Your deep dive into the top 100 Superhero films of all time!
#49: The Amazing Spider-Man
We’re Sorry For Emo Peter…
Well, we’re back once more to talk about a film from Bubbawheat’s list. This time we’re focusing on the reboot of Spider-Man featuring Mr Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans. There’s a few things that I will need to bring up here, so I think it’s best if we speed right along!
This film was one that I wasn’t excited about the first time I saw it. Despite the issues most people had with Spider-Man 3, I had no real problems with it other than agreeing that there were too many villains and that Venom was poorly used, so I could have left the Spider-Man films alone and been fine until Tom Holland arrived. However, this film was made and I did end up watching it. And I shall air my issue with how Spider-Man has been portrayed now, since otherwise it’ll simply be an Elephant in the blog.
The Elephant Is Dealt With
Tom Holland does a fantastic young Peter, and is a great Spider-Man, so I am taking the newest iteration off the table for these reviews. Spider-Man and Peter Parker are two sides of the same coin. Spider-Man is quick witted, very loose-lipped and also just fun to watch in a fight. Peter Parker is more of a nerdy guy, less confident in himself and more concerned with how his alter-ego is perceived than himself. The first 3 films has a fantastic portrayal of Peter. Tobey Macguire, in my opinion, was a brilliant Peter. He summed up what I understood Peter to be from what I’d read and watched before I saw the film. Andrew Garfield, however, is awesome as Spider-Man. He’s got the swagger, the quick quips and the physicality. But they both failed to accurately portray the other sides. If you could give me Macguire as Peter while Garfield played Spider-Man, I think you’d have the ultimate combo. That being said, back to the review.
Back To The Review!
See! So, I watched this film once when it came out. And my first rewatch happened about 2 days ago. This film left no real impression on me. I didn’t think that the actors did a bad job, I just thought that the choices they made were kinda dull. The villain could have been handled in a much more interesting way, rather than having him be the guy who just gets overtaken by the experiment that he created (sound familiar, Spider-Man 2 fans?). It might have been cool to see him intentionally turn himself into a part-lizard. That way, he has to choose between his job and his arm, leading him to overdose and turn permanently into The Lizard. The finale could have been a full fight with Peter desperate to get through to his father’s colleague but with his mind finally unable to fully comprehend his actions, Peter was forced to subdue him and then look for a cure. You’ve then got a villain that could be in the background for the next one. But hey, I don’t write the films. I just review them. I also admired the filmmakers going with Gwen as the love interest, following the comics more closely. However, I felt that she didn’t really add much other than to be possibly in danger or to give Peter someone to share his whole self with. And that’s not a bad thing, but in a film like this it’s mostly a trope. And one I’d like to see vanish. Ah well.
Another thing was that we had to follow several plot-lines in the film that kinda muddied the water. You’ve got Spidey starting out, you’ve got Lizard, you’ve got Peter and Gwen getting together, you’ve got Peter finding out about his father’s work. On top of that, you’ve got an (albeit marvelous) Uncle Ben storyline. That was my favourite part of the film. Which was a shame because it was in the first 40% or so of it and kinda sloped downhill from there. And then end of that story-line was a bit poor, especially since rather than directly not stopping the man who killed his uncle (as in the first trilogy), he just stands there. That’s it. Anyway, especially for the first film in a hopeful franchise, you really should stick to a couple of plots and tighten up the writing. OK, griping over!
Things I Did Like!
Before I hop on over to Bubbawheat, here’s a few things about the film that I really did enjoy. That way you don’t think I’m just a grumpy old man. I’m simply a grumpy young man right now…
I did enjoy Spider-Man. He felt more in tone with what I think of when I imagine him interacting with his foes and the general public.
I quite enjoyed Uncle Ben. I felt like he was closer to a realistic father figure than the super-sweet man from the original run.
I liked that Peter had to build his own webbing. I’m sure you can guess why by now.
Ok Mr Wheat, it’s your time to shine!
Bubbawheat here, I also watched this movie when it first came out, but I think I’ve seen it a couple times since and I go back and forth between how much I enjoy it. I remember when it first came out, I placed it just below Spider-Man 2. After watching it again just now it’s gone down quite a bit but I still enjoy the first half of this movie. That’s mostly because that’s where all the best characters and relationships are. Emma Stone and Martin Sheen are the two highlights of this film. It helps that Gwen Stacy is an intellectual equal to Peter and makes more sense that she is attracted to Peter, not only that but the chemistry between the two actors is fantastic. Sheen as Uncle Ben is also great, especially with his interactions between himself and Aunt May. He’s very much the more authoritarian of the two, but you can definitely see that it comes from a place of love. This time around, I actually like how they show Peter breaking the rules early on which is a contrast with how he views things after Ben dies. Things really fall apart in the latter half and Rhys Ifans’s ugly Lizard with poor motivations. There are still good moments here and there, but it’s a poor villain with middling action.
