Wrapping Up 2017: Ranking the Comic Book Movies with a Special Guest Writer
[The following article is the transcript of a previously recorded exchange between main writer Nathanael Molnár and special guest writer Rob Giachinta, as they rank the comic book movies that came out, as part of their Wrapping Up 2017 editorial series. You can read all of the entries into this series here. This was recorded on Sunday, January 14th]
**There will be spoilers for the movies**
Nathanael: Hello and welcome to The Movie Paradise. I am your host, Nathanael Molnár, and I am joined today by Robert Giachinta.
Rob: What's up, guys?
Nathanael: So, today we're going to be ranking the comic book movies of 2017. So we had a whole bunch of movies--comic book movies--come out. It's actually one of the biggest years for comic book movies that we've seen.
Nathanael: In order of release date, we had The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League. So we've got seven films we're going to talk about; we're going to rank them, and it should be good. So how this is going to work is that I'm going to talk about my #7-5, Rob will talk about his #7-5, then I'll talk about my #4-2, his #4-2, then we'll both talk about what our #1 comic book movie of the year is.
Rob: Sounds good.
#7 Thor: Ragnarok
Nathanael: So, I think we both have the same #7, actually.
Nathanael: Thor: Ragnarok.
Rob: We have the same #6, too.
Nathanael: Yeah, so we can just talk about it at the same time. So, we'll talk briefly about Thor. If you want our full thoughts on Thor, you can check out our Most Disappointing list. There we get into our full thoughts on that movie. [Read that here] But, Thor: Ragnarok was just a major disappointment. It's not a coherent movie. It's not funny. It just doesn't work.
Rob: I wasn't a fan of it. I thought it kind of wasted the villain of Hela.
Nathanael: Cate Blanchett.
Rob: Yeah, I thought that was kind of a waste. I thought all the side characters were just one-liners and they weren't funny.
Nathanael: Yeah, Korg (Taika Waititi) was bad. So, like I said, if you want our full thoughts on Thor, go check out our Most Disappointing list. There we go into a full discussion on that.
[Read our review for Thor: Ragnarok here]
#6 Justice League
Nathanael: So we have the same #6 as well, Justice League. Now, it was better than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was just going to suck, and it didn't suck. It wasn't good, but it didn't completely suck. This should have been DC's Avengers, and it wasn't at all. It just felt very lukewarm, and it was very underwhelming. And you could tell they had been toying around and playing with it for a while. It felt like a sloppy, rushed, put-together film that just didn't work. Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) was a terrible, terrible villain.
Rob: The CGI was awful.
Nathanael: All the CGI in that movie is awful.
Rob: Well, I mean, his especially. It looked like he was [from] a video game!
Nathanael: It did. And I thought a lot of the characterizations... like I didn't really care for Flash (Ezra Miller). I thought he was just weird.
Rob: He was alright. I liked Aquaman (Jason Momoa).
Nathanael: Aquaman was cool. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) was actually my favorite, because I think they actually did the most with his character and actually fleshed him out and gave him a backstory. But I mean, the action just kind of felt--I don't know, I just didn't get into it. I wasn't really invested at all in this movie. I just kind of sat there. I wasn't hating what I was watching it; I was just sitting there, and I wasn't really interested in what was going on.
Rob: I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but overall, in the movie theater, I had a good time watching it. I thought the comradery between the characters was pretty well done. The scenes where they would all meet up and talk and stuff... I liked all of that.
Rob: I liked seeing J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.
Nathanael: He was really good! He was only in there for a couple minutes, though.
Rob: I know. But yeah, I thought the worst part of that movie was the villain.
Nathanael: Yeah. It's just... I know you really like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice a lot.
Nathanael: But most people didn't really care for that, and I didn't either. After Batman v. Superman and after Suicide Squad, I wasn't really expecting much from Justice League. I wasn't expecting it was going to be awesome. And like I said, it was better than I thought it was going to be. But it was still... when I walked out I felt a little bit disappointed, because these DC movies could be really cool and they're just not delivering.
Rob: What're you gonna do?
