The first movie from Marvel Studios began with a huge bang thanks to its competent director and charismatic star. Robert Downey Jr. brought so much energy to this role it seems he was born to play it. Cocky and confident and struggling to make right what he believes he helped make wrong. I never read any of these comics, because I'm a DC man, but you didn't have to have read a thing to have fun with this movie. It both introduces its hero well and shows his struggles to change for the better to help the world. The chemistry with the entire cast was very noticeable and helped make the movie feel natural. Also, Jeff Bridges playing a bearded bald bad guy? Can't go wrong with that.
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I hated, absolutely hated this graphic novel. I remember a member of the youth group I was helping out with, told me to read it because it was the best comic he ever read…I regret listening to him. It was pretentious and boring, so very boring, although it did have an interesting story idea. I actually was reading it while waiting in line for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight with the very same guy who recommended it. We went into the theater and the trailer for the following year’s release of Watchmen was attached. It blew me away. It looked fantastic and was one of the best trailers that year. When I finally got to see the movie, to me, it blew the graphic novel away. Went too far in some of its graphic scenes for sure, but when I walked out of the movie I was still thinking about its themes and the moral questions it raised. I like thinking about a movie when I am not only entertained but my mind is sparked with interest on what it was about.
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Hands down the best comic book movie ever made. Can it or will it hang on to that title, only time will tell. This was the last film I saw at a midnight screening before swearing ever doing that sort of thing again and I even saw it a few hours later the next day. It was the first film ever to successfully use viral advertising and I still remember receiving a call at work from a guy claiming he was kidnapped by a clown before a gunshot, maniacal laugh and then a dial tone. Who knew a Hollywood film would make a case for the war on terrorism and the Bush doctrine? Who knew that someone would come along and make Jack Nicholson look like an amateur? Heath Ledger did such a fantastic job that, even before the release of the film, people were talking Oscar. Who knows if The Dark Knight Rises will dethrone this one day, with Nolan behind it, it definitely is a possibility.
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Batman Forever wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as I hear people say it is. Batman and Robin was so horrible it’s no doubt Arnold gave up on acting and decided to ruin the state California instead. So when that film flushed that film franchise down the toilet, it was amazing to me when a few years later I found out that the Memento director was going to bring it back to life. I was very excited. I am a full-grown man and I still have an obsession with this character and even still read new graphic novels about him. I wasn’t sure about the choice of Christian Bale as the title character or that it was going to be set in a more realistic world than it had been before. When it came out, I salivated all over again about the possibilities that would be brought to me by Christopher Nolan. It is the best origin movie and had fantastic acting, even by smaller characters with big names like Tom Wilkinson.
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Most all reviewers I have read will disagree with me here and say its first sequel was the better film, but for me this first X-men movie was the best. I remember watching the X-men cartoon on Fox and a lot older than I should have been when watching it. While watching that cartoon, I wondered what it would be like to have a movie version of what I was watching. Could it be done? Bryan Singer came along a few years later and showed me it could. I remember seeing an early picture of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and thinking “who is Hugh Jackman? Wolverine looks like a weirdo.” Boy how wrong I was. I remember seeing the movie no less than 4 times in the theater and not being able to get enough of it. Ian McKellen was awesome as Magneto, Patrick Stewart was a no brainer, Cyclops was played as the annoying do-gooder he is well by James Marsden and Hugh Jackman made a believer out of me. (This list was made before I saw X-men: First Class and that movie would be here on this list if I hadn’t already reviewed it).
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