Monday, 22 December 2008

Comic book movie of the year

Iron Man, without question. Slick, stylish, witty, with a shit-eating grin of a lead performance from Robert Downey Jr, I actually wanted to see it again as soon as it ended, although it only just pipped Guillermo Del Toro's superior sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army to top spot.

As for The Dark Knight... I know there's plenty of love out there for that film, and while I thought the opening heist was brilliantly executed (I've watched it several times since being sent the film on Blu-ray) and Heath Ledger's performance made it into my best of the year, I still prefer Batman Begins. For me, when Ledger's offscreen, the film deflates. I'd also argue that it's too long, has one too many villains and a third act that's too messy and convoluted for it's own good but if you like the film you're not likely to listen. If the movie had ended with the lorry flip and didn't try to shoehorn Two-Face into the story, only to kill him, I probably would have liked it more. As it is, I know I'm in the minority, but that's okay.


Gerard said...

I <3 Begins enormously, especially for the amount of focus it affords Bruce (as opposed to Batman), but with that out of the way, I think, personally, TDK is superior in every other way. I still wince at those tacked-on "Gotta get me one of those!"-esque quips in Begins, along with the dropped-in "...This thing is gonna blow!" etc ad nauseum during the big finale, whereas TDK, for me, stripped away almost any semblance of what we expect from (and hence forgive in) a typical comicbook film whilst still retaining fidelity to its source material and characters. I get the beef with all the stuff on the boat and the hostages at the end, but I don't think it's at all bad - it's just the least interesting element of an excellent film - but I like what it does with its principal players, and love that it gives way to an ending that's high on drama and low on spectacle. Ledger was definitely the ace in the hole, as it were - it's an absolute dymamite performance - but I found it sort of satisfying that they offed Two-Face this time around, as, with Bruce's place as Batman now solidified, Dent's was the most interesting character arc.

Just my two cents, as TDK would get my vote here. Good call on Iron Man and Hellboy II, though. I still think the finale of Iron Man is sort of perfunctory and hangs on a big ol' deus ex machina, but I adored where it left the character at the conclusion. And Downey Jr - what a good year it's been for him.

Schmid4Brains said...

Loved TDK, but it hurt that SOMEONE along the way gave in to the comic book movie boiler plate/hollywood demands of "A VILLAIN MUST ALWAYS DIE REGARDLESS OF HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE TO THE ENTIRE FRANCHISE"

Two-Face could have EASILY had a bigger part moving into a 3rd movie. It was sad that he went so... ordinarily. and now with Ledger gone (leaving ENORMOUS clown shoes to fill) Aaron Eckhart could have given a solid solo performance vs. Bats.

I heard a TERRIBLE rumor that EDDIE MURPHY might be tapped to be in the next Batman film?! I've already died a little inside from just hearing the RUMOR. If it's true... i will weep.

Schmid4Brains said...

Star Wars news item from the UK.

You have to read this to believe it.

Mark Salisbury said...

@ Gerard

Agreed re: the finale of Iron Man which was the same as the finale of The Incredible Hulk (and Spiderman for that matter). But as for TDK we'll have to agree to disagree. I will watch it again. I just have to find myself a free two and a half hours.

@ Steve

That Woolies story is hysterical. Only in the UK!

J.D. said...

I loved IRON MAN but agree that the ending was a little on the weak side. It almost felt like they either ran out of money or time or both but it was still a very entertaining ride.

I agree with others that TDK was better for all of the reasons stated above but also I found it to much richer thematically, esp. with the whole notion of Batman invading people's personal privacy and the dilemma: does the end truly justify the means? IRON MAN really didn't go that deep or complex and I don't think that was its intentions either but that is what makes TDK a much strong film, IMO.

Mark Salisbury said...

I know what you're saying guys re: TDK and I know I should give it another go, but it's finding the time... so many movies to see. And when you add in books, comics, work, and that thing called a life...

Who said Christmas is stressful, eh.