[Read our review for Justice League here]
#5 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Nathanael: So my #5 is a little different from your #5, and that's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I was a huge fan of the first one, and this movie was actually my most anticipated film of the year. When we did our most anticipated list of 2017, it was my #1. And I could not wait to see it because of how much I loved the first one. I loved all the trailers. And it's not to say I didn't [end up liking] it. I liked it a lot. I just didn't think it was nearly as good as the first one. I don't think all the humor worked in Vol. 2. I think pretty much 99% of the comedy in Vol. 1 landed, whereas I think this one it's more like 65% for me. I really did like Kurt Russell, but by the end he kind of turned into another generic bad guy. I understand it's somewhat following the Empire Strikes Back formula of having the heroes split up and go on their own side missions. That works for Empire, but it doesn't really work here. One of the best parts [of these movies] is when you have them all together, and bouncing jokes off of each other and playing off of each other and riffing on each other-- that's what makes these movies work, and when you have, for most of the film, them separated and on their own missions... it didn't work for me as much. I didn't not like the film; I liked it a lot. It just wasn't nearly as good as the other comic book movies that came out this year. So what's your #5?
[Read our review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here]
Rob's #5- The LEGO Batman Movie
Rob: My #5 is The LEGO Batman Movie. That's a movie that I didn't originally see in theaters, and I ended up seeing it at home On Demand. After seeing the movie, I thought it was a funny movie. I didn't think it was as good as the first LEGO Movie. My fear for it was that LEGO Batman in The LEGO Movie was a great side character. [If] you give him his own movie, I thought, this could be like a Minions situation. But they ended up doing a pretty good job with it. The creators of the film really understood the character of Batman. I liked how they incorporated all of the Batmans into the movie, showing its history. I also liked them adding all the villains and the other characters from the Justice League. You could say it was the better Justice League movie of this year.
Nathanael: It kind of was.
Rob: But yeah, I thought it was a very nice animated movie.
[Read our review for The LEGO Batman Movie here]
#4 Wonder Woman
Nathanael: Anyways, moving on, my #4 is another DC film, Wonder Woman. This movie is really good. It's a really good film. Patty Jenkins does a fantastic job directing. Gal Gadot is surprisingly really good as Wonder Woman. I wasn't sure how she was going to be because she only had a minor role in Batman v. Superman, and I couldn't really gauge how she was [going to be] from that one role, but she carries the film, and she's fantastic in it. Her chemistry with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is excellent. I do have the problem with the villains: I don't think they're that great.
Nathanael: And I don't like the third act battle at the end. It felt very Batman v. Superman-ish.
Rob: I like the part of the battle where she sees Steve Trevor in the plane...
Nathanael: Yeah, that's cool. But I don't think you even needed that battle. I don't think you even needed that fight.
Nathanael: But, other than that, it's a great origin story. It's not filled with comedy, not like a Marvel movie, not like Thor: Ragnarok. [Laughs] But when it does use comedy, it works really well. And overall, it's just a good film. So it isn't higher on my list, but I think Wonder Woman is a really solid movie.
[Read our review for Wonder Woman here]
#3 The LEGO Batman Movie
Nathanael: My #3 is the aforementioned LEGO Batman Movie. I was really surprised by how much I liked this movie. Like you mentioned before, the filmmakers understand Batman, and they really do a great job in... they make fun of him, and it's a spoof film. And I think that's why it works, because it's not taking itself seriously, and it's just having fun at the expense of this character. But it's not shitting on the character. It's not shitting all over the mythology. It's more like, "We all know Batman, so let's poke fun at him", and I think it worked in that sense. I really enjoyed the voice cast. Will Arnett is fantastic as Batman.
Rob: I agree.
Nathanael: I appreciated the level of time and care that went into this film, because very clearly the people who made this know and love Batman. And that really shows when you watch this movie. As a Batman fan, I really appreciated that. So that's why it's so high on my list.
Nathanael: My #2 is Logan. Logan is excellent. I love Logan. Everyone does a fantastic job in this movie. Hugh Jackman is great. Patrick Stewart is great. It's very well written, very well made. We finally get to see that R-rated Wolverine, but it doesn't feel like they're making it R-rated for the sake of an R rating. [The story] actually warrants it. It's a great story. Dafne Keen is fantastic for this introduction to her as a character and as an actor. Overall, it's just so satisfying and well done. I think it's definitely a better film than my #1, but my #1 I enjoyed more. When I was in the theater, I enjoyed it a lot more. Anyways, what's your #4?