As for the importance to superhero cinema as a whole, this was more or less the first big controversial reboot as it came out a mere 5 years after the latest Sam Raimi Spider-Man 3. They brought in a director who was best known for a genre-stretching romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer and had an overly fitting last name. It was initially considered to be a reboot more true to its comics origins, but ultimately the only real changes that were made were having Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane and having his web-shooters be external rather than organic. It’s close proximity to the Sam Raimi films probably led to its less-than-stellar box office where it made less than all three previous films, but still made $757 million worldwide, enough to warrant a sequel and discussions of further expansions of the Amazing Spider-Man cinematic universe with plans for a Sinister Six movie being teased within this movie’s sequel. It was generally well received by critics despite not having the iconic Uncle Ben line “With great power comes great responsibility”.
Alrighty then. On to the sticky business of figuring out the answer to my main 2 questions:
- Would I recommend this film to others?
- Does it deserve a place on this list?
Well, here we go…
Wait! Before you answer those questions, I’ve thought of a third question to ask for each of these movies moving forward. 3. How would you rank the movies thus-far?
Oooh, that’s a good one! You know what, I’ll put that at the end of the questions. So, in order:
1) No. As it is probably clear from this review, I didn’t enjoy it much. What was there that I enjoyed didn’t save it for me and I wouldn’t tell somebody to watch it. However, I wouldn’t tell them not to watch it. This is one of those films that there’s no really strong opinions for one way or the other, which is a little sad given that the character itself is one of the most interesting characters you can make a film about! So yeah, watch this if you think you’ll enjoy it, but there’s no need to spend time tracking it down.
2) I’m not really sure. It’s an interesting one because I think it does serve as an example of a studio trying to reboot a franchise and not doing terribly at it. There have been some really bad reboots (looking at you Fantastic Four), so in that respect it’s worth a mention. At the very least I would not have this film this high on the list. Maybe mid 80’s would be closer to where I’d place it.
3) I’ll have to go with:
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
- BVS: DOJ
Overall, this one still fared better than the other three, but I’ll be intrigued to see how it does over the next few reviews!
Well, that’s another review down! So make sure you watch for those Spidey-senses to start tingling. It probably means that you’re cold. What I’m trying to say is keep a jacket nearby, just in case!
Your deep dive into the top 100 Superhero films of all time!
#50: Batman Vs Superman
What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate…
We’re back! And I bet many of you are wondering how we went right from #100 to #50. Well, there’s a perfectly good explanation. This list’s only 3 films long! Ok, not really. Really we wanted to give you guys a taste of the whole list without you needing to wait until mid-year before hitting any of the films that you’re waiting to hear about. Essentially, moving forward, we will be going back and forth in the list. Our next (re)review will be #99, then #49, and so on. So don’t you worry, we’ve got this!
Right. This film was covered by myself and my podcasting partner on my podcast when it originally came out. At the time, we did not care for it. The plot holes were many, the acting felt “meh” (with a couple of glaring exceptions) and we left the cinema feeling very let down. For this list, we’re reviewing the Ultimate Edition (the 3 hour Director’s Cut), so I sat down to watch it once more. Did it change my mind? Well…
Your deep dive into the top 100 Superhero films of all time!
#100: The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
Don’t Be A Menace To South Gotham While Taking Your Pills On The Beach
So, here we are. We’re starting our (re)reviews of every film on the 100 Essential Superhero Movies – Ranked (up to 2017) with number 100. And that is The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman, otherwise billed as She Was A Hippy Vampire. There are a few things wrong with all that, but we’ll get to them. Firstly, let’s cover my overall impression of the “film”:
This film is weird. Really weird. I’ve seen many strange films in my life, especially given that part of my Film Studies degree involved watching French Avant-Garde cinema, yet this is probably in my top 3. I knew nothing about the making of the film before watching it (or even that it existed before agreeing to review it), and even after reading up on it I am still no closer to understanding it. It seemed to be about Batwoman, though the character in question is both NOTHING like the Batwoman from the comics and surprisingly absent from large parts of the film. In fact, if I had to pick a leading lady from the film, it would be the “Batgirl” who gets kidnapped and put in a cage. She’s in a large number of scenes (though usually dancing around silently) AND she does more to influence the ending than Batwoman. And speaking of the plot….
