Following last weeks Great Idea Terrible Movie: TV Adaptations I am now turning my attention to Comic Book adaptations. Batman & Robin (1997) was always going to be terrible, with Batman Forever Joel Schumacher had taken Batman to far from what worked under Tim Burton to ever come back. But what comic book movies should have been great but turned out to be terrible?
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
If you have seen Watchmen or V For Vendetta and wondered why Alan Moore hates movie adaptations of his work take a look at The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it will make sense. If you don’t know, the concept involves a group made up of heroes from literature who come together to fight evil. Brilliantly written with complex and conflicted characters the comic book is perfect source material, sadly this is all lost in the mess that is the finished film. It was so bad it is sighted as the reason Sean Connery retire from acting! Joseph from Cinexcellence summed it up in a comment on my previous Great Idea Terrible Movie post:
“The best thing about that movie (which did have some fun moments) was the interview with Sean Connery in the special features about how he was offered the roles of Gandalf and Morpheus, but turned them down because they were confusing scripts. Then he picks The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Poor guy.”
Marvel’s anti-hero Frank Castle aka The Punisher has made it to the screen three times. It is hard to remember now but there was a time when DC was on top in the battle of comic book movies after the success of Tim Burton’s Batman. Marvels response was the suitably dark The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren in 1989. In some ways it works and is probably the best Punisher movie, unfortunately it is all a little subdued and flat and has nothing original to offer the genre. The first reboot came in 2004 with Tom Jane donning the iconic scull T-shirt. Jane works well as the brooding anti-hero and there is some good action but the plot is clunky at best. The final (so far) reboot The Punisher: War Zone came along just four years later in 2008. Tom Jane was replaced by Ray Stevenson for the worst of the three movies, and that’s why the movie makes the list. Three attempts each getting progressively worse, have they not learnt anything!
After the success of Batman Returns, a Catwoman spin-off starring Michelle Pfeiffer was planned eventually this descended into the farce that was Catwoman starring Halle Berry. The story is comply rebooted resulting in it having no connection or resemblance to the Tim Burton movies or the comic books. Catwoman is a completely new character called Patience Phillips with no mention of Selina Kyle, unfortunately new doesn’t mean original, it is like every bad comic book movie you have ever seen before.
These aren’t the only terrible comic book movies that should have been so much better. The X-Men franchise has two weak links The Last Stand (2006) and Wolverine (2009). The Fantastic 4 movies(2005 and 2007) are both pretty rubbish. There hasn’t been a decent Superman movie since 1980. Although not completely without merit Judge Dredd (1995) and Tank Girl (1995) were both pretty terrible. The Spirit (2008) is one of the worst movies of recent years.