[Read our review for Logan here]
#4 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Rob: My #4 is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Nathanael briefly talked about it, but I'm a big fan of the first Guardians, and I thought this Guardians was pretty good too. Did I like it as much as the first one? No, but I thought it was a pretty good movie. I have to say, my biggest gripe with it was probably all of the new characters they added to it.
Rob: The gold people, I didn't really like them. I thought Kurt Russell worked sometimes [but] didn't work other times.
Nathanael: I liked him more when he was a good guy rather than when he was a bad guy.
Rob: Yeah. Also, I wish they would kill off that Nebula (Karen Gillan) character, because I don't find her that entertaining to be completely honest with you. But I thought most of the jokes worked. I thought the action was cool. My favorite character from the movie was Yondu (Michael Rooker).
Rob: I liked his story and his character.
Nathanael: And they actually improved upon him from the first one.
Nathanael: Because in the first one, he's just kind of there but there's not much substance to him.
Rob: Yeah, here we get his backstory.
Nathanael: And it made him a more interesting character.
Rob: It shows what he did to kind of shape Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) life.
Nathanael: Yeah, Guardians Vol. 2 definitely has a lot of things it does right. But personally, I didn't like it as much as the first one and it didn't meet my expectations.
#3 Wonder Woman
Rob: My #3 is one you've spoken about already, and it's Wonder Woman. It got the DC movies back on track...
Nathanael: For like five minutes, and then it crashed again. [laughs]
Rob: [laughs] I think the reason I like this movie most of all is [because] it works best as a World War I movie more than just [as] a superhero movie.
Nathanael: I'm not a big fan of Captain America: The First Avenger, but this is kind of what [I thought] that should have been.
Rob: Yeah, but wasn't that World War II?
Nathanael: Well yeah, but that kind of film. For the war origin story for a superhero, I think it works.
Rob: You have to say they are kind of similar, and I do have to say Wonder Woman is probably the better one, even though I do like The First Avenger. But I like the whole team she was with. The No Man's Land sequence was probably my favorite of the film. I really love the relationship between her and Steve Trevor.
Nathanael: I love Themyscira.
Rob: Yes, I liked all of that too. I thought that was all well done. The action was really good too. I hope Patty Jenkins returns... well, I know she's confirmed, but I hope they actually do a Wonder Woman 2. Because I know there's problems in the DC Universe.
Nathanael: Really? I didn't know about this!
Rob: I think they'll still end up making it, because Wonder Woman made a ton of money. Even if they were wanting to scrap the rest of the DC Universe, I would still make that movie, because I think that movie is bound to make a lot of money. Especially if it's good too.
Nathanael: I mean, Shazam just added a new release date...
Rob: I know! Suicide Squad 2 is getting filmed soon.
Nathanael: So, we'll see.
Rob: Yeah, we'll see.
#2 Spider-Man: Homecoming
Rob: My #2 is Spider-Man: Homecoming. Out of all the comic book movies, I thought this was the funniest one. My favorite Spider-Man film is still Spider-Man 2, because I think it adds a little more stakes to it than this one did. But I think this one understood the character a little bit more, and was almost like pulling him directly out of the comics and putting him on the screen. From my understanding of him in the comics, this was better than the original ones. I also liked that he looked like a high school kid, and not a thirty year old like in the other ones. [laughs] And I thought this movie had the best superhero villain of the year in Vulture (Michael Keaton). I thought he was a great villain. I hope for the next one they continue this streak of good villains, and don't just half-ass it like a Hela or something.
Nathanael: Or a Steppenwolf.
Rob: I thought Ned (Jacob Batalon) was really funny. So, anyways, I thought that was a great movie, and it was the funniest comic book movie of the year.
