Frank Miller, the legendary creator of such dark comic book masterpieces as Sin City and 300, has a surprising amount of enthusiasm for the current crop of lighter, more earnest superhero films - having singled out his appreciation for both Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Along with Watchmen writer (and fellow well-documented curmudgeon) Alan Moore, Miller revolutionized mainstream superhero comics in the 1980s. After revitalizing the languishing Daredevil series, Miller jumped ship to DC where he wrote some of the most iconic Batman stories of all time - including Batman: Year One, a dark, gritty retelling of Bruce Wayne's earliest days as the Caped Crusader, and The Dark Knight Returns, arguably the greatest Batman story of all time, and one the deeply influenced last year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Miller's work has almost always leaned toward cynical, even nihilistic sensibilities, but the veteran creator has admitted he's a great fan of modern superhero films. In an interview with Deadline, Miller had high praise for Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, comparing it favorably to Richard Donner's classic Superman film:
This has been the best period for superhero movies we ever had. I mean there was that wonderful sunburst of the first Christopher Reeves Superman movie. That was just a ray of sunshine. We’ve had ups and downs over the years. Now look at what we’ve got. Wonder Woman is the crown jewel.
Miller had high praise for the film's cast, singling out Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, as well as Connie Nielsen's Hyppolyta:
This movie managed to do everything right. The Israeli actress Gal Gadot, not only is she spectacularly beautiful but she’s heroic and she gets away with that costume. Having Chris Pine, the guy who used to be Captain Kirk, play Steve Trevor…he was impeccable in that role...I just thought they managed to have a real good rock ’em, sock ’em adventure movie with a genuine sense of mythology to it. The parts in Amazonia were breathtaking. Her mother, played by Connie Nielsen, she was just wonderful.
An equal opportunity praiser of superhero fun, Miller also offered his thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming, praising star Tom Holland and the movie's great soundtrack:
I felt like I was a little kid rocking along with Spider-Man. They’ve had good luck casting Spider-Man, haven’t they? This one was a lot more fun, down to the music. When he was jumping across the rooftop and they were just boogieing with it. It was just so much fun.
These are mildly shocking statements coming from Miller, whose late career work has gone to even darker, more cynical places than his seminal superhero stories from decades past. It's also interesting that Miller really doesn't acknowledge the influence he clearly had on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that sees the world in largely the same way his work often does, populated by deeply-flawed heroes who end up pushed to their moral limits. Whether or not Miller has simply tempered his worldview with age, it speaks to the universal appeal of both Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming that they were able to win over one of comics' darkest visionaries.
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