erik lundegaard

Superheroes posts

Wednesday February 24, 2016

Ranking The Hollywood Reporter's Ranking of Every Marvel Comics Movie

Spider-Man 3 sucks

“Oh no! Even though THR forgot how bad I was, EL is darkening my bad name again!”

The Hollywood Reporter put together a ranking of every Marvel movie ever made. I mean ever. Roger Corman is included. So is “Man-Thing,” a 2005 film I didn't even know existed

All in all, it's not a bad list. It was put together by John DeFore, Leslie Felperin, and Jordan Mintzer, and my main beefs, off the top of my head, would be:

  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” should be higher
  • “Spider-Man 3” should be much, much lower 

Aw, fuck it. Here's their ranking, and mine, sorted by the difference between us. (I've eliminated the seven or so Marvel movies I haven't seen: the “Blade” movies and the like.) Links go to my reviews.

The movies at the top are the ones THR ranked higher; at the bottom, the ones I ranked higher. Your results will vary. 

THR MOVIE ME DIFF
24 Spider-Man 3 35 11
9 Avengers: Age of Ultron 18 9
20 Hulk (2003)  29 9
26 X-Men: The Last Stand 34 8
13 The Amazing Spider-Man 20 7
12 Deadpool 17 5
8 Ant-Man 12 4
5 Spider-Man 8 3
27 Daredevil  30 3
30 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vegeance 33 3
29 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 31 2
1 The Avengers 2 1
3 Iron Man 4 1
4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier 5 1
10 Captain America: The First Avenger 11 1
14 X-Men: Days of Future Past 15 1
21 Iron Man 3 22 1
22 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 23 1
7 X-Men 7 0
16 The Wolverine (2013) 16 0
2 Spider-Man 2 1 -1
15 Iron Man 2 14 -1
25 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) 24 -1
33 Elektra 32 -1
6 X-Men 2 3 -3
28 Ghost Rider 25 -3
31 Fantastic Four (2005) 28 -3
17 Thor 13 -4
23 Thor: The Dark World  19 -4
11 Guardians of the Galaxy 6 -5
32 Fantastic Four (1994) 26 -6
35 Captain America (1990) 27 -8
18 The Incredible Hulk 9 -9
19 X-Men: First Class 10 -9
34 Fantastic Four (2015) 21 -13

Yeah, that's right. I'll go out on a limb that FF2015 wasn't great but it's not nearly as bad as everyone's making it out to be. I think it's the best of the FFs. Low bar, I know. 

Mostly, though, I agree with THR.

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Posted at 06:25 PM on Feb 24, 2016 in category Superheroes
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Wednesday January 27, 2016

Captain America vs. Donald Trump

Researching this post, I found myself reading the last issue of the 1950s Captain America series. At that time, superhero comics were on the outs and Timely/Marvel was down to Cap, who was in his “commie smasher” persona; but his run finally ended with issue #78 in Sept. 1954.

In the last story of that last issue, he battles Chuck Blayne, the idol of American boys everywhere, who counsels them to keep clean minds, strong bodies and “play to win.” Cap is suspicious.  

The last story in the last issue of Captain America in the 1950s

As he should be, since Blayne is really a Soviet spy. To be honest, Blayne's plot is lame. He tries to turn American boys against the U.N. by showing how weak it is, and, in this regard, plants a bomb and laughs that no one can do anything about it. It's a little over-the-top. Surely someone could've come up with a less maniacal plan. 

The last story in the last issue of Captain America in the 1950s

After Cap wins the day, he talks up who Blayne initially reminded him of. These are the last panels of Captain America until he was resurrected by Stan and Jack in Avengers #4 in March 1963:

The last story in the last issue of Captain America in the 1950s

Two things in particular struck me about this story:

  • The U.N. is seen as a positive force, something our enemies are trying to undermine. I guess it would be a while before the whole “black helicopters” meme took a stronger hold in the right-wing mind. 
  • Play to win vs. Good sportsmanship. Cf., any Donald Trump speech.
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Posted at 09:40 AM on Jan 27, 2016 in category Superheroes
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Tuesday January 26, 2016

Comic Book Spinner Rack, May 1956

I don't remember where I got this photo, but it reminds me how much I miss the comic book spinner racks that used to be in every drug store, and quite a few supermarkets, when I was growing up in the 1970s. When did they disappear? Late '70s? I think specialty comic stores began to get better deals from the manufacturer/distributor, comic book geeks flocked there, boom. Another example of our social fragmentation.

comic book spinner rack: May 1956

The photo must be from around May 1956 since the Superman comic in the kid's hands is this one, which is May 1956. Other clues: The Action Comics on the rack is most likely this April 1956 one, while the real key is “Matt Slade, Gunfighter,” which only ran for four issues, all of them in, of course, 1956. The one on the rack appears to be Matt Slade #1. Collector's item!

