We did this last year, and it was a lot of fun. What were the best and worst movie adaptations from existing source material? What we have to work from are our LitFlix, the movies we see after reading the source material. I’ll be writing about the comics adaptations of the year today, and Holly will cover the books tomorrow.
We’ve fallen behind some this fall, so the list of what we have to go from is smaller than the overall list of movie adaptations. I think the biggest deal is that we didn’t see Gone Girl, which people seems to have loved. Oh, and we haven’t seen Battle of the Five Armies yet, but expect that in the coming weeks…
Comics-wise, we are pretty good. And what a year for comics! Four big-name Marvel movies, some great independent comic adaptations, and a number of ones that may not be quite as good… which we may not have seen! So let me lay out my favorites both as a movie, and as an adaptation!
Best Overall (Comics) LitFlix
This one is hard this year! Several of them I could probably rank as some of my favorite movies now – Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Showing that Marvel Studios is still on an upswing, not a downswing, which is great! I was writing up thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy as recently as last week. However, both of these films are good, in part, because of how they fit into a larger whole. Agents of SHIELD is changed forever – and was made good – by what happened in Winter Soldier. And the soundtrack to Guardians!
So since I can’t choose between them, I have a clear choice. Snow Piercer.
This 30-year-old French graphic novel was adapted by a South Korean director, with a rising star, Chris Evans, playing the lead. This movie had an international feeling, had a comic book feeling, had the heart, if not the events, of the comic. And then they took this huge movie, this amazing movie, and released it directly to video on demand. Meaning it would be easy for you to get your hands on this one today! It’s violent, it’s a dystopia. It’s great.
Most Accurate (Comics) LitFlix
This is a hard category with a lot of comics. For instance, the franchise comics are usually a mix of different comic ideas and continuing plot from the previous movies. Lots of big franchise stuff this year. Also, the DC and Marvel comics are so old, there have been so many writers… how can you be faithful to all of it?
But then you get a movie like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. This movie was directed by the comic creator himself, Frank Miller. It was a sequel, sure, but one almost a decade after the last film. And sure, I didn’t read the whole series, but I’m pretty sure it holds. This was an almost direct adaptation from comic page to movie screen. As I asked in my LitFlix, does a direct adaptation like this warrant a sequel? That I don’t know.
Worst Overall (Comics) LitFlix
There has to be one specific answer to this, and I imagine you agree. Despite how you feel about the movie yourself, it’s likely the one you’ve debated the most yourself, or seen the most discussion about. It’s the movie that has most likely tanked its franchise, and, by sticking to the comics, killed off the best thing they had going for them.
Love it or hate it, Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets my vote for worst comic adaptation movie this year. Okay, I didn’t see all of them, so maybe that would change my mind. But this movie? The recent news is that the Sony hack has finished off this franchise, with all their talks about what to do with this franchise – and selling Spider-Man movie rights back to Marvel Studios – going public. Great post considering this question over on We Minored In Film.
There’s more I could say about this. For instance, many of our favorite YouTube movie review shows did their reviews of this movie in non-standard ways. It’s like they decided this movie was too easy to make fun of to do it in the normal way. So Honest Trailers and CinemaSins traded doing this, running the episode on the other’s channel. Then How It Should Have Ended did the movie as a fan-submitted episode. Heck, my own LitFlix was almost 3000 words – one of the longest, if not the longest, blog posts I’ve written. So much to say about this movie, because there was so much to it – so many plots, so many threads. If the franchise really is dead, how many threads does that leave hanging?
Least Accurate (Comics) LitFlix
If most accurate is hard, well, so is least accurate. However, there were a few movies this year with some really big changes. I could think of two, in particular, that changed who the main character was – Edge of Tomorrow, and Days of Future Past. In particular, changing Kitty Pryde in Days of Future Past caused a lot of a stir. However, I’m not sure how I would choose between these two for doing the same thing!
But then, there’s a movie that flat out changed everyone. All the characters. And this was the main discussion of my LitFlix as well. Hercules, based on Hercules: The Thracian Wars. The comic is one of violence and being trapped into moral bad areas. The movie is one about turning legends on their head, about normal men being heroes – and being remembered as larger than life. Very, very different. Of the two? I highly recommend the movie.