Comic Movies that Sailed the Failboat
It’s hard to imagine after the Dark Knight trilogy, the wild growth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and singular success like Man of Steel and The Watchmen, that once upon time all comic movies were crap. Or if they weren’t all crap, enough of them were that sometimes you could feel that sickening embarrassment in your flesh as you thought, “How the hell are they going to screw it up this time? I hope nobody sees me paying actual money for a ticket…” Those were not the good old days… And frankly, they aren’t long gone.
Now, I could pick on low hanging fruit like Captain America. No, not that one. This one–1990’s rendition of the All-American Hero’s struggle against the depredations of the Red Skull. Even as a kid, I knew that what I was watching was bona fide badness. But picking on cheeseball films like that is just too easy. It was a gentler, simpler time. Sensibilities were different.
First up on the block is Fantastic Four. No, not 1994’s abysmal cluster screw, 2005’s abysmal cluster screw. You’d think with actors like Chris Evans as Johnny Storm (not quite the brand he is now thanks to Cap, but still a prize) and Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, you’d wind up with something decently tolerable (how’s that for a selling point? “Decently tolerable…”). Instead, we got a very literal (read: cornball) onscreen interpretation of what is already one of the corniest of Marvel’s mainline titles. In other words, 120 minutes of pure agony. That said, credit where credit is due: the sequel had awesome Human Torch versus Silver Surfer flying sequences that were worth the price of admission on their own. It’s just too bad the rest of it sucked (including a not-literal-enough rendition of Galactus. If you’re gonna go weird, commit to it)…
Next up is a movie I know a lot of people took issue with: X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Besides a level of general cheesiness that made it a weak follow-up to an extremely disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand, they straight ruined “Deadpool” (in quotations because I dunno what that was, but it wasn’t Deadpool). Listen to my words Fox: Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson? Good! Deadpool as zombie-frankenstein-whatever-that-was? Baaaad! Very baaaad! So cut it out. You owe us a Deadpool and Cable movie to make up for it. So, get cracking.
Now, I suspect my least favorite comic book adaptation might raise some brows. When you have as many truly awful movies to pick from, it’s easy to look at someone’s choices and ask, “Huh, why that one when there are so many worse movies to choose from?” But my least favorite comic book movie of all time is hands down Superman Returns. Everything about it was wretched (except, possibly, maybe Kevin Spacey, but his Lex Luther was still too much Gene Hackman and not enough House Majority Whip Francis Underwood), from the overuse of Kryptonite, to Brandon Routh. Especially Brandon Routh, the man who single handedly ruined ‘Chuck’ for me (besides all that repetitive will-they-won’t-they sameiness that show fell into). I dunno why someone might cast Brandon Routh for a role, when they could save money carving an actor out of driftwood. Thank god that Man of Steel came along to scrub Supe’s good name clean.
So those are my least favorite comic book adaptations, but I am very eager to hear about yours (and to be told how very wrong I am, and that, “Im’a let you finish, but Brandon Routh’s Superman was the greatest Superman of all time! All time!”) So hit the comments and tell me what tops your list of badness!