THEY’RE BOTH WRONG…. Matt Yglesias considers the decade in comic-book adaptations.
We had a lot of comic book adaptations in the zeros, and the best of them, contrary to what you might have heard, is Iron Man. I promise you that this is a better movie than The Dark Knight. Go back and watch them again if you don’t believe me. I’m not sure what’s led people to get confused about this — I think maybe people have decided that the use of a darker color pallet makes Dark Knight more serious, which is itself a lot sillier than using bright colors in your comic book adaptation. Dark Knight isn’t even as good as Batman Begins!
Dave Weigel offers an alternative take.
Matthew Yglesias says it’s “Iron Man,” which I think is reflective of the back-loaded bias of so many decade retrospectives. “Spider-Man,” which came out seven years ago, is clearly the adaptation of the decade. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin/Norman Osborn is a fantastic villain (remember the mirror monologues? of course you do) with motivations that make sense and a great denouement. Kirsten Dunst, as bland as she can be, makes a great dream girl, and the resolution of the romance is so good that J.K. Rowling ripped it straight off for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Like “Iron Man,” it nails the ecstasy of the origin scene, but “rich man gets powers” is a less satisfying transition than “nerd gets everything he wants.”
They’re both wrong. The adaptation of the decade was “Spider-Man 2.” Doc Ock was infinitely more interesting than the Goblin; the train sequence was one of the best of the genre; Peter’s existential crisis of confidence made for a more meaningful arc; and the nerd didn’t really get everything he wanted until the sequel, making the conclusion that much more satisfying.
“Iron Man” was all matter of fun, but c’mon, it didn’t really have a script and Iron Monger wasn’t well thought out. Both “Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins” were superior. For that matter, “X2” is widely underappreciated — Brian Cox always makes good movies even better — and deserves to be part of the mix for the decade’s best.
Let’s also not overlook some other fairly strong showings, including the “Hellboy” movies, “Watchmen,” and “300.”
The genre also had some clunkers this decade. Matt singles out “Daredevil” and “Elektra” as the worst of the ’00s, and while they are awful, I’d say “Catwoman” and both of the “Fantastic 4” movies were even worse.
What say you?