It is time to finish writing my book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers (learn more here). That means it is time for another COMIC BOOK KNOCKOUT. This one is a battle of comic book movies. As always, there are 64 movies in this tournament. Each week, you will vote on one bracket, so anyone who asks why X movie isn't on the list didn't read this paragraph. Those people can't be helped. Once again, this is set up like the college basketball tournament, with No. 1 seeds battling No. 16 seeds in the first round and so on.
With that said – Round 1, Week 1 (These are #1 seeds vs. #16 seeds, so I know they are a bit mismatched. That is the entire point of the rankings for the tournament.):
The Dark Knight
Howard the Duck
The Dark Knight - This is a movie that is almost universally loved, although if you read the comment section on 411 over the past few years, you will also see a backlash against it. This is Chris Nolan's follow up to Batman Begins and won Heath Ledger an Oscar. However, the best part of this story was the rise and fall of Harvey Dent. It is one of the best tales in comic book movies.
Howard the Duck - Made in 1986, Howard the Duck is a movie starring Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins and a giant duck named Howard. He lived on Duckworld until something happens that sends him to earth, where he lands in Cleveland, Ohio. George Lucas is often mentioned when this movie is brought up, but he only served as a producer while Willard Huyck (the man who wrote the screenplay for American Graffiti) directed it.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The Avengers - I often say that The Dark Knight is the comic book movie for fans who want a serious film based on a comic book while The Avengers is someone who wants a big fun comic book movie. This was the culmination of the buildup that started in Iron Man and continued through The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor, and was the film that brought the entire universe together behind the careful hand of Joss Whedon.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - This is the movie that made Sean Connery retire and made Stephen Norrington quit making movies. The movie is based on the Alan Moore comic books which teams up some of literature's greatest heroes to battle a greater foe. Straight from the comic are characters like Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Dorian Gray and Jekyll/Hyde. For the movie, they also added Tom Sawyer thanks to the idea that they thought American audiences wouldn't like a movie where none of the heroes were American.
The Fantastic Four
X-Men 2 - The first movie introduced the characters and villains and set up the universe. The second movie amped up the action and set them in motion. The Bryan Singer directed movie took the X-Men and contrasted their lives with other persecuted people throughout the years, making it more than just another comic book movie. The attack of Stryker on Xavier's mansion was perfectly done and the movie set up what should have been the awesome Phoenix Saga (which Brett Ratner then shit on in the next movie).
The Fantastic Four - Unlike X-Men, the Fantastic Four had a decent (if a little underwhelming) first movie and then didn't really improve much for the second outing (despite an impressive Silver Surfer). The first film sets up their origin story and then sets them against Reed Richard's former colleague Dr. Doom. There are a lot of complaints, but Chris Evans was a perfect Johnny Storm and Michael Chiklis was great as Ben Grimm.
Superman - Richard Donner's first Superman film introduced the hero to a new world and then had him try to find his place in it, while also running afoul of a criminal named Lex Luthor. Christopher Reeve was so good in the role of Superman that no one to this day has ever measured up in many fan's minds. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando brought the big name acting talent to the movie and it still remains a memorable movie to this day, although the flying scenes don't hold up quite as well and there really isn't much action at all.
Timecop - Based on the Dark Horse comic by Phil Hester and Chris Warner, Timecop stars Jean Claude Van Damme as a police officer from 1994 and a federal agent from the future (2004) where time travel finally exists. His 2004 self travels through time to fight time travel crime (he arrests another time traveler who is trying to get rich in the depression, using prior knowledge). The movie then turns into a complicated web of deceit as he travels through time trying to stop a corrupt politician who himself threatens to use time travel to eliminate all his opposition. It might be Van Damme's best movie.