Time to take a look at some more random superhero movies.
Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer — I can’t really comment on the first movie, since I’ve never seen it all the way through. Not that I haven’t had my opportunities: it was an in-flight movie during a particularly long international trip, and I did my best to avoid it. However, I did see the second movie at a drive-in. Ugh. So the Stan Lee cameo was awesome (and surprisingly, actually canon), but the rest was pretty blah and forgettable. And how could they screw up Dr. Doom so badly? He’s the greatest supervillain in all Marvel, for Pete’s sake! He wore a mask and cape long before Darth Vader made it the symbol of villainy! Gah! Rating: 2/5
Superman — Was and still is the pinnacle of superhero movies. There is absolutely nothing I can say that’s bad about it, so I’m not going to even try. Heck, most origin stories are pretty rote and tedious; here, it’s the best part in the entire movie! Sure, Superman travelling faster than the speed of light to go back in time was a little cheesy, but he was always pulling stuff like that off in the comic books. You just had to stick “Super” behind a verb, and voila! new superpowers. Don’t underestimate the giddy imagination of the Silver Age. Rating: 5/5
Batman Returns — There has been a movement recently that this was the best Batman movie before Batman Begins. And I scratch my head. Why? This was an utterly joyless exercise where you didn’t even feel like really rooting for the hero at all and left you wondering if Penguin wasn’t right to have the entire city destroyed. This is the movie where Catwoman is thrown out of a window and as a result develops cat-like powers (including, as it is suggested at the end, a cat’s nine lives). Sure, it looks a lot better in comparison to the Shumaker sequels, but c’mon. Batman Returns was as needlessly dour as Batman & Robin was as needlessly ridiculous. And at least the latter had some laughable “cold” puns delivered by the Governor of California. Rating: 2/5
Batman & Robin — unfortunately, THIS is the worst movie of all time, superhero or otherwise. I get some joy nowadays from Arnie’s horribly ridiculous one-liners (“What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age”), but that’s all. Everything else about this movie is so bad that you just want to take a claw-hammer and smash every existing reel, VHS, and DVD on the market. The unnecessary addition of Batgirl. The Hockey Team from Hell. The fact that Mr. Freeze was one of the most sympathetic villains on the Animated Series, and the movie just ruined him. Then you want to go down to TBS (the Superstation) and demand that they stop airing this movie 24/7. Only then will the nightmares stop. Rating: 0/5
Supergirl — You know, I must have seen this movie at least three times in my lifetime, and I can’t remember a single thing about it. IMDB says Peter O’Toole was in it, so I’ll have to take their word of it. Wasn’t there some kind of witch who turned into a monster in the end? Or am I thinking of Enchanted? Gosh, that Amy Adams has such a wonderful screen presence doesn’t she? And that movie was absolutely robbed at Oscar time. I realize I’m not talking much about Supergirl, but it was so utterly forgettable that there isn’t much to talk about. Rating: 1/5
Mystery Men — It’s too bad that this movie bombed at the box office, because it isn’t terrible at all. Maybe they were doing too hard to make the superheroes low rent and the villains too ridiculous. Maybe the source material was too obscure: even comic geeks don’t immediately recall side characters from The Flaming Carrot. Maybe it’s because parodies of superheroes rarely do well on the big screen (which shoots down my hopes and dreams of seeing the Great Lakes Avengers movie). I came across one comment, though, that easily pinpointed where the movie went off the rails: when Captain Amazing dies, and it’s the Mystery Men’s fault. I love dark humor as much as anyone, but when the good guys screw up this badly, it makes me think that they should quit before more people get killed. (However, I’d heard a rumor somewhere that “Captain Amazing” was originally going to be The Flaming Carrot. If that was the case, then the death would be much more awesome. Stupid vegetables.) Rating: 3/5