[Read our review for Spider-Man: Homecoming here]
Nathanael's #1- Spider-Man: Homecoming
Nathanael: So my #1 is Spider-Man: Homecoming. And like I said, I think Logan is a better made movie, but I enjoyed Spider-Man more. As a life-long Spider-Man fan, it was so great to finally... I definitely love aspects of the Sam Raimi [version of Spider-Man]. There's certain things I don't think they did quite right with the character, and then with the Andrew Garfield one there are some things they did right with the character and some things wrong. In terms of Spider-Man, the actual character, I think they nail him [the most] in Homecoming. I agree with what you said; I think Spider-Man 2 is a better movie. But I think this is the best Spider-Man we've had.
Rob: I agree.
Nathanael: The one thing we hadn't seen before, like you were talking about, is the teenage aspect of the character, because we've only had actors who are in their late twenties or early thirties playing this character. We now have like an actual teenager playing Spider-Man. Michael Keaton was awesome as the Vulture. I wasn't expecting that.
Rob: I even liked the little side villains too. I thought they were pretty good.
Nathanael: It didn't take away from it.
Rob: I'm interested to see what they do with the Scorpion (Michael Mando) in the next one.
Nathanael: I think he's going to be like...
Rob: Kind of like a Shocker villain?
Nathanael: I was going to say kind of like what the Rhino (Paul Giamatti) was in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Rob: Oh God!
Nathanael: Where he's the villain for the opening scene, and then he's done. So I think the second Spider-Man: Homecoming movie will probably open with a Scorpion battle.
Rob: Well he's in prison, though.
Nathanael: Yeah, but he could break out.
Rob: Maybe it's him getting out of prison. Who do you think is going to be the villain in the new one?
Nathanael: I think Mysterio. They could go Mysterio.
Rob: Isn't it coming out next year?
Nathanael: Yeah, 2019.
Rob: So that's coming out soon. We should be hearing something soon.
Nathanael: Yeah. I think Mysterio could be the villain. I think Kraven the Hunter could be the villain.
Rob: Could be.
Nathanael: Yeah. So anyways, Spider-Man: Homecoming was my favorite comic book movie of the year because of how much I enjoyed myself in the theater.
Rob's #1- Logan
Rob: My #1 film of the year, what everyone came to hear, is Logan. Not only did this work great as a superhero movie, but I also thought it worked well as a Western, kind of like how Wonder Woman worked as a war film.
Nathanael: Like how Thor: Ragnarok worked as a comedy.
Rob: No. [laughs] If you see the first X-Men movie to the last Wolverine film, you see how much he's grown as a character. I think it kind of took what they wanted to do in The Wolverine... I thought that movie was pretty good up until the end, when they couldn't go R-rated with it. But, with the R-rating [in Logan], they were able to do all sorts of action-filled scenes, where you got to see the blood and the intensity and everything like that. I'm glad that they went ahead and killed off Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman, because if you aren't going to go anywhere else with these characters you might as well just kill them off.
Nathanael: If you didn't actually kill Patrick Stewart off in this movie, his character was going to die the minute after the movie ended. He was almost dead.
Rob: I loved all those aspects when he had those migraines and everything would freeze. Oh my God!
Nathanael: Yeah, it's a great movie.
Rob: I thought all of the performances were good. I thought Boyd Holbrook was a pretty good villain too. I liked his robotic arm. I also liked Stephen Merchant as Caliban. I liked the scene where he blew up the truck. And Dafne Keen I thought was one of the stand-outs of the movie. Wasn't that her first role ever?
Nathanael: I think so.
Rob: To give that kind of performance, that physical of a performance, for your first movie, I tip my hat to you and that's all I have to say.
Nathanael: So just to run those off real quick, my #7 is Thor: Ragnarok, my #6 is Justice League, my #5 is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, my #4 is Wonder Woman, my #3 is The LEGO Batman Movie, my #2 is Logan, and my #1 is Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Rob: My #7 is Thor: Ragnarok, my #6 is Justice League, my #5 is The LEGO Batman Movie, my #4 is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, my #3 is Wonder Woman, my #2 is Spider-Man: Homecoming, and my #1 is Logan.
Nathanael: Alright, and that's going to do it for us today. Make sure to check out the rest of our Wrapping Up 2017 lists. I'd like to thank our special guest writer Rob for joining us today.
Rob: No problem.
What do you think? Do you agree with our rankings of the comic book movies of 2017? How would you rank them? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nathanael Molnár and Rob Giachinta
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