TOP TEN SUPER-HERO MOVIES YA GOTTA SEE BEFORE YOU DIE.
And not one of them is Marvel or DC.
Last time around we took a look at Number Ten to Number Six. This time we will finish it off starting with Number Five and ending with Number One. So buckle up we’re headed for a ride.
5. THE ROCKETEER (1991)
PRODUCED: Charles Gordon, Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
DIRECTED: Joe Johnston
STARS: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton
INFO: Young stunt pilot Cliff Secord finds a rocket pack and uses it to fly without an airplane. But his heroic actions attract the attention of the FBI and Howard Hughes – who are after the rocket pack – and the Nazi agents who stole the pack from Hughes in the first place.
COMMENT: Nicely done adaptation of a comic book to the big screen. The actors look like they were pulled from the comic. I wondered how they were going to pull off casting the love interest. In the comic she is called Betty and is based on Bettie Page. In the movie they change her name to Jenny and she is played by Jennifer Connelly. Nicely done. Billy Campbell is perfect and so is Timothy Dalton. If you haven’t seen it check it out. If you have seen it check it out again.
4. HELLBOY (2004)
PRODUCED: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin (yeah they did THE ROCKETEER too).
DIRECTED: Guillermo del Toro.
STARS: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Karel Roden, John Hurt.
INFO: Rescued from Hell and raised to defend the planet. After scores of adventures, he faces his greatest challenge. Not the Nazis monsters who pit themselves against him. That is easy. Instead, he must face unrequited love and the death of a loved one. That stuff really hurts.
COMMENT: A really fun comic book comes to the screen as a really fun movie. Don’t you just love Ron Perlman? Put him in a movie and you know you’re in for a blast. And we also have Doug Jones as Abe Sapien. He and Perlman are the two actors who don’t seem to mind spending hours sitting in a make-up chair. And we the fans reap the benefits. And of course there is John Hurt. This movie is geek paradise. Oh yeah, there are Nazis and monsters and action and violence and you get scared and you laugh and you want to weep and you scarf down a ton of popcorn. Need I say more?
3. THE MASK (1994)
PRODUCED: Robert Engelman.
DIRECTED: Chuck Russell.
STARS: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Greene.
INFO: Finding the mask of Loki turns out to be a life changing event for nerd Stanley Ipkiss (ya gotta love that name). Wearing the mask he becomes a shape-changing, supernatural ladies man oozing charm and sex appeal. This catches the attention of nightclub singer Tina Carlyle. Unfortunately, Stanley also catches the attention, and pisses off, crime boss Dorian Tyrell.
COMMENT: I’ve got to tell you I am not a big fan of Jim Carrey. In fact, I only like two of his movies – this one and THE MAJESTIC (2001). I really like this movie. As you can see it is number three on my list. It works mainly because of Jim Carrey – and it is hard for me to say that. No one else could have pulled this off. Maybe Robin Williams. Not only does Carrey give us the elasticity and manic behavior of the Mask but he in effect plays two characters because Stanley is completely different – and Carrey is believable as both. The man can act I have to give it to him and he makes this film shine.
2. HANCOCK (2008)
PRODUCED: Akiva Goldsman, Michael Mann, Will Smith, James Lassiter
DIRECTED: Peter Berg
STARS: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Eddie Marsan
INFO: Hancock is not what you would picture a super-hero. He is scruffy and unkempt. He is drunk most of the time. And he leaves behind a tremendous amount of damage for every super-hero act he performs. To make matters worse he doesn’t care. However, after saving the life of a PR executive, and after meeting his beautiful wife, and after befriending their amazing son, Hancock begins to realize that there might be more to life than he thought. But will this realization kill him?
COMMENT: What is the price of being superhuman? Is it really worth it? This is a question that dates back to the labors of Hercules. A classic theme in a modern movie. For all his power, Hancock is unhappy – and even after his questions are finally answered – he is still all alone. And all of his anguish can be seen in Will Smith’s eyes. Amazing performances, amazing production, it’s just an amazing movie! Meanwhile, the geek – not the hero – gets the girl, and the family, and the career, and walks away happy as a lark. What is the price of being superhuman? Is it really worth it?
1. V FOR VENDETTA (2005)
PRODUCED: Joel Silver, Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski.
DIRECTED: James McTeigue.
STARS: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Rupert Graves, Stephen Fry.
INFO: The world is a mess! England is a police state! Its government is fascist! Its High Chancellor a dictator! The only one who fights back is a masked vigilante known only as V. When V saves a girl named Evey from the secret police he finds an ally in his fight against oppression. But at what cost to Evey?
COMMENT: Okay, I really have to work hard not to gush here. I absolutely adore this movie! It is number one on my list but even if I included Marvel and DC movies, I still think this is the best super-hero movie ever made. Natalie Portman is outstanding! Stephen Rea is superb – as always! Hugo Weaving is amazing! And the fact that he is able to project such a vast range of emotion with his character without once showing his face is a testament to his acting. The story is disturbing. It is meant to be, get over it. The violence is brutal. It is a brutal story about a brutal world. The movie holds no punches, and you walk away having felt as if those punches included one in the gut. But you’re glad you watched it and you will watch it again.
Well gang that is it for this time. Thanks for joining me on my journey thru movie super-herodom. Is super-herodom a word? It didn’t set off my spell check. Anyway, this has been all my opinion on super-hero movies. I’m sure there are entries you disagree with and movies you feel should have made the list. Politely disagreeing is part of the fun. Until next time my friends, keep dreaming and I hope the universe gives you all of your dreams.