Top 5: Comic Book Movies 5. Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marc Webb | May 2, 2014 Spidey has a soft place in my heart, and ASM2 captures the spirit of Peter Parker flawlessly. Andrew Garfield brings the nerdy, intelligent and guilt ridden Parker to life. He is able to deliver the classic Spider-Man banter during battle and convey the importance of family with Aunt May. Gwen Stacy is portrayed as a capable companion and integral part to Spidey’s life by Emma Stone. Together they convey the most adorable and realistic coupling in comic movies. As good as their performances are the true stars are the special effects. Spidey swings in beautiful first person to make viewers feel they are soaring through New York. Electro is spectacular in every scene. And Spidey-sense is depicted as slow motion sequences which convey Peter’s powers perfectly. The story does have its faults, but each individual scene is a superhero spectacle. ASM2 features gripping moments, that even when telegraphed have fans attention till the final moments. 4. Iron Man Jon Favreau | May 2, 2008 If the 2000 release of X-Men brought comic book movies to Hollywood, Iron Man was the repulsor engine that brought them to everyone. Robert Downy Jr. IS Tony Stark. Downy plays Stark as a womanizing, alcoholic, arrogant business owner who changes his outlook on life (sort of) after a near death experience. Through it all, Downy is glib, charismatic and calculating. Everything he says is entertaining and the character has never been better. The movie took cues from the comics, but the comics incorporated elements of the movie; such as RDJ look and the head’s up display in the armor. Iron Man, wisely, keeps the concept and gadgets simple. Yes there is a flying suit of armor but the more comic booky elements of the character are kept in check. The rest of the cast does a serviceable role, but they are merely there for Downy to have someone to interact with. The film started a Marvel tradition of including Easter eggs in the closing credits and planted the seeds for another mighty comic book entry… 3. The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan | July 18, 2008 Dark and gritty was not a term applied to comics until Frank Millar’s The Dark Knight Returns. Borrowing from the title and set in the “realistic” universe Nolan created in Batman Begins, came The Dark Knight. Christian Bale plays Batman in a gravelly voice as he continues his war on crime. The true star of the movie is Heath Ledger as the Joker. He is more a force of nature, tearing destruction and rampage throughout Gotham than a fully fleshed out character. Which is exactly what the Joker should be. The character work occurs as Harvey Dent descends from Gotham’s white knight, into the hero the city deserves. Alfred, Fox, Gordon and the supporting characters are here for a purpose and flesh out the world around Batman. No one has a throwaway appearance or shoehorned into the story. The Dark Knight is an action-adventure movie that just happens to have the Batman coat of paint on top. 2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Anthony & Joe Russo | April 4, 2014 Non-stop momentum carries this movie from the first scene to the closing credits. CAWS is consistently transition from one action sequence to the next, and they all culminate in an exciting plot. Chris Evans cements the fact that he is Steve Rogers within this role. He is the American Boy Scout, able to be humble, charismatic and a leader at every turn. Rogers teams up with Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, is the most capable and entertaining sidekick ever. This entry proves that a solo film should be in her future. Anthony Mackie, joins the team as Sam Wilson, a necessary ally to Rogers and confidant. Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, things will never be the same after this installment. Not only because of the story elements within this film, but because it elevated the entire franchise as more than campy one-liners and action sequences (looking at you Thor 2…). CAWS is easily the best told story, willing to engage in social commentary, from any comic book movie. 1. The Avengers Joss Whedon | May 4, 2012 Marvel created a solid foundation with standalone films; audiences were introduced to Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D. Teaming them up was a gamble, and would be a turning point to determine if the comic book bubble would burst and reveal that the concept was overplayed. This did not occur. Avengers is the most fun, exciting and enjoyable comic book movie. The opening few minutes are rough, but once the title card displays and the core cast is introduced, the movie truly shines. Everyone, from Hawkeye to Hulk is a competent member of the team and has a moment in the spotlight. The interactions between the entire team are spot on and capture the dynamic expertly. Especially on first viewing, this is one of the funniest movies that you can ever see. Whedon decides to forgo references for comic fans and focuses on the assembled team. It is a decision that works perfectly as viewers go from fantastical scene to the next. Loki’s motivations are lacking, the villains are throwaway characters but the spectacle and challenge are exactly what fans wanted on the big screen. Level Up, Friends!