Exploring New Fun Places (ENFP)

Blogging about the places we travel to both in our minds and in reality. Topics include: travel, comic book movies, superheroes, mixed martial arts, and personal insights.

Ranking the 2008 Comic Book Movies Today

As a child, I couldn't imagine just how popular comic book superheroes would've become today. With both Marvel and DC Comics laying waste to the box office with extravaganzas like Avengers, Batman v Superman and plenty more, it's clear this newish genre of film is the top dog in terms of popularity.

Being a huge comic book fanboy, I am rewatching every comic book “superhero” film from 2008 until 2017 to mark the decade since Marvel Studios took the genre to new heights. We are not limiting it within the MCU and DCEU. We added films that have enough elements of being in a superhero film setting: its own intrinsic fantasy world or “alternate reality”, humanly impossible action sequences, and characters who possess near-superhuman or supernatural abilities.” We see how these films have endured the test of time in comparison today’s lofty standards. Here’s how 2008 stacked up:

7. The Spirit

The worst movie of 2008 is based off Will Eisner’s 1940s newspaper comic strip and despite being directed by iconic comic book writer, Frank Miller, it deviated from the source material to disastrous results. May God have mercy on the few people who spent money to watch this insult of a movie. The film has gorgeous cinematography, which is its only redeeming factor. Its sexist themes, melodramatic acting, and lame attempt at humour make it appalling. All the A-list actors in the world couldn’t save this film. ☆

6. Punisher: War Zone

The late Roger Ebert described this film best, “it’s one of the best-made bad movies I’ve seen.” It is perfectly suited to the style of Marvel Knight’s Punisher, its source material. The film depicts Frank Castle’s Punisher without pretense: gratuitous violence, minimalistic dialogue, and a straightforward plot. The villains in this film like Jigsaw, a disfigured mob boss, are twisted and the action scenes are so over-the-top it feels satirical. A bit more black humour would’ve done well but as it is, it’s an unapologetic B-movie for hardcore fans. ★★☆

5. Wanted

This is the office slave’s wet dream. The film deviates from its source material but retains the satire that made the comic a cult hit. James McAvoy plays a pathetic desk worker until he finds out he is the son of a legendary assassin from a secret society. McAvoy gives an enthusiastic performance as Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie back him up. The film has exaggerated action with plenty of scenes that push your ability to suspend disbelief. Its social commentary and elaborate action sequences make it a fun popcorn movie. ★★☆

4. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

The most underappreciated movie due to being released in arguably the best year for comic book films. Guillermo del Toro continues to produce wholesome fantasy films with its own unique character and he perfectly captures the eccentricity of the source material with this sequel to 2004’s Hellboy. The film is a visual wonder with great effects, costume and makeup that vividly brings this unique tale to life. The story blends archetypal fantasy creatures with science fiction seamlessly. The characters are quirky and original and unfortunately fail to capture an audience. ★★★☆

3. Iron Man

The movie that started the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still highly entertaining today. There is just no denying how magnetic Robert Down Jr. is as Tony Stark and he has arguably transcended the character itself. The script ages well especially considering how simple it contrasts with the superhero orgies of films today. The focus on one Tony Stark, his invention of the suit, budding relationship with Pepper Potts and witty banter are ageless. Iron Man still has that wholesome movie feel that both MCU fans and regular moviegoers can enjoy. ★★★★

2. The Incredible Hulk

Were it not for 2003’s Hulk flop, this would have been a hit. Ed Norton is the spitting image of Bruce Banner and Liv Tyler gives a passionate performance as his lover, Betty. The classic tale between star-crossed lovers is what pushes this movie and makes you want to cheer for either. The disapproving father, mad scientist and obsessed nemesis are archetypal characters that complement the leads. Then there’s the constant Hulk action paired by a perfect Hulk-sized villain. Easter Eggs were plenty. This film deserved a bigger spotlight. ★★★★

1. The Dark Knight

The greatest Batman film doesn’t have the flash the new DC Cinematic Universe has and that’s what makes it age gracefully. It has a more mature story with an all-time performance from Heath Ledger as the Joker. He serves as the perfect foil to Batman. For all the great Batman does it is never enough. We are left to feel for a hero whose humanity shines brighter than his superhero abilities. The film resonates today with much less pizazz than the special effects orgies of both the MCU and DCEU. A true classic. ★★★★★