With the latest news that the seemingly cursed “The Flash” movie has been delayed a year (once again), and the future of the DCEU remains uncertain with the recent Discovery acquisition of WB, I figured it would be an appropriate time to take a look back at some of the more turbulent entries of DC movies past…
In a world where a Comic-Book-based-Super-Hero-franchises are guaranteed blockbusters, with films like “The Dark Knight”, or “The Avengers” raking in over a billion effin’ dollars in real-life (non-Monopoly) money, it’s a little disconcerting that Superman (the original super hero – circa 1938) only recently got a decent film (with the exception of the 1978 classic) – with last year’s “Man of Steel” – a total reboot (starring Henry Cavill) from the dude who brought us that CGI-fest loosely based on the Battle of Thermopylae (Zack Snyder).
Suffice it to say Superman movies until know have gotten a bad rep. With the exception of most of the animated movies, Superman movies have had a tendency to suck like a Hoover vacuum cleaner in a black hole. And why is that you ask? Well, although it is challenging to do a Superman movie justice (pun-intended), the reason they keep failing has nothing to do with the character (s) / story / mythology seeing as so many other super-powered champions have followed in his boot-prints since over the last 75 years of comic history, and most of them have ripped off of Superman in one or several ways with unique twists (i.e. Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, etc).
Some say it’s a curse, others say it’s his cheesy old-fashioned sense of morality, while angry Internet trolls pollute message boards arguing about his trademark red super-speedos, but I say it’s the result of lazy writing, greedy producers who don’t understand the character, and directors who are unwilling to delve into the actual source material. The result: 30 + years of Gene Hackman’s “Lex Luthor” as an evil real estate agent.
Out of all the terrible Superman movies we’ve had to endure over the last couple decades, here are 5 that we should be thankful never made it to the silver screen, because they somehow managed to be even worse than what actually did make it to a theater near you. It’s unbelievable how bad these scripts were and unfathomable that they made it so far into production…
(Barf bags at the ready?)
Part of making a good comic book movie is getting the hero correct. You have to make sure they look close enough to the source material, and you really have to make sure the character feels right. You can’t have Daredevil fighting on a seesaw, or Batman and Robin going to a social event with the media present and talking to reporters (I hate you, Schumacher).
But, just as importantly as all of that is getting the villain right. How many lame ass versions of cool characters have ruined (or at least contributing to the ruining of) movies? I’m looking at you, Jim Carrey’s Riddler, Danny Devito’s Penguin, Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face, Arnold’s Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy, Collin Farrell’s Bullseye, Jigsaw in Punisher War Zone, and every villain in every Superman movie (yes, even Terrance Stamp’s Zod).
Here are my top 10 examples of villains they got right.
10. The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk)
This really shouldn’t have worked. They completely changed everything about the character except for his name, Emil Blonsky. He looks different, acts different, has a completely different origin, and somewhat different motivations. The only real similarities besides his name are the fact that he’s as strong as, or stronger than, the Hulk, he’s huge, and he’s a maniac who has no qualms whatsoever about massacring anyone and everyone that gets anywhere near him.
I like the fact that we saw Blonsky evolve from a regular man to a psuedo super soldier to a gamma monster. I like the design, despite the fact that he’s completely different from the version that’s been around for nearly 50 years. I like that he’s made with a combination of super soldier serum and Hulk blood, which is the worst nightmare of the Hulk, and something that would/will piss off Captain America to no end.
I think the fight(s) between Blonsky/Abomination and the Hulk are the highlights of this movie, and probably keep it from being a really average movie.
There’s no getting around it: there have been a ton of truly awful superhero/comic book adaptations. I’m looking at you, Punisher. There are a lot that were made for next to no money, and were made only so that a company could hold onto film rights, like the 1994 version of Fantastic Four, or the Captain America movies that starred J.D. Salinger’s son as Cap, had an Italian Red Skull, and Cap’s ears on the side of his mask were rubber. Rubber! There are also some that are really bad adaptations, but not terrible movies, like Constantine. But for the purposes of this list I am looking at the comic book movies that were made by big studios for at least reasonably large budgets. So you won’t see Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four on my list. Also, I haven’t seen the Halle Berry Catwoman, so that won’t be making the list. However, you will see….
5. Superman Returns
What We Wanted to See: A movie that reinvigorated the franchise and moved Superman into the 21st century
What We Got: A sequel/prequel that satisfied nobody
“Just a matter of time, I suppose.” – The Comedian
As faithful an adaptation as we were ever going to get, despite the fact that this movie probably never should have been made. The whole purpose of the story was to use comics to deconstruct comic book archetypes. It was never intended to be a movie. For years Terry Gilliam was attached to a possible adaptation, but eventually quit the project, supposedly saying it was an ‘unfilmable movie’. Surprisingly, Zack Snyder did a great job while remaining faithful to the source material (possibly even too faithful at times).
Here it is! My top-FIFTEEN Favorite Comic Book Movies of ALL TIME! (so far…)
I know it’s a long list, but there’s a lot of damn good comic book movies out there, and I kinda had to expand it in order to compensate for this years entries alone!
15. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978)
“Your name is Kal-El. You are the only survivor of the planet Krypton. Even though you’ve been raised as a human, you are not one of them. You have great powers, only some of which you have as yet discovered.” – Jor-El
What we wanted to see: HULK SMASH!
What we got: HULK Sad…?