For the second time this year, a Hercules movie will be released in theaters. On Friday, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's Herclues opens on Friday, and it's a pretty safe bet that it will be the superior Hercules movie of 2014, even if it is directed by Brett Ratner. And that's because this year's first Hercules flick — Renny Hardland's The Legend of Hercules starring the embodiment of a blank slate, Kellan Lutz — was a regular suckfest. (It was released back in January and was crushed by critics and ignored by moviegoers.) Of course, this isn't the first time two movies with the same subject matter have been released in the same year. And, of course, there's always one that emerges the better of the two. Check out our ultimate smack down of similar movies...
Dante's Peak vs. Volcano
There is only one volcano movie that has ever really mattered and that is Joe Versus the Volcano, but in 1997 two other movies tried to prove otherwise. In case you had trouble differentiating the two: Dante's Peak had Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, while Volcano had Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche, because it was the 90's, dammit. While Volcano gets points for destroying Los Angeles, Dante's Peak ultimately emerges the winner for getting creative by killing off grandma in a lake of acid.
Deep Impact vs. Armageddon
For all intents and purposes, Deep Impact should have been the better asteroid-plummeting-towards-Earth movie of 1998 based on the simple fact that Morgan Freeman played the President. Alas, compared to Armageddon, it turned out to be more of a pebble than a giant comet. Armageddon was the second biggest movie of 1998 (it made over $200 million in the U.S. alone), it kept Aerosmith relevant a little while longer, it nabbed a pre-hated Ben Affleck, it sexualized animal crackers, and it made you cry over Bruce Willis. Deep Impact did zero of those things.
The Cave vs. The Descent
The only true no-brainer on this list. As far as terrifying, claustrophobic movies about a group of spelunkers (heh, spelunkers) who find themselves trapped in a veritable portal to hell filled with bloodthirsty creatures, there's only The Descent. It's main "competitor" in that genre in 2005 was The Cave, which may have had a similar theme, but it's was a crappy, cable-ready B-movie at best, while The Descent is one of the best horror movies of the past twenty years.
The Prestige vs. The Illusionist
This one is actually kind of a tough call considering 2006 gave us not one, but two legitimately great movies about magicians. While The Illusionist will get to forever go down as Jessica Biel's one decent film, its eye-popping competitor The Prestige was directed by Christopher Nolan and had a cast that included Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and Rebecca Hall, so it gets the edge. Of course, both movies reminded us of the most important lesson in magic: "Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money."
Paul Blart: Mall Cop vs. Observe and Report
Kudos to 2009 for giving moviegoers two totally believable actors to play mall cops: Kevin James and Seth Rogen, respectively. Still, Paul Blart: Mall Cop was pretty stupid mainstream slapstick (that said, it made a crazy amount of money at the box office), while Observe and Report was a dark, sick, twisted comedy.
No Strings Attached vs. Friends With Benefits
Neither. In a world where Ashton Kutcher winds up with Natalie Portman on-screen (2011's No Strings Attached) and Mila Kunis (2011's Friends With Benefits) off-screen, romantic comedies prove, once again, they can do more harm than good.
Snow White and the Huntsman vs. Mirror Mirror
For whatever reason, Hollywood decided to give us two Snow White movies in 2012, one of which was a watchable action fantasy flick (thanks entirely to a badass Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen), while the other was a terrible kid-friendly comedy featuring the likes of Julia Roberts and, for some insane reason, Sean Bean.
Olympus Has Fallen vs. White House Down
2013 raised an important question in cinema: If you were the President of the United States and the White House was under attack, would you rather have Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen) or Channing Tatum (White House Down) save you? If you answered Gerard Butler, you are incorrect for so many reasons and give up on all your political dreams and aspirations.