For all the nostalgia of the photo, it was a bad time for comic books. The post-war comic bonfires of the late '40s were followed by Dr. Frederic Wertham's denunciations of how comics warped young minds (made us violent and/or gay); this was followed by U.S. Senate hearings. As a result we got the Comics Code Authority and a lot of westerns and kids comics (Little Lulu, Casper, Woody Woodpecker) as well as celebrity comics, such as “The Adventures of Bob Hope,” which ran from 1950 to 1968, believe it or not. What superheroes remained became toothless. Marvel/Timely was in fact out of the superhero biz: Its remaining hero, Capt. America, ended his run in Sept. 1954.

Kid seems happy enough, though.

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Posted at 06:40 AM on Jan 26, 2016 in category Superheroes
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Friday August 07, 2015

From the Studio that Brought You Elektra, Daredevil, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, X-Men: The Last Stand, and the First Two Shitty Fantastic Four Movies...

How bad is the new “Fantastic Four”? Its director, Josh Trank, who directed the well-received “Chronicle” a few years ago, is already making excuses, blaming the movie studio in all but name in a tweet that was posted yesterday and then quickly removed, but not before it was archived. 

Which movie studio? Fox, of course. The studio that would give goddamned webshooters and a bat cape to Wolverine.  

Here's the list of superhero movies they've released since their own “X-Men” reinvented the genre back in 2000, along with Rotten Tomatoes ratings and IMDb ratings:

Year Movie Director RT% IMDb 
2000 X-Men Bryan Singer 81% 7.4
2003 X2: X-Men United Bryan Singer 86% 7.5
2003 Daredevil Mark Steven Johnson  44% 5.3
2003 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Stephen Norrington 17% 5.8
2005 Elektra Rob Bowman 10% 4.8
2005 Fantastic Four Tim Story 27% 5.7
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Brett Ratner 58% 6.8
2006 My Super Ex-Girlfriend Ivan Reitman 40% 5.1
2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Tim Story 37% 5.6
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Gavin Hood 38% 6.7
2011 X-Men: First Class Matthew Vaughn 87% 7.8
2012 Chronicle Josh Trank 85% 7.1
2013 The Wolverine James Mangold 70% 6.7
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Bryan Singer 91% 8.1
2015 Fantastic Four Josh Trank 9% 4.1

Essentially Bryan Singer started them off with two good “X-Men” movies, then they screwed up for the next decade with crappy, mind-numbing movies until they revived the “X-Men” series in a positive-ish way. Plus Josh Trank's “Chronicle.”

It could be that Trank's original vision wasn't that good. It could be that the Fantastic Four, Marvel's first superheroes, who are more or less updated versions of 1) Plastic Man, 2) The WWII-era Human Torch, 3) The Invisible Man and 4) every rock creature out of every crappy 1950s Marvel mag, just don't work in the 21st century.

But I'm betting there are idiot execs at Fox who ruined this thing with their dumb ideas. Or at least ruined it further.

Whatta revoltin' development. 

ADDENDUM: My friend Ciam pointed me to this Vulture piece on the long, tangled, gossip-ridden buzz for the new FF movie, and which mostly blames Trank and lets the studio off the hook. Maybe. But that doesn't explain all of the above. 

Fantastic Four: From the studio that brought you X-Men: Days of Future Past

From the studio that brought You Elektra, Daredevil, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: The Last Stand, and the first two shitty Fantastic Four movies.

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Posted at 11:08 AM on Aug 07, 2015 in category Superheroes
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Sunday May 03, 2015

The Avengers '78

This is pretty good although the “'78” is a bit of a misnomer. I'll give them the Hulk but the Thor episodes came about in, I believe, 1988, while the Captain America movie was from 1979. I know that one for sure because I suffered through it last year.

Anyone know the “Black Widow” or “Iron Man” or “Tony Stark” characters? I love the Hawkeye takeoff. But my favorite joke is probably “Paul Lynde as Loki.” You had to live through the '70s to truly appreciate that one. 

Good theme music, too. Yes, we were lame. 

Now these characters, who barely made it onto TV in the '70s in this watered-down form, gross $1.5 billion worldwide from one movie alone.

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Posted at 06:04 PM on May 03, 2015 in category Superheroes
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