I need to ask Hollywood a question. I know they won’t answer me, but I really need to ask it, so here it goes: Why do you adapt material if all you plan on doing is shitting all over it? It has happened countless times with amazing books (I Am Legend, as a perfect example) and now it is happening more and more with comic book movies, too. Studios are handed perfect source material, and they feel the need to make it more “Hollywood.” Often, in that process, they seem to lose sight of the core ideas of the comic books they are adapting.
There are few things as enraging for your average fanboy as seeing a series or franchise they love being ruined for the sake of the big screen. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that awful feeling that the creators of the movie have never even read the comic book. The problem is, this is what typically happens with these types of films. Even in examples where it seems like they mostly got it right, if you look closely you will see that they clearly missed the mark and the message of the story.
The reality is, when I sat down to write this list, I realized just how many comic book movies missed the mark. It was way too many for one list. So, think of this as a sort of unofficial part one to this piece. These may be the most obvious examples of comic book movies that didn’t read the comic they were based on, but there are tons more.
So, without further ado, here are the eight comic book movies that I feel didn’t read the source material they were based on.Next
1) The Mask
The Mask may have been one of the more enjoyable comic book movies to hit theatres, but that is only to people not familiar with the source material. Which is to say, 95% of all life on Earth. But to anyone familiar with this twisted comic, this movie was like watered down version of everything that was enjoyable in the comic book. The whole “watered down” thing is a running theme you will see throughout this list, as Hollywood often gets its slimy mits on some good material and then covers it in grease so it can slide down everyone’s throat smoother.
The main thing separating the Dark Horse comic book from the Jim Carey film was the absolute absence of homicidal rage from the main character. Put it this way, The Mask was very much inspired by the character of The Joker. A maniacal man who is always one step of those on the right side of things. I mean, Stanley Ipkiss (who names the character he turns into when he puts the mask on Big Head) kills a handful of cops in the comic book, very early on. I knew THAT version of the story would not be the story they told in the movie, but man, I didn’t expect a fucking Looney Tunes cartoon.Previous Next
2) Alien vs. Predator
“Hey guys, did you hear that they are making an Alien vs. Predator movie based off the Dark Horse comic book? Do you believe it? Like, did you ever think you would get to see those two brutal, unrelenting characters meet up and clash on the big screen? I mean, just take a moment to think about just how visceral and intense this movie is going to be. Two ruthless creatures from the pits of space, hellbent on taking the other down. Just thinking about it makes me want to cover my furniture in plastic from all the inevitable bloodshed. WHAT?! It got a PG-13 rating? Are you f*cking kidding me?!”
*Punches wall and walks out.
Yes, I think that fake dialogue with myself sums up the film best. And if it doesn’t, here’s the trailer to give you more of an idea of just how much they ruined this one.
Even for the best of us, the fact that Constantine is an adaptation of the DC/Vertigo comic Hellblazer can be lost. If you glanced at The Mask, or even films I don’t mention here, like The Losers, you can understand that they are definite “versions” of their comic book alter egos. But with Constantine, all traces of Hellblazer were lost. Literally, all.
First off, John Constantine was based (visually) on Police frontman Sting. I know, logistics like looks shouldn’t be something we get hung up on, but that was the first misstep of many when it came time to adapt the amazing source material. I am one of the seven people who actually like Keanu Reeves (note I didn’t say like him as an actor), but he was an AWFUL fit for John Constatine. I get the “quiet brooding” thing, but it just did not translate well here. One of the deepest character in comics was suddenly one dimensional. Cockiness was replaced with confidence, and that took away what made the character work so well. He was a human inhuman. Also, tricking the devil into curing his Cancer was a brilliant move, and that was all but missing from the film. Hell, any traces of what made it work were missing.
We ended up with a generic action flick, when we could have had one helluva supernatural thriller. At least he still smoked while he had cancer. That was the one thing that kept reminding me of Hellblazer.Previous Next
4) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
I could fill an entire list just with Allen Moore comic book movies that have been raped in their adaptations. Moore does like rape too, so that would work on two levels. Seriously, though. From From Hell to V for Vendetta, Hollywood likes mining Moore’s stories and taking out anything that makes them edgy, taboo, and subversive. In other words, they rape his films until they are broken shells of their former selves. How ironic is that?