Bubbawheat here and I’m happy to introduce a new addition to Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights. A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter for someone interested in joining the site to help give me some extra motivation to reinvigorate this site. And to my pleasant surprise, Paul answered the call. I knew him best from his podcast BlokeBusters, and my idea for him is to explore my list of 100 Essential Superhero Movies. It’s a list that I’m quite proud of, and I thought this would be a good excuse for me to revisit some of these movies as well and we will both reconsider whether or not these movies really do deserve to be included on this list.
After running this site for a few years where I have been trying to seek out, watch, and review every superhero and comic book movie that I can find, I decided that I wanted to make a definitive list of superhero movies that captured the essence of the range of superhero movies. Going through the decades and choosing the most influential, the biggest disasters, and simply the best superhero movies out there I hope to try and capture what I like to call the 100 Essential Superhero Movies. If you are a fan of superhero movies at all, these are the first ones that you should seek out. Not all of them are great, but when studying history it pays to not just look at the successes, but to also look at the failures. Also, as this list is being made in 2014, only includes movies made through 2013.
Superman Movies # 1 – 8
Marvel Cinematic Universe # 9 – 15
Comedies # 16 – 24
Batman Movies # 25 – 38
Early Marvel # 39 – 46
Animation #47 – 56
Original Heroes #57 – 65
Borrowed Marvel #66 – 72
Indie Comics #73 – 84
100 Essential Superhero Movies by Release Date
- The Superman Animated Shorts 1941-1943
- Superman and the Mole Men 1951
- Batman: The Movie 1966
- The Wild World of Batwoman 1966
- Mr. Freedom 1969
- Super Infra-Man 1975
- Superman: The Movie 1978
- Superman II (The Richard Donner Cut) 1980
- Flash Gordon 1980
- Swamp Thing 1982
- Return of Captain Invincible 1983
- Superman III 1983
- Supergirl 1984
- The Toxic Avenger 1984
- Howard the Duck 1986
- Robocop 1987
- The Punisher 1989
- Batman 1989
- Return of the Swamp Thing 1989
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990
- Darkman 1990
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze 1991
- The Rocketeer 1991
- Batman Returns 1992
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 1993
- The Meteor Man 1993
- Fantastic Four 1994
- The Shadow 1994
- The Mask 1994
- The Crow 1994
- Tank Girl 1995
- Batman Forever 1995
- Men in Black 1997
- Batman & Robin 1997
- Orgazmo 1997
- Spawn 1997
- Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1998
- Blade 1998
- The Iron Giant 1999
- Mystery Men 1999
- X-Men 2000
- Unbreakable 2000
- Blade 2 2002
- Spider-man 2002
- X2: X-Men United 2003
- Hulk 2003
- Daredevil 2003
- Catwoman 2004
- Hellboy 2004
- The Incredibles 2004
- Spider-man 2 2004
- The Punisher 2004
- Constantine 2005
- Sky High 2005
- Batman Begins 2005
- Fantastic Four 2005
- Superman Returns 2006
- TMNT 2006
- Ultimate Avengers 2006
- Hellboy: Blood + Iron 2007
- Doctor Strange 2007
- Ghost Rider 2007
- Superman: Doomsday 2007
- The Incredible Hulk 2008
- The Dark Knight 2008
- Iron Man 2008
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army 2008
- Hancock 2008
- Batman: Gotham Knight 2008
- Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog 2008
- Green Lantern: First Flight 2009
- Watchmen 2009
- Wonder Woman 2009
- Defendor 2009
- Batman: Under the Red Hood 2010
- Megamind 2010
- Super 2010
- Iron Man 2 2010
- Kick-Ass 2010
- Planet Hulk 2010
- Gantz 2010
- Green Lantern 2011
- X-Men: First Class 2011
- Captain America: The First Avenger 2011
- Thor 2011
- All Superheroes Must Die 2011
- Chronicle 2012
- The Avengers 2012
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2012
- The Dark Knight Rises 2012
- Dredd 2012
- Justice League: Doom 2012
- The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & Part 2 2013
- Thor: The Dark World 2013
- Legends of the Knight 2013
- Iron Man 3 2013
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox 2013
- The Wolverine 2013
- Lego Batman: DC Heroes Unite 2013
- Man of Steel 2013