5. Dredd (Pete Travis, 2012)
Pete Travis crafted an absolutely zenith love letter to cult enthusiasts and traditional gore-hounds when he chose to helm this adaptation of the beloved comic anti-hero. He envisaged a simple, engaging, uber-cool narrative, delving in the stylish flair and fervour of edgy graphic animation, winding up with the wonderful piece of violent, satisfying cinema that Dredd itself celebrates.
Dredd might be criticized for lacking depth outside of existing as a 14-year-old male’s violent, nerdy fantasy. Truly, when a film accomplishes such a vision, as unsophisticated and potentially achievable a goal as it might be, to such a degree of excellence as y Pete Travis’ dystopian spree, it begs to be commended.
Dredd is a celebration, a love letter, to all the fanatics of cult films, violence-imbued fiction, dystopian romps, comic book enthusiasts, action junkies, flair-oriented art critics, and advocates of sheer cinematic entertainment. Dredd is one of the most enjoyable and likably intense films of the 2010’s, and a film well worthy of immense praise.
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer, 2014)
The ultimate decree of forgiveness featured in any sort of fashion throughout 2014 was given to Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men franchise: an apology for both the mistreatment of the property as late, the mistakes Singer himself had made within the first two films in the series, and the downward slope his once fruitful career had unfortunately taken.
The writer of this list happens to be a complete devotee to the X-Men, so naturally one is assured that Days of Future Past is a superb act of appreciation and gratitude from Singer to thank the franchise that birthed his mainstream filmmaking career, and to the fans that supported him. The inclusion of select characters, concepts, storylines and situations can be considered, if nothing else, a determined act of love the most fanatical viewers. Yet, all the while, nothing whatsoever is preventing the mainstream masses from indulging themselves in the latest super-powered VFX outing: their appeasement is assured.
In what was probably one of the most anticipated comic adaptations to date, the extreme hype and intrigue provoked by the dedication of Singer, and Hollywood in general, to classic mutant lore was well packaged, and few fans found themselves disappointed or unimpressed.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014)
Behold, a title that is begging to be loved by as many, and as much, as possible.
The immense heights of success to which James Gunn soared when attempting to craft a mainstream superhero blockbuster that was likewise enticing to cult enthusiasts, comic fans, and all geeks galore by all means posits an example with which this list could be topped.
Anyway, bravo to James Gunn for loosing this ramshackle two-hour festivity of homage, quotation, reference and clever nods to niche fan-oriented properties, whilst serving concurrently as the studios’ latest bag of feed for their primary target audiences. Who could have ever believed enough faith would be loosed into a comic book adaptation so that the sheer number of Easter Eggs and name-drops could have been allowed with the interests of non-comic targets in mind?
But less focus is to be placed upon those who were drawn to Guardians based upon its existence as a comic book property, then upon its recital of classic Sci-Fi and fantasy themes beloved by former and present generations. Within this film, many a Star Wars fan found comfort in the fact that in case (and God forbid) the forthcoming entries in that franchise continue to disappoint, a charming, light-hearted and engrossing piece of space opera cinema has just reared itself as a potential distinct alternative.
Fans of other classic fantasy-adventure titles in general, titles usually stemming from the 1980s, were mostly highly pleased by Guardians. Some of these films might include Flash Gordon, Big Trouble in Little China, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Dark Crystal, or even Footloose.
2. Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavich, 2013)
Now, when addressing Jodorowsky’s Dune, one is either referring to the failed attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s Sci-Fi masterpiece to the screen, strangely helmed by legendary surrealist filmmaker and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky, or the 2013 documentary by Frank Pavich chronicling the film’s brief pre-production stages, and determining, oh, what could have been.
Even if the major awe-inducing details of what was to occur in Jodorowsky’s rendition (of a novel he himself had never read, believe it or not) had been released– Orson Welles as Baron Harkonnen, Salvador Dali as Emperor Shaddam IV, behind-the-scenes talent which included Moebius, H. R. Giger and Dan O’ Bannon, a soundtrack by Pink Floyd (and at one time, Peter Gabriel), and a ten-hour run-time—that wouldn’t be enoughto prevent viewing of Pavich’s unwritten cinema history, which enchants, inspires and mercilessly teases with that infernal question of “what could have been?”
“Could be fantastic, no?” Jodorowsky hints in the documentary. It would have changed the course of cinema history had it been made, and even in its cancellation managed to exert an influence over Sci-Fi cinema for years to come. Itsesigns were replicated in other prominent genre titles over the next two decades, and a notable portion of Jodorowsky’s crew remained in Hollywood to work on Star Beast, a title that eventually became known as Alien.
A basic premise of geek-dom was “the means with which the (currently) non-existent can empower one’s reality.” Nowhere is this ideal more evident than in this astounding documentary, surely one of the absolute most noteworthy of this decade.
1. The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012)
Remember the comic book nerd? Remember that loser who was able to recite the number of times Batman defeated the Joker, who was readily available to hunt down Stan Lee at comic conventions across the country, who was willing to be teased and mocked as a man-child as he paid first-day tickets to go see his or her favourite characters on screen?
He doesn’t exist anymore. That is, society’s negative stereotype of him doesn’t exist anymore.
Was it some kind of bizarre dream of Joss Whedon’s to de-stigmatize nerds and geeks to the extent where they now command and dominate mainstream Western pop culture, more so than they ever have before?
It’s certainly feasible, because after he released The Avengers, not only were Marvel Comics fans everywhere gushing in their homemade costumes, but even the public scored a cheer as Hulk manhandled Loki, or clenched their fists in excitement at the prospect of witnessing a battle between Iron Man and Thor.
At face value, this film served as an extensive geek love letter: the fan-base of all four major characters featured in the film were more than pleased with their favourite characters’ portrayal . Iron Man fans had little to worry about, what with Robert Downey Jr’s assurance that he would have extensive screen-time left, right and centre, but Hulk fans were ecstatic at what was, undoubtedly, the best portrayal of the Green Giant ever put on screen.
Captain America fans were proud to see their hero act as a greatly respected leader and legend, even amongst peers with greater power than he, and Thor fans praised the ‘accurate’ representation of the God of Thunder’s power, notably being able to outmatch Hulk in hand-to-hand combat, making it clear that no one individual holds the ability to wield his hammer, Mjolnir.
So two questions are posed. Did The Avengers play an instrumental role in abolishing the negative stereotype of the comic-book dork? Secondly, if this fact is true, and who can really deny it, then does this not warrant its placement at the top of a 2010’s cinematic geek love-letter ranking?
The perceived damage to and falsification of the geek subculture caused by the dreaded sitcom Big Bang Theory has been rendered inert: the masses have been subconsciously converted to the fantasy worlds that command, and positively impact, the life of one who devotes themselves to the, shall we say, more introverted of media-based activities.
Author Bio: Bio: Charles Barnes graduated highschool determined to leave the world of faux-intellectuals behind him, absorbing himself into an excessive gorging of cinema, determined to develop an individual, distinctive, voice in the world of film analysis and criticism. Working at a video shop, watching and writing about film in his spare time, the Australian teen is determined to put his name firmly in the history of Australian film criticism and theory.