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The Best Movies Based on Comics

A History of ViolenceSo, the fine folks over at Moviefone have crafted their take on the 20 best movies based on comic books. Go ahead and give their feature a look. Really, go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

Back? OK, now if you’re anything like me, I’ll bet you’ve got some quibbles with that list. I mean, sure, most of the worthy candidates are represented (kudos for that), but the rankings on my own list are … rather different. Also, while the following three flicks I’ve selected for target practice all ranked in the bottom five of the Moviefone list, I still can’t help but comment on the fact that these three turkeys made ANY list of the best comic book movies:Dick Tracy? Come on, it’s not even based on a comic book, it’s based on a comic strip! (Oh yeah, and also, it’s really bad.)

Constantine?? Yuck, even by generic action movie standards, this one’s a dud. What a waste of a classic character.

Hulk??? Jeez, if we’re including Hulk, we might as well include Ben Affleck suiting up in his S&M gear for Daredevil. And they’ve got Hulk ranked higher than American Splendor?!! Why, if I weren’t the mild-mannered reporter sort, I might just have to Hulk out on the editors over there at Moviefone!

Instead, I’ll channel that energy into a rebuttal in the form of my own picks for the top five movies based on comics:

5. X-2: X-Men United. If there had been X-Men movies when I was a kid, and they’d been this good, I honestly think my head might have exploded. Bryan Singer topped himself with the sequel to his (excellent in its own right) first X-flick, and gave us that rarity of rarities: a superhero movie that is both eye-popping and thoughtful. Bravo.

4. Sin City. “Simply translate [the comic] to the screen” was Robert Rodriguez’s brilliant approach to adapting the source material, and his test footage (otherwise known as the movie’s prologue) convinced Frank Miller to come on board. Such was Rodriguez’s passion for the film that he resigned from the Director’s Guild in order to share co-directing credits with series creator, Miller. The results are simply awe-inspiring.

3. American Splendor. This one just missed being my pick for 2002′s movie of the year when In America topped it late in the year, but second best ain’t chopped liver. Featuring what are arguably career-best performances from the always superb Paul Giamatti and the sublime Hope Davis, this wildly inventive comic book adaptation is absolutely a film worthy of celebration.

2. Spider-Man. Easily the best superhero origin story filmed thus far, Sam Raimi’s genuinely thrilling Spider-Man captures all of the excitement of its source material. More importantly, it also perfectly captures all of the humanity and joy of its source material. The perfect superhero movie.

1. A History of Violence. This one’s bulletproof in every respect. Not only is it a pitch-perfect adaptation of an excellent graphic novel, but it was the best movie of 2005, period. It’s just unfortunate that more people didn’t see it … if you’re among those unfortunates, however, you can pick up the DVD at your earliest opportunity and see what you’ve been missing.

Agree with my picks? Disagree? Go ahead, and lemme have it. Even we mild-mannered reporter types can take a critical punch!

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