The Best Non-Comic Movies for Comic Book Fans
Credit: Bearcast Media
As someone who writes and draws, I try not to limit my inspirations at all. I'll take a good idea from anywhere. This applies to my consumption as a fan too. So here is a list for my fellow Comic fans that want to broaden their taste a little, and just keep in mind that this is in no particular order.
Star Wars Trilogy
Credit: That Hashtag Show
Let's get the overwhelmingly obvious entry out of the way. After years of awful sequels, over-merchandising and annoying everyone by not officially releasing the theatrical versions on home video, the original Star Wars Trilogy still holds up as the groundbreaking feat that it is. Quite amazing to be honest. The simple storytelling of the films is really just one huge monument to human storytelling as the influences confirmed (or speculated) are in the hundreds. The movies have been adapted into comics since the beginning so the connection is not imaginary.
The Iron Giant
Surprisingly the only animated film here, The Iron Giant is a masterpiece and quite possibly the greatest animated movie ever. I watched it many times myself as a kid. The heart this movie has is astounding. Of course like many modern animated features, this is for everyone, young and old. The themes of identity, innocence and violence are all at work here and made a powerful impact on me the first time I saw it. Oh, and there's a good amount of action too.
I think many of us are drawn to animated movies because of their raw power of conveying themes. Think about it for a second, if kids are gonna watch a movie it can't be too complicated, and that can be a great thing. Everything is laid out on the table, there aren't tricks to hide behind, its all there unflinchingly. Simplicity is a beautiful thing and I think its too often neglected.
Natural Born Killers
Now for the biggest 180 degree turn of all time. Here is a film that couldn't be more different than The Iron Giant. It's a brilliant film, that somehow also isn't that good. It may be shallow, but this film is gorgeous. From the cinematography to the hundreds of varying styles featured, it's like a (good) abstract painting, hate it or love it, you're going to remember it. Seeing how the original (although much different) screenplay was written by Quentin Tarantino, who shows up later on this list in a big way, I had to include it.
Scorcese's classic plays out like a Greek drama, slowly building until the "big bang". So this is more for fans of the gritty, contemplative "scene by scene" kind of comics. I am tempted to say film-noir. To me the best works of art grow on you. With me at least, I had this experience. I love the feeling of thinking I just watched/read a piece of crap. Only for me to suddenly remember a scene the next day while I'm in the shower or driving and realize that I liked it. Then another scene, and then more follow.
Sylvester Stallone is a criminally underrated artist. Don't laugh just yet. He has put out great performances when they are most needed, and has written a nice handful of great films. Rocky, a legendary film, easily the best sports movie ever, is the obvious go to, but since everyone has seen that, here is an under the radar pick. I love this movie. Combining elements of horror, action and thriller then turning the troupes all the way up, this movie is far from a masterpiece if taken at face value, and that's what I love about it.
Every Quentin Tarantino Movie
What can I say? The man puts out a great movie every five years, and that's pretty much all there is to it. The storytelling elements in his films go far beyond the gallons of bloodshed that are shown. I'm sure everybody has seen the favorites like Pulp Fiction and Resevoir Dogs, I mean to see all of them. Even Jackie Brown and Death Proof have worthwhile things to offer.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The best action movie ever? Quite possibly.
War for the Planet of the Apes
My favorite movie of all time. It will not let you down, an inspiring and beautiful film about who the real savages on Earth are. There is nothing I dislike about this movie and luckily it's still in theaters so you can go see it and agree with me too!
Credit: The Criterion Collection
These films are pure art with an overwhelming feeling of comic book inspiration. Even though I have only seen a couple of the 26 original films, this box set is too badass not to buy.
Robert Rodriguez's magnum opus pushes the absolute limit for what a film can do with a ridiculously small budget. Made on only $7,000 the movie that was originally intended for a direct to video release bewildered the executives at Columbia Pictures to the point that they bought the film and gave it a limited release. It made $2 Million. Just the background about the film and its production should inspire all artists.
Besides the shoestring budget, Rodriguez used improvisation as much as he used the camera on this movie, taking the idea of "whatever works" to another planet.
Credit: TV Tropes
I will end on Dracula, perhaps the king of horror movies, the original 1931 Dracula is quite an achievement. While movies of this era are frequently mocked for awful looking visual effects, Dracula supersedes it's time as it presents much better than its peers. We could learn a lot about adaptation here. This movie was obviously based on Bram Stroker's 19th century novel, Dracula, who was in turn based on Vlad the Impaler. You see how it only takes a small spark?
Of course vampires never existed, but to take the tortured boy who group up to be a vengeful, bloodthirsty king and get Dracula out of it is amazing. I ended here because it proves my entire point I was trying to make, that it can come from anywhere...