I remember when creating a film adaptation of a comic book was almost taboo. The films were often laced with either terrible acting or horrendous scripts, or both which butchered some of our favorite characters. Remember Spawn? Unfortunately, I do. Nowadays the Earth's gravitational pull has shifted and it's pretty rare to not have some form of a comic book being recreated on either the big screen or television. Thankfully, Hollywood has accepted their value and is putting just as much time and effort into some of these films as they would on a picture geared toward pleasing the film academy. Though there are many that I have enjoyed there are two films that standout above the rest for two totally different reasons. One may very well be the greatest comic to film adaptation of all time and the other may be the greatest film based on a comic book character of all time. Deadpool and The Dark Knight.
Deadpool did something no other comic to film project has done before and that is capture the essence of the comic books flawlessly without butchering the character even the slightest in its transition. From the picture perfect costume, the outlandishly pointless story that never took itself serious, to the over the top action sequences of violence, perverse language, and never-ending and borderline almost too much, quips from the lead character elevated this film to heights never expected. I guess that's what happens when you place both a creative team and an actor that are both equally in love with the character and story in the same room with full creative freedom. From the beginning to end you can feel the love and fun that went into making this film. This was a project they wanted to do for ages so when they finally were given the green light they held nothing back. Ryan Reynolds showed the world that he literally is Deadpool. Even off screen in recent interviews it's almost hard to tell the two apart aside from the burnt face. He is Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds is merely a skin suit he must wear for public appearances. No other actor has captured the essence of their character so perfectly with the exception of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. However, RDJ may move on to play in other films shedding the character he so perfectly portrayed, whereas Ryan Reynolds may never be able to do another film where he isn't viewed as the merc with a mouth. And quite honestly, with the amount of money and notoriety he received from this film, who the hell cares. Is it an Oscar worthy film of high praise? Absolutely not and the movie is self-aware of this fact. So am I and I absolutely loved every minute of it.
What else can be said about The Dark Knight that hasn't been said already. Christopher Nolan created a world, so vivid, so close in resemblance to ours that you couldn't help but visualize Batman actually existing and fighting crime in our reality. The realism he brought to our favorite crime fighter and the darkness that is his world goes unmatched by any other comic book film that came before or after thus far. A beautifully gritty and multi-layered story, backed by flawless performances from the entire cast plucked you out of your seat and placed you right onto the streets of Gotham. You truly felt and understood Batman's journey and the sacrifices he made. Is Bale the best Batman of all time? That's debatable, but he was the very best Batman for Christopher Nolan's vision. Bale gave us a very real Batman who's abilities and actions were governed by the world around. He wasn't the comic book Batman we were use to, he was the realistic depiction of an ordinary man trying to do the extraordinary. The true gem of this film was Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker. Heath's transformation into the joker was breathtaking and beautifully scary to watch, absolutely deserving of the best supporting actor award he received. He became The Joker with a performance that left you begging for more, a defining performance that will be hard to match by any that try to fit the shoes of the clown prince of crime. The only negative scrape that followed this film was that it easily could have been nominated for a best picture award that was undoubtedly snubbed because it was in fact a film about Batman. The Dark Knight set the bar so high it's really hard to picture any other Batman film or comic related film coming close in the foreseeable future. This IS the very best as far as comic related films are concerned and easily fits in the top 100 greatest films of all time. To deny that I can only hope a man dressed as Batman punches you in the face.
With quality and time being placed on comic films I'm sure we can expect many great movies ahead of us. Films that not only bring to life the very pages we love to read but shatter boundaries and bring forth movies that will stand the test of time among some of the greatest films ever made.