Though many look at Watchmen as the go-to Moore ruination, I like to lean towards The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This adaptation proved that the big wigs up in Hollywood understood nothing of what made the best comic books work. It is like someone picked up one issue of the comic, saw the main characters, and wrote a script around that idea.
“Oh cool, it’s all the characters from some of the most important works of literature, all working together to solve crimes. Sort of like TMNT! Let’s work with that!” That’s probably the dialogue that went on between the writers on this one.
The thing is, as is often the case, the filmmakers missed the point entirely. Alan Moore likes to play up the fact that “superheroes” in his world are very fucked up people. They are often WAY MORE fucked up than most of the people they encounter, and the lines between who is good and who is bad in Alan Moore’s work often blur. But you wouldn’t know that if you saw this movie because you know what scene they left out? The scene when Hyde rapes The Invisible Man TO DEATH. No, honestly, he rapes him to death. He then goes and eats dinner.
So yeah, they kind of missed the point on that one, big time.Previous Next
5) Man of Steel
I am not going to sit here and tell you that I didn’t like the Man of Steel, because I did. Well, actually, to say I liked it is a bit too generous. I should say that I found it entertaining. But you know what I didn’t like about it? The way it portrayed its titular hero. I know DC films all want to be gritty reboots on some level or another, and I can respect how that may bring in a wider audience, but there is a difference between a gritty reboot and the raping of a character.
I am sorry, I know I have said it before, but Superman should NOT snap someone’s neck in an origin story. Keep in mind, if they had chosen to save this for a build up in a future Man of Steel film, it totally could have kicked ass. The idea that being on Earth had fucked Superman up a bit and maybe darkened him and made him a bit cynical and jaded after years of doing a thankless job, might have worked. It would be like the Superman Unbound DC animated film, only way more intense. That could have worked in a future film in this reboot series.
But to have Superman break someone’s neck in his first ever battle, in a reboot no less, was just an awful idea. Also, he is Superman, so it seemed odd to me that Zod’s head would not have done a complete 360, or even snapped off. They made it seem like just a regular dude putting a great deal of effort into breaking a neck.
It also leaves us wondering what would stop him from doing it again? He has already gone down the darkest road a “hero” can go down, and it was only the first movie in the reboot series. Where does that leave us?
Man of Steel may have been an entertaining summer movie in the sense that you got what you paid for, but it did not feel like a proper re-introduction to Superman to me.
I also don’t understand the following…..DC gives a gritty movie reboot to, of all characters, Superman. Meanwhile, Marvel gets one of their grittiest characters (Wolverine) and they water him down into a lame caricature of himself. I have a crazy idea here. How about we treat Superman like some sort of cheesy, all American hero, and we make Wolverine the badass dude who is wrecking cities and snapping necks? Seems like these two companies have their ideas all mixed up.
Also, I cannot help but to feel like I can hear Zack Snyder standing behind me, whispering, “Wait until you see what I do next with Batman.”
Comic book writer Mark Millar is kind of funny. He really is. If Alan Moore writes to shock the intellectual crowd, Mark Millar writes to shock the MTV crowd. He also obviously has a very love/hate relationship with comic book fans. Look at a movie like Kick-Ass, for example. You might think it’s a love letter, but it is an obvious diss. I wanted to focus on Wanted, though. Not only to be redundant, but because Wanted should NOT have been made into a movie.
Why? Let me tell you.
For one, you can’t have heroes in mainstream movies who rape for fun and kill cops when they are bored. You just can’t do it. Antiheroes like Walter White work on TV because we warm up to him after spending weeks with him. But you can’t just have a bad guy as your hero and expect the world to latch on to it. That, my friends, is what Wanted was about. An underground criminal organization who pull one lowly loser in and change his life. With the film adaptation though, all we got was curved bullets and a naked Angelina Jolie.
