This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Sequels That Aren’t As Bad As We Think
In the interest of full disclosure, this wasn’t the column I wanted to run today. This is an older one, with updates, that previously ran on Ramblings of a Comics Fan in 2015 or so because my original plan was to talk about the sales numbers for December – but I failed to make sure they were released (they’re not) before leaving it to the last minute to write this. Granted, I’ve got several hours before publication time, and if I wasn’t heading out shortly for a signing at my LCS then I’d have time. But I am, and therefore I don’t.
A few things before we start; firstly, these comic book movies were generally derided by comic book fans when they were released. Secondly, some of these movies I’m probably viewing with the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, and as I haven’t seen many of them in years so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
For some reason, this movie has been absolutely shit upon in the last five years. In part, I believe because the villains weren’t exactly strong. Hell, they’re only a step above Topher Grace’s Venom (more on that later) if we’re being honest. But Dane DeHann wasn’t horrible as Harry; I’d go so far as to say that the worst part about the character in the movie is the visual aspect and not the actor’s portrayal. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man was an engaging and electric presence on screen, and up until Spider-Man: Homecoming his was my favourite onscreen depiction of the wall crawler. In a movie that did a lot of things right, the main takeaway fans seemed to have was what it did wrong.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
I really enjoyed this movie. It was a fitting climax to Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, but it didn’t live up to the lofty expectations set by the second movie in the franchise: The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight is, simply, the best Batman movie since Tim Burton’s Batman (and even then, I feel The Dark Knight is superior to that movie). The Dark Knight Rises… wasn’t. It was a good Batman film, a very good movie, but it didn’t live up to huge expectations that the previous movie left it.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Any movie following one of the greatest superhero movies ever made would be faced with some huge expectations. In Spider-Man 2 Alfred Molina gave one of the best performances as the antagonist in a comic book movie in the last fifteen years – rivaled only by Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. So when Spider-Man 3 promised us Venom, and Sandman, and a New Goblin, we were excited. We heaped our expectations on a movie that simply couldn’t handle it. Although Venom probably should have waited until Spider-Man 4 before finally appearing, Spider-Man 3 isn’t all that bad. There were some good moments, and Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman was surprisingly well portrayed.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
It would have been tough to follow X2 anyway, but for a new director and some quick casting changes when James Marsden dropped out of the project, X-Men: The Last Stand faced an uphill battle. The poor treatment of Angel; a character that was shoehorned into the movie to appease the fans rather than adding anything to the story. But that being said, it wasn’t a bad movie, it just didn’t measure up to the previous two.
Crow: Salvation (2000)
Sequels to the 1994 movie The Crow generally range from absolute tripe, to just a little bit above bad with one exception; The Crow: Salvation. As far as sequels to the original movie go this is the best of the bunch, although that’s ultimately not really saying much when you look at the quality of the other two. Certainly not the best Crow movie out there, that title currently belongs to the original, but it is the best of the rest.
Batman Forever (1995)
The second Batman movie on this weeks Underrated is easily the worse of the two. Although Joel Shumacker ruined the Batman movie franchise with Batman and Robin (although had he not done that, then the Nolan movies would never have been made) I still enjoy Batman Forever to this day. It echoes the Adam West TV show of the 1960’s, updating the camp foolishness of that time into a neon tinged modern interpretation that tries to distance itself from Tim Burton’s movies. No, the film isn’t the best batman movie out there, but it isn’t as bad as Shumacker’s other offering.
There we have it – five underrated comic book movie sequels. Are there other comic book related things out there that are, for whatever reason, underrated and under-appreciated?
Because of that, Underrated will return to look at comic book related stuff that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is.
Until next time!