It’s that most wonderful time of the year—best-of-the-year list time! I’m starting with one that was easy for me to make—the best movie/TV adaptations from comic books. There were tons of them this year, ranging from two Frank Miller projects (sequels to 300 and Sin City) to yet-another Teenage Turtle movie, but most were crap. Then there were a boatload of fair to middling ones, like Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the FX television adaptation of The Strain. This actually was the first I made a list for the end of the year where there wasn’t a lot I had trouble cutting out.
In fact, the only one I struggled with was Marvel: Agents of SHIELD. But I have to admit I’m watching that show more out of brand loyalty than anything else. It was cool to see Mockingbird introduced, and I loved Absorbing Man, but those moments are too few and far between. The show needs a new director, new writers, and a new showrunner.
Here’s my favorites from 2014…
THE BERKELEY PLACE BEST COMIC BOOK TV SHOWS
AND MOVIES OF 2014
10. Comic Book Men.
Yes, it’s contrived. Totally contrived. But I love the trips down memory lane as folks come into the store to sell their various bits of memorabilia. I could do without the fake male-nerd bonding segments that are canned to the extreme, as well as Kevin Smith’s constant attempts to make himself and his friends seem more relevant than they are, and yet, as corny as it all is, it works.
I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of Hellblazer, and wasn’t even going to watch this show, but I’m glad I did. It’s a very different show with a low boiling point and a constant sense of danger—kind of like X-Files was, in its prime.
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past.
I wasn’t as crazy about this movie as I expected to be, or as everyone else seemed to be, but it definitely had some good action beats and fine moments. I was as upset as everyone else when they made it a movie about Wolverine instead of Kitty Pryde, but it turned out really to be a movie about Mystique. That was cool.
Transcending a dubious premise, this is actually becoming a good cop show—even without the Batman connection. It’s hard to create real sense of danger in a show like this because you know most of the key players have to survive to eventually meet Batman, so the key is in the storytelling, the atmosphere, and the acting. Penguin and Bullock are fantastic in this. In fact, the only real weakness in the show is Bruce Wayne, who is kind of boring.
Wouldn’t it be cool if Gotham could progress, though, into really being a long form Batman origin?
6. Big Hero 6.
The Disney/Marvel synergy worked out perfectly in this charming little kids movie.
5. The Flash.
Finally, a superhero has fun being a hero! In a world of darkness, it’s great to see some light.
4. The Lego Movie.
Okay, Lego isn’t a comic book. It’s a toy.
But if you saw this movie, you have to agree that this was the best movie version of Batman ever. He’s gruff, he’s smart, he’s cool…Seriously. He’s awesome in this. Christian Bale and Adam West, eat your hearts out.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I said earlier this year that this is the best comic book movie ever because it was true to the serialized nature of comics, and I stand by that. The effects of this film rippled into Marvel’s TV show, Agents of SHIELD, and it built nicely into what will become Captain America 3: Civil War.
2. The Walking Dead.
The first episode was one of the most horrific, suspenseful hours of TV I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how a show can continue at this level for so long, and yet, here we are.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy.
Possibly my favorite movie ever. Seriously. I saw it three times in the theater. I haven’t done that since Star Wars.
Next: My favorite horror comics of the year.