Comic Books and Movies

I was never much of a comic book fan. I did have one cool Spiderman comic book that came with a 45 that you played along with the story. The story involved some sort of lizards that came down from the sky and took over the sewer system. I loved that story and would play it over and over. Hence Spiderman became my favorite superhero. Despite this connection, however, I never went deeper into comic books or graphic novels. I have always been a verbal rather than a visual person and I guess this pushed me toward books by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and science fiction and fantasy by Issac Asimov and Piers Anthony, rather than superhero comics. I also grew up in a conservative religious household in small town middle America, which might account for my relative ignorance of the world of comics. I am not anti-comic books (like John Podhoretz) but I am not really a fan.

While comic books were never part of my childhood to a significant extent, I have always enjoyed comic book based movies like Superman, Batman, and even the X-Men series. Not surprisingly then, given my superhero preference, I really enjoyed the first Spiderman movie and was excited to see the second one. I must admit, however, that I was a little disappointed with Spiderman 2. Perhaps, I expected too much with all the hype about the “greatest comic book movie of all time” etc. But for me the movie was a little slow and a little too preachy and sentimental. While the acting was good and the fight scenes were cool – and Kirstin Dunst was as attractive as ever – there was a never a point in which I didn’t know what was going to happen; every move seemed telegraphed in advance. The film lacked a real punch without any real surprises or tension. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the film and it was entertaining but I didn’t leave the theater wowed or excited like I did with Lord of the Rings for example. If you are looking for commentary from someone who did like the film, check out Jim Henely over at Unqualified Offerings as he has multiple posts covering multiple angles.

– I also saw another comic book film this weekend, Hellboy. I didn’t bring any pre-conceived notions to this film as I hadn’t read any Hellboy comics or even heard of it until the film came out. It turned out to be a campy, fun and rather romantic action film. The Hellboy character is sort of a likable rogue with a soft heart. The film is kind of campy and sarcastic at times, but at its base it is about Hellboy’s love for his surrogate dad and the one women in his life. Like Spiderman, Hellboy is forced to choose his own destiny in extremely trying circumstances. It has cool monsters, fight scenes, and even Nazis what’s not too like? Plus it only cost me a $1.50. Granted, this is noy likely to be up for any Oscars but it was enjoyable entertainment.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).