The Whatever: Comic Book Movies

It’s Monday.

So let’s do this.

And please check out previous installments here.

With The Dark Knight coming soon, what are your five favorite superhero movies, and what do you think are the five worst?

I know that some of you haven’t seen many superhero movies, so, if you haven’t seen enough to make a list, just tell me your five favorite superheroes.

And here … we … go:

The Best:

1. Batman Begins

Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale show us the heart of Bruce Wayne while still giving us our most capable Batman. And the supporting cast is one of the finest ever assembled.

2. Superman 2

Christopher Reeve. Christopher Reeve. Christopher Reeve.

3. Spider-Man 2

One of the greatest sequels ever made and easily one of my all-time favorite movies of any kind. Ever felt like your best wasn’t enough no matter how hard you tried? Ever felt like everything you do goes wrong and hurts the people you care about, even when you think you’re trying to protect them? When it comes to comic book movies, this beauty is an epic.

4. The Incredible Hulk

Ed Norton honors the spirit of the television series (and the early comics) with gamma-sized doses of action and heart. And Liv Tyler takes my breath away. Review here.

5. X2: X-Men United

Kelly Hu called my house!

The Worst:

1. Superman Returns

Review here.

2. Spider-Man 3

Review here.

3. Hulk

Review here.

4. The Punisher (2004)

Review here.

5. Ghost Rider

Doesn’t deserve a review.


  1. DJ says:

    I’m hoping Dark Night topples your list, but we’ll have to see. I would have swapped out Ironman for The incredible Hulk, but maybe that’s just me. As for the Worst List, I can only look at it and remember the hours I wasted seeing each one. Horrible movies.

  2. John says:

    Hi, DJ,

    Thanks for stopping by! I have no doubt that The Dark Knight will top the new list. And I loved Iron Man very, very much, but I have more of an emotional/nostalgic connection to the Hulk and I was proud of Ed Norton for taking it back to Bixby.

  3. Whoa, this is a hard one. I probably need to watch more superhero movies, actually. =)


    1. TDK. Yup. No doubt in my mind! But since I haven’t seen it yet … Batman Begins. Whooo, Batman! Great cast, great telling of an origin story.

    2. V for Vendetta! Oh my god, I love this movie so much.

    3. Iron Man. I LOVED this movie! And Tony Stark wasn’t even in the suit that much. That’s how much Downey Jr. rocked.

    4. X-men 2. I love the X-men! And this one was really good.

    5. The Incredible Hulk. Lots of fun!


    1. X-men 3. Ich. You know how disappointed I was in this? The special effects were amazing—but that’s all it was. Where was the story? Jeez, Bryan Singer! Abandon your own trilogy … thanks.

    2. Spider-Man 3. Sooo much was cheesy and dumb in this, and I wanted to see more Venom, damnit!

    3. Ghost Rider. Okay, so I’ve only seen part of this. But what I have seen didn’t interest me. I trust the comics are much, much better. Never judge the quality of comics on comic book movies.

    4. Fantastic Four. Meh.

    5. Sin City. Eh, just didn’t like this. At all.

  4. Kareem says:

    1. (subject to change July 18th) Spider-Man 2 – “Go get’em, Tiger.”

    2. Batman Begins – “And you’ll never have to.”

    3. Superman 2 – “FATHER!!!!!!!!”

    4. Superman – “There’s one thing I know for sure, son. And that is, you are here for a reason.”

    5. Blade – “Some muthafuckas are always trying to ice skate uphill. ”

    1. Spider-Man 3 – “It’s time to pay, Marko!”

    2. Daredevil – “Quesada! Time to give the Devil his due!”

    3. Superman Returns – (every line)

    4. Hulk – “TAKE IT ALL!!!!!”

    5. Batman and Robin – “Take two of these…and call me in the morning.”

  5. Kerstin says:

    OK, I haven’t seen the new Hulk yet, so can’t compare it best or worst…but here’s my sort of list:


    1. Batman Begins. I don’t think this requires explanation.

    2. Iron Man. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this movie and what Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. did with it.

