The Comic Book Movies Of 2012: From The Best To The Worst

the avengers poster - the team
Posted on: December 20th, 2012

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Before we look too far into the future and ponder questions such as; Will Man of Steel be the film that Superman Returns was meant to be (I sure hope so)? Who will be returning from the original X-Men trilogy in Byran Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past (I really wanna see Nightcrawler again)? Will Chloe Moretz’s Hit Girl still be as badass now that she’s older in Kick Ass 2 (she’s only gotten better as she’s gotten older so I’m thinking she’ll be even more badass)? Let’s take a look at what 2012 has given Comic book movie fans.

Here’s my list in order of which I thought was the ‘Best’ down to the ‘Worst’. Feel free to disagree (and let me know your opinions in the comments section) and know that it took me a long time to decide exactly which movie should go in the 2nd spot considering that I thought Dredd and The Dark Knight Rises were both good comic book adaptations. In the end though, Dredd nudged itself into the second position by a chin… geddit, because you only see Karl Urban’s chin during the entire movie… I’ll just get on with the list now.

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1: THE AVENGERS

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the avengers poster - the team

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Robert Downey Jr

This cross-over movie was literally years in the making. Marvel/Disney give Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America their own movies in which we got to know the core members of The Avengers before there was ever a worldwide crisis that would require them to team up.

This meant that when the team was finally formed, we didn’t have to waste time establishing who everyone was (except Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, that character got pretty side-lined in the film).This was necessary considering how much they packed into the movie’s runtime. The first half of the film focused on the team learning to work with each other and then the last half dealt with an invasion by the Chitauri… whi,ch involved a lot of explosions and The Avengers beating up a lot of bad guys.

The main reason this gets the number one spot is because of the fact that whilst I’ve seen a lot of films adapted from comic books, this was the first time I ever felt like I was a watching a live action comic.

 

Highlight:

The (very CGI enhanced) one-shot which showed us the different members of the team during the final fight, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a 2 page/double spread battle scene from a comic that had come to life.

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2. DREDD

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dredd - judge dredd - karl urban

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Directed by: Pete Travis

Starring: Lena Headey, Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Domhnall Gleeson,

2000 AD’s Judge Dredd has been a staple of British comics for years. He’s a Judge in the futuristic Mega City 1 and has a no nonsense approach to anyone who breaks the law… if you break the law, you will be punished, end of. Dredd is a one note character who people love because he’s such a uncompromising badass. And so the best thing this movie did was slightly side-line him in favour of Olivia Thrilby’s Judge Anderson.

Don’t get me wrong, Dredd gets to do a lot of cool things/serve Justice to a lot of bad guys but for the story to work without losing Dredd’s Charm, he had to remain the same throughout the movie. Putting him in the role of mentor to Anderson meant that we got to see Dredd through her eyes (unstoppable and unforgiving) whilst not giving him a character arc of his own that may have softened him too much in the eyes of diehard fans.

All this was aided by the fact that the film kept the mature content and violence the comic is known for, Lena Headey’s deliciously evil antagonist, Ma-Ma and most importantly, because Thirby had the acting chops to hold her own against Urban’s chin.

 

Highlight:

The inclusion of a drug called Slo-Mo. It not only gave us some beautiful slow motion shots throughout the film but also allowed us to see what someone’s cheek exploding in slow motion looked like. Marvellous

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3. The Dark Knight Rises

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dark knight rises -batman vs bane

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Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine

The final part of Christopher Nolan’s Bat Trilogy was always going to be a tricky one. Considering the Dark Knight was such a great film (and Heath Ledger’s knocked it out of the park with his interpretation of The Joker), it was always going to be a hard act to follow.

Personally I thought TDKR wasn’t as good a film as the Dark Knight but I did think it was a better comic book movie adaptation. The stakes were ramped up. There was a real sense of peril for not only Batman but the City of Gotham itself and it ended with a final climatic battle between good and evil.

Also, the nods to classic Bat stories such as The Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall and even having a hint of No Man’s Land helped ease some of the poorer sections of the story (Catwoman being the one to kill Bane, Batman’s miraculous and complete recovery from a broken back in only 5 months).

 

Highlight:

Tom Hardy as Bane. He got stick because he wasn’t Heath Ledger. He got stick because there wasn’t a hint of Bane’s trademark Venom and he got stick because people couldn’t understand him.

However, I thought Nolan’s re-imagining of Bane’s origin story made him the perfect nemesis for Batman. Bruce Wayne and him were two sides of the same League of Shadow’s coin… he was Batman’s equal and the only bad guy from the series who actually proved to be a viable physical threat to the Dark Knight. I only wish their final fight could have lasted longer.

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4. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

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the amazing spider-man poster

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Directed by: Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone,  Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary

 

I had no problem with a rebooted Spider-Man series and had thought Andrew Garfield would make a pretty good neighbourhood wall crawler. Unfortunately Hollywood’s “Darker equals Better” mentality left us with a film that didn’t feel true to the comics.

Peter Parker wasn’t a character you would want to root for. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield had no chemistry and the film was poorly paced. Spending far too long on an origin story we all know and then packing as much action into the final half as they could.

They also made a misstep in their villain. Doc Connors/The Lizard could have been a great bad guy but instead comes across like a poor man’s Green Goblin. He even undergoes the exact same character arc as Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (Scientist hassled for results, scientist tests research on himself, Scientist becomes unhinged and turns evil… for no real reason)

 

Highlight:

The fight between Peter and The Lizard in the school. Spider-Man fights exactly as you imagine he would… if he was real. There’s wall crawling, web slinging and even Stan Lee. This scene is one of the few that possibly outshines the original trilogy.

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5. Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance

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ghost rider- spirit of vengeance

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Directed by: Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Violante Placido, Ciarán Hinds, Johnny Whitworth, Christopher Lambert and Idris Elba

I’m not too sure if this movie is a sequel or a reboot because it seems to forget the first movie existed… which is fair enough because most people who saw Ghost Rider have tried their best to erase it from their minds.

Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze and has to stop Mephistopheles from possessing the body of a young child. Along the way he runs into somewhat respectable actors such as Idris Elba, Ciaran Hinds, Anthony Stewart Head and Christopher Lambert who all do their best to pretend they don’t know what acting is as their one dimensional characters spout terrible lines.

Poor dialogue, humour that’ll make you cringe rather than laugh and some very unconvincing CGI do nothing to salvage this mess or even turn it into a stupid but enjoyable guilty pleasure of a movie. In fact, the one interesting aspect of the whole thing, Blaze being a junkie for his next ‘Rider’ hit is ruined because Cage is allowed free rein to over-act his heart out, which makes an interesting idea into ‘that scene in all Nic Cage movies were he goes KEY-REEZY’.

 

Highlight:

It’s hard to pick, but it’s going to have to be Idris Elba turning out to be a drunk French (very human) priest. The whole movie you’ll be convinced he’s got a demonic/angelic secret that allows him to pull off some of the stunts he does in the film but no… he’s just an action hero priest with a drinking problem… who can survive falling off a cliff with only a small scratch. Pure Rubbish.

 

Well, that’s our run-down of the comic book movies from 2012. Let us know what you think of the choices and if you agree that they’re in the right spot.

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Dan is just a guy who worked in a video store and took the compliment/insult that he was like “Randal” from “Clerks” a little too literally. Thankfully Bad Haven has given him the chance to blurt out his internal monologues on nerd culture. Proclaiming his love for the things he likes (which include books, movies, games, comics) and utterly destroying the things he doesn’t (pretty much everything else). Dan is an editor, reviewer and feature writer for Bad Haven.

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