Again, we can start by citing visual differences. Fox in the book was based on Halle Berry, and the lead character was based on Eminem. No, really. Oh, and the book was all about them doing awful, awful things. Rather then get to deep into this (pun loading), how about I just show you the final frame from the comic book. You know, when Eminem fucks you in the ass?
Speaking of ass fucking….Previous Next
7) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I really think in the upper echelon of comic book movies that have been “fucked in the ass,” there are few who have gotten it quite as hard as Wolverine. I know this issue (HAHAHAHA, I am lame) has been talked to death, but I’m going to talk about it a bit more anyways. I mean, come on? How can you justify giving one of the most feral, badass, lethal comic book characters ever a PG-13 movie? I know Hollywood already watered Wolvie down for the X-Men movies, but at least they did him justice by keeping him out of the spotlight and only bringing him into fuck shit up.
But then he got his own movie and it made me want to pummel children. Suddenly, Wolverine is as deep and troubled as The Hulk was when Ang Lee got a hold of him. Don’t get me wrong, I know Wolverine is tortured, but how about you give him something to be tortured about first? No, instead, they made him a woodsman in the Pacific Northwest. Because, you know, comic fans love “Wolverine as Brawny man” storyline.
Next up, how about casting errors? Will.i.Am? REALLY? I’m not even sure if I’m punctuating his dumbass name right but I hate him and his shitty band so much that I refuse to look it up. And Taylor Kitsch as Gambit? Seemed like a good choice, until I saw how poorly he was written. I could keep going on and on, but I think we all know why we are here.
I fucking love Deadpool. Love him. Love him so much. So when I heard Ryan Reynolds was playing the character, I actually thought the casting was…spot on. He has to be cocky, annoying and somewhat funny. Yup, Ryan seemed a good fit. Even in the intro scenes when he was still Wade, he did a decent job at being that constant and annoying person that Wade Wilson would be.
Then the ending happened and my reaction was kind of like this: Did they just make Deadpool into a non-talking, Frankenstein-style, boss fight?
Then I threw my drink at the screen and walked out. Only a fucking asshole would take away the voice of Deadpool. That IS Deadpool. That is when I knew this bad adaptation thing was more than just a fluke. This was some spiteful asshole who obviously hated comics and hated the best things about them, so he was doing all he could to ruin their good name. That is the only thing that makes any sense here.
So now I have made it my job to find out who that person is. To find out where they live, whom they love, and why they are doing this. I guess you could say, that person is now my arch nemesis.
*Cue dramatic music as I stand on roof of building with cape flowing behind me.Previous Next
8) Spider-Man 3
First of all, I love me some Sam Raimi. I mean no insult to the man, and his affection for Spider-Man’s world was clearly seen in the first two films. But something happens when movies, books, and games reach their third (and often, final, chapter): everything falls apart.
You could tell Raimi wanted to please absolutely everyone, and we got a watered down, shitty movie as a result. The biggest problem was that he wanted to please fanboys more than anyone. So he teased us Venom, and then inexplicably cast Topher “I have no place in this fucking movie” Grace as Peter Brock, a.k.a Venom. But then in some weird kick to the dick move, he put Venom in about six minutes of the movie. We thought we were getting black suit, tortured Spider-Man, and what we got was one of the worst fucking scenes in any movie, ever.
I am, of course, referring to the “Peter Parker strutting down the street like a moron” and then “Peter Parker dancing to fucking jazz for some reason” scene. Oh, and how did Tobey Maguire play “dark”? With fucking emo bangs. EMO BANGS!
We also got some LAME tie-in to an origin story with Sandman being Uncle Ben’s killer, and having some sad and tragic subplot of his own. See, even reading this is giving me a fucking headache. That is how utterly awful it was. It was just a shameful end to an otherwise kind of awesome series of comic book movies.
Now, I know many of you may want to know why The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which everyone hated, isn’t on this list. I have one reason. It isn’t on the list because (SPOILER) they had the balls to actually pull off the killing of Gwen Stacy almost exactly like the comics did (END SPOILER). That was a brave move in an otherwise meh film. But you know what that movie did in that scene that none of the movies did on this list?
Stayed true to the source material.