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Readers vs. Critic: Your Choices for the Best and Worst Comic Book Movies Ever Made

POSTED:

I've had my say, now you have yours. The votes are in from readers of this blog, who don't like Dark Knight enough, and here's what you have chosen as comic-book movie heaven and hell:

BEST OF THE BEST

THE ROCKETEER

Really? I liked it, but can't share your deep love. It helps that director Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids), a former art director, stayed true to the look of Dave Stevens' acclaimed Rocketeer comic books, which debuted in 1982. And I like that the movie tried to charm us instead of bullying us into suspending disbelief. One caveat: I still can't figure out how the hero's rocket pack can send flames shooting down his back without incinerating his ass.

ROAD TO PERDITION

Also, not on my list, but an excellent shoutout for an unfairly maligned movie. Director Sam Mendes and screenwriter David Self took the film's source material -- a graphic novel by Max Allen Collins with illustrations by Richard Piers Rayner -- and added their own vivid brush strokes to reveal something elemental about fathers and sons and the bloodlust that seems hard-wired into the American character.

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

I could kick myself for forgetting this one since I named it the best movie of 2005, when the Academy stupidly went with Crash. Working from a fierce and funny script that Josh Olson loosely based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, director David Cronenberg sucked us in with cunning skill.

The film digs deep into the soul of the comic book. It knows that Americans have a history of violence. Without a hint of sermonizing, Cronenberg shows how we secretly crave what we publicly condemn, and how we even make peace with it. The family tableau that ends the film is as chilling and redemptive as anything Cronenberg has ever crafted.

WORST OF THE WORST

FANTASTIC FOUR

No argument from me. With all due apologies to the Marvel Comic that started in the 1960s, the Four hardly cut it as Fantastic onscreen. This plotless, brainless, witless bore miraculously amassed more than $150 million at the box office. The horror! The horror!

BATMAN AND ROBIN

Also high on my list. Will George Clooney ever live down that batsuit with the built-in nipples?

LAST PLACE: A 9-way tie: Howard the Duck, Tank Girl, Superman IV, The Punisher, Captain America, both versions of The Hulk -- the one with Eric Bana and the one with Edward Norton, plus Elecktra with Jennifer Garner and Daredevil with her husband.

An unprovoked personal attack on Mr. and Mrs. Affleck -- who knew?

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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