OPINION: Comic book movies evolve to better quality

By Frank Portillo

The comic book films released this year show the evolution of quality storytelling in the genre and even includes a couple of films that should be considered for Best Picture nominations.

Aside from the flub that was “Justice League,” every comic book film released this year shows  the diversity of the genre and its sub-genres.

“Wonder Woman” and “Logan” are prime examples of the films that should be in consideration for top nods.

While Warner Bros. is currently lobbying the “Wonder Woman,” film to be the first comic book movie nominated for the Best Picture award, the studio is also lobbying director Patty Jenkins to be considered for Best Director.

Typically, these types of films are only acknowledged for their visual effects.

The substance of the story is somewhat ignored.

Richard Donner’s “Superman,” and more recently, Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman” are among some of the films that have previously won Academy Awards for their effects.

Comic book movies haven’t necessarily garnered respect from the Academy when it comes to top categories such as Best Picture or even Best Actor or Actress.

In 2009, “The Dark Knight,” which is considered to be one of the all-time best comic book films, seemed to be a shoe-in for a Best Picture nomination.

While the film failed to reach its peak, the Academy still recognized the late Heath Ledger for his amazing portrayal of the Clown Prince of crime.

Ledger became the first actor to win an Academy Award for his supporting performance in a comic book film and deservedly so.

The film was nominated in other areas such as cinematography and costume design, but was unable to reach the top nomination.

The films released this year, in terms of quality, level with “The Dark Knight.”

Specifically “Logan,” which tells the end of a 16 year-old story.

Hugh Jackman said goodbye to his longtime fans in his final appearance as X-Men fan-favorite Wolverine, in a film that delves into humanity.

This character, who is imbued with the ability to heal himself, is suddenly faced with mortality, and Jackman deserves acknowledgment for his heart-wrenching performance.

Aside from that, writer/director James Mangold deserves a nomination for his beautifully written script.

On the other side of that coin, director Patty Jenkins deserves praise for her vision of what the Wonder Woman character should to stand for.

Her vision has produced the only DC Extended Universe film with any substance to it.

Even smaller comic book films such as “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” show the evolution of quality storytelling in these films.

Director Luc Besson’s vision couldn’t be realized without the special effects of the industry today.

But now with the technological advances, these stories are being brought to life.

It’s going to be interesting, going forward, to see where the genre goes and hopefully more comic book movies will gain acknowledgment from the Academy.

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