This summer was a bonanza for superhero flicks: We had Iron Man, Hancock, Hellboy 2, The Incredible Hulk, and, of course, The Dark Knight. They’ve all come out, and for my purposes, the summer is over. And for the most part, they were a good crop. Here they are, from best to worst. It’s forced me to reorder my Best Superhero Films Of All Time page. Check it out to see where these 5 films fall in the grand scheme of my opinions.
5. Hancock. This is clearly the worst of the 5, and the only one that I can say I did not enjoy from start to finish. I usually like Will Smith movies. I even enjoyed “I Am Legend.” But Hancock sucked drippy farts out of a dead baby’s ass. Will Smith must have gone to the Harrison Ford school of acting for this movie, because he has only one expression on his face for the entire first half. It’s a pouty scowl, where he squints and purses his lips like he’s about to kiss a grandma, which is supposed to convey “tortured soul.” By the time his big character transformation occurs, he’s completely unlikable, and the change from zero to hero is wholly unbelievable. Plus, the movie is full of needless profanity (tons of uses of the words “asshole” and “shit”) and uses the same image–of Hancock shoving a man’s head up another man’s asshole (there’s that word again!)–over and over. It isn’t really funny the first few times he says it, so that by the time he actually does it, the joke has lost all its impact. And Hancock bullies a little boy (who, okay, is also a bully). It’s almost impossible to bring a character back from doing that. And Smith doesn’t do it. What a huge, flaming disappointment.
4. The Incredible Hulk. Far better than any other cartoon or live depiction of the green goliath, and full of fun insider jokes (including the theme to TV show, from which the movie borrows its theme of Banner as a fugitive going from town to town helping people). Bonus points for not getting bogged down with the origin, too.
3. Iron Man. Yes, I am putting this below the other two. It was a lot of fun, and a great movie, no doubt. But there were several flaws: The villain was lame; the fight scenes were dark and close-quartered, making them difficult to follow; and the secret identity was more interesting than the superhero. Still, this is one of the top 10 superfilms of all time, so I’m not complaining.
2. Hellboy 2. Incredible visuals from the director of Pan’s Labyrinth; a look that is true to Mike Mignola’s brilliant comic book; and the best use of a Barry Manilow song ever. I laughed out loud several times during the film, and was on the edge of my seat for most of the rest.
1. The Dark Knight. If you don’t know why I picked this as #1, you simply haven’t seen it.