    3. Spiderman 2. Of the three, this is my favorite. The action rocked, and I always love a movie where there isn’t a lot of backstory having to be told. Sequels rock that way.

    4. X3. I just really enjoyed this movie and all the characters that emerged. And it was pretty action packed, which I always love. Plus it has that sequel thing going for it. :)

    5. Naturally I have to add The Dark Knight. And only at number 5 because I haven’t seen it yet, but have no doubt it will rock.


    1. Spiderman 3. Ugh. I swear to God I was laughing at all the tears by the end. It was ridiculous.

    2. Batman Returns. It was just a disgusting movie.

    3. Fantastic Four. While I love all the actors, the movie left a lot to be desired for me. I don’t mind watching it for fun, but it’s definitely a bummer of a super hero movie.

    And since I didn’t see the first Hulk, I can’t comment on it, but I hear it was bad.

    I think that’s all I got. I suck.

  6. John says:

    Stephanie: I liked V, too. There’s a Church of Scientology a few blocks from my new apartment, and right before I moved in I was driving past it and saw three protesters standing out front. There were two hippie girls and a guy dressed as V, and the V guy was holding a sign that said “Xenu Go Home.” Awesome. I wish I’d had my camera. Iron Man rocks crazy hard. I hated leaving it and Blade out of my top five.

  7. John says:

    Kareem: I knew your list would rock my socks off. And you distilled the films down to some perfectly key quotes, which is equally awesome. I originally had Blade as my number five, too, but I love Jackman and Brian Cox in X2 and I liked the Nightcrawler arc a lot. My love for Blade is documented, oddly enough, in my review for Blade II. I also originally had Batman & Robin in my bottom five, but then I remember Ghost Rider after Stephanie mentioned it. Excellent lists as always, my friend.

  8. John says:

    Kerstin: You do not suck! Every contribution counts, and I appreciate it very much. Iron Man really is a fine, fine piece of work, thanks to Favreau’s smart direction and Downey’s amazingly engaging performance. He makes every bit of that movie, even the more unbelievable parts, feel nothing less than absolutely real. I’m a little mixed on X3; had they changed just a couple of little things, such as how Magneto treats Mystique after she saves his life, I’d have loved it. But I still like it a lot for what it is. Batman Returns is very strange, too. I love Keaton in it, and I love Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance even if I hate the film’s Catwoman origin. The Penguin is flat-out gross. I like it as a twisted Tim Burton fairy tale featuring Batman, but not as a Batman movie. But I did like that Michael Gough’s Alfred had a bigger role. And I’m with you on Fantastic Four; it seemed like they just weren’t putting any real effort into the scripts in those films. What a waste.

  9. Bret says:

    5 best …

    1. (reserved until July 18.). Dark Knight. period.

    2. Batman Begins- A comic book movie that is as serious as most dramas … a recipe for greatness

    3. Spider-Man 2- This is Spider-Man. The personal struggle, the villains, the snappy banter, it’s all there.

    4. Sin City- the clever filming techniques won this one over for me. It looks like you’re watching a moving comic-book.

    5. X2- Characters made this great. I am a long-time fan of the comics. Singer nailed the personalities.

    * I would also like to reserve a spot for the upcoming Watchmen movie. I hope great things from this.

    5 worst …

    1. Spider-Man 3. Yes, I own it … but it was the biggest let down after 2 was sooo good.

    2. Superman Returns. Dead-beat dad Supes comes back from vacation to hit on Lois again and mess with poor James Marsden’s life. Poor Marsden always picks the role of the guy who gets screwed over and never gets the girl …

    3. Batman and Robin. “Hi Freeze, I’m Batman!” Nuff said.

    4. The Hulk. Good actors, bad story, effects, direction, etc.

    5. X3 The Last Stand. I don’t hate this one … but it’s here b/c it could’ve been so much more than it was.

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