By Dan Leach

By: Dan Leach
Follow Dan Leach on Twitter @dtmleach

With Iron Man 3 coming out this weekend, I thought I would show some respect to the comic book movie, as over the past decade plus, movies based on comic book heroes from many of our youths have taken cinema by storm. It used to be just a small audience that was rabid over the release of many of these movies, but over the years these types of movies have been nominated for Academy Awards and have even won in the acting category, when Heath Ledger had a turn for the ages as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Here are my top five comic book movies of all-time; how does your top five shape up?

5-“Blade” 1998 Stephen Norrington- Blade came out before it was truly sexy to make a comic book movie, but did it with dark style and grace. Wesley Snipes played Blade with a suave disconnect that made you cheer for him, but at the same time wonder if that was the right thing to do. The question at the heart of Blade is one that always resonated with me and is why I feel it stands out as more than a movie based on a comic book character. The line between good and evil can be very tenuous at times and sometimes what seems like it is right might not be, but can be blurred for the greater good.

4-“Iron Man” 2008 Jon Favreau- Robert Downey Jr’s turn as Billionaire playboy Tony Stark is easily one of the best acting jobs in the history of comic book based movies. Downey Jr found a way to keep Stark’s objectives based in reality, but with an outward vision that even the biggest skeptic would have a hard time not believing. Favreau really found his directing niche as well and kept the movie well-paced, filled with great moments of levity, and as action packed as any movie in the genre.

3-“Batman Begins” 2005 Christopher Nolan- Nolan’s first foray into the Batman mythology turned the fan boy world upside down, as many didn’t think a movie based on a comic book hero could touch on so many modern day themes of class warfare and social injustice, while at the same time still staying true to what a movie based on comic should. The way that Nolan weaved the storyline of a young Bruce Wayne traumatized by his parents death, using his anger for good instead of revenge, was beautifully done. The Score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard was transcendent. The editing by Lee Smith was Oscar worthy, and the movie set the tone for all modern day comic book movies to be based off of.

2- “SuperMan II” 1980/2006 (Richard Donner Cut)- Many don’t know that legendary director Richard Donner filmed Superman I and II back-to-back. Over budget and overdue, Donner ended up fighting with the producers and was replaced by Richard Lester. Lester didn’t do a terrible job, but used a lot of what Donner had already shot as well as re-shoots. With the release of “Superman II: The Donner Cut” in 2006 though, you can see just how much better Donner’s version and vision was.

1-“The Dark Knight” 2008 Christopher Nolan – All three of Nolan’s Batman movies are worthy of being near or at the top of this list, but “The Dark Knight” pushed the envelope as far as comic book movies go and is widely considered one of the best action films of the past 25 years. The late Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker was an all-timer, and Nolan showed why he is simply one of film’s greatest modern day directors. This will be forever what all movies of the genre are judged by.

Follow Dan Leach on Twitter @dtmleach

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