Do Graphic Novels make better movies?

I love comic book movies. Yes I said movies, mainly because I prefer not reading to reading most days of my life. That being said, I asked myself and anybody else who would listen, which makes a better adaptation, comic books or graphic novels? I got a lot of mixed responses, so I figured I would  ask that question here. In doing so, I will list my top ten comic book/graphic novel adaptations. Now with most things in life, I know not everyone will agree with my list or what I may have to say, I’m just stating my opinion on the subject. If you like, feel free to leave your own top ten or top five in the comments. Now that that’s out of the way, lets get on with it..
In my opinion, I feel graphic novels translate better to the big screen. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many comic book movies that have been extremely good, but there have also been a plethora of terrible ones. I feel like graphic novel adaptations are better because the plot of graphic novels  equate better to a Hollywood script. With comic book adaptations, what you end up with most of the time is a movie based on a comic book character, not a story arc or substantial plot from the actual comic books. Take for example, the first X-Men movie. The plot of the movie, albeit based on characters from the X-Men universe, was completely original. On the other hand, look at Sin City. The plot of the movie was literally from the graphic novels, almost word for word. Does this make Sin City the movie better than X-Men the movie? In my opinion, yes it does make it better, but to be honest, the Sin City series is my favorite graphic novel series. For me, the plot is the central feature of a good movie. Without a good plot, basically you’re left with just the action, I like to call that the Rambo effect (if you haven’t seen Rambo, the fourth one, rent it, you will completely understand.). Am I saying that only plot matters? Absolutely not, but for me, a great plot always outweighs great action, and great action doesn’t always make a great movie, it makes for a fun movie. Fun is good, but great is great.
Also, in most graphic novel adaptations, there aren’t sequels, mainly because they have already told the story intended. But with comic book movies, you end up with sequel after sequel. What happens then: writers may quit, the studio changes directors, actors are replaced, etc. This then leads to potentially lackluster sequels, which in turn leads to reboots. A prime example would be the X-Men series. The first one introduced us to the X-Men world, the second expanded on that world, and the third one overcrowded that world. Now with this series, writers were replaced and directors were changed. What this led to were plot holes, and various other problems. The movie studio then decided we needed more X-Men, so they delivered us X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and personally, I wish they would have aborted this one. I am not going to get into any more detail about the series on this particular post, but be sure I will revisit this topic in the near future.
And finally, before I get to my top ten list, I would just like to ask one more question. Do movie studios make bad films, or do directors? What I mean by this is, Marvel Studios hasn’t put out a terrible movie yet, but a lot of other Marvel Comics properties that have been adapted to the big screen have been lackluster at best. So, is it the studios’ fault or the directors’ of those particular movies? I tend to believe that it is more the studios’ fault than the directors’ themselves, simply because the studios’ have final say on the scripts and who gets to direct them. For example, Warner Bros. chose Joel Schumacher to direct the final two Batman movies of the nineties Batman series. Those movies, the fourth one in particular, were terrible. Fast Forward about seven years, and insert Christopher Nolan, who has yet to make a bad movie period, let alone a Batman movie.
Now, on to my personal top ten comic book/graphic novel movie list.
10. Blade
9. Batman Begins
8. Kick-Ass
7. X-Men
6. Spiderman
5.  V for Vendetta
4. 300
3. The Watchmen
2. Sin City
1. The Dark Knight
Well, that’s it, let me know in the comments what you think of the list, and how your’s would be different.

Posted on August 10, 2010, in Movies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. davidmbrowndotcom

    You think the lumbering “Dark Knight” is better than “Batman Begins”?

    “Dark Knight” has many compelling scenes, but it’s horrendously didactic and bloated, a misfire; less than the sum of its parts. And the notion of Batman even considering turning himself in, as if terrorists like the Joker would then lay down their arms, is ludicrous. As is the notion that to save Gotham from cynicism, it was crucial to cynically defame Batman at the movie’s close. Other problems include the loss of the actress who played Wayne’s love interest in “Batman Begins.” Granted, “Dark Knight” is still leagues above the crud often derived from comic-book or graphic-novel lore, including such crud as the Schumacher Batman flicks. But DK still lands with a thud. In directing his third Batman installment, Nolan would be better off recalling the sensibility of such earlier films of his as “Following” and “Memento.” It needn’t be as cryptic as those, but the new Batman film should be sleeker and more focused, much less gabby, and display a much more terrifying nemesis of evil.

    • Obviously by my post i do disagree with you. I did enjoy Batman Begins as a good jumping off for the new series, but to me, the Dark Knight is a much better movie. The atmosphere and tone introduced in Begins was accentuated and expanded immensely in DK. The realism in Dark Knight is comparable to movies nowhere near this genre, while Begins still felt like a comic book derived movie. Also, to the points you stated, i felt the ending for DK was very well executed, considering the overall plot of its particular story. I will acknowledge your point of the different female actresses, that was almost unnecessary to do, they could have just as easily left her out completely. Begins is obviously my second favorite batman movie, but for me the Dark Knight is, and most likely always will be my favorite.
      If it is no trouble, i would appreciate if you would list your own top ten or top five movies from this genre, so I can see how much they differ.

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