb exploring the life and work of Robert Crumb. But even though I think all of these films are better than my actually choice, I think all of those seem to be a cop out – the critics way of dodging the real question being asked, so they can continue to look down their noses at superhero movies – which since this question was inspired by the upcoming release of Iron Man 3, is clearly what was intended.

So on that note, I’ll say the answer is The Dark Knight. True, I could have picked Batman Begins, but I think The Dark Knight is everything a great comic book movie should be – faithful to the source material, but providing a fresh spin on it. A great villain, a wonderful hero, good action sequences and a hell of an entertaining film to boot. Out of all of the recent comic book movies, this one is the best of the lot.

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