Tag Archives: Blade

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 1

What good is a hero without an equally menacing and compelling villain? Sure, the hero is the focus of the story, but he/she has to have something or someone to overcome. That’s what makes the hero’s journey so interesting and entertaining. Comics have long featured the best baddies that pop culture has to offer, so why would the movies and television series that are based on them be any different? So let’s countdown the best portrayals of villains in comic book properties (note: I’m only including live action portrayals…though there are some truly fantastic villain performances in cartoons…including the greatest villain portrayal ever: Mark Hamill’s Joker).


25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)


While I’m not a fan of the show as a whole, for several reasons that I won’t get into here, I very much enjoy the portrayal of a young, power-hungry Oswald Cobblepot delivered by an underrated Robin Lord Taylor. Seeing the Penguin’s rise to power was one of the things that first interested me in the show. Sadly, it was not enough to overcome my other issues with the series.

24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)


The original Joker. His take on the character may not be the scheming, homicidal lunatic that the Joker was originally created to be, Romero’s performance was a perfect characterization of the Clown Prince of Crime’s comic counterpart of that era. Luckily the comics eventually dropped the camp and returned Batman to his darker, grittier beginnings, and in doing so saw the Joker’s portrayals change in kind.

23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff  (Blade)


It’s sad that the movie Blade is so often forgotten when it comes to discussion of comic book films, and with it, the fantastic performance of Stephen Dorff as the vampire Deacon Frost. Frost is violent, conniving, overly ambitious, and just as dangerous to other vampires that don’t share his vision of the future as he is to the humans he views as cattle. With his dark charisma, he very much plays the foil to Wesley Snipes’ dry and stoic titular half-human/half-vamp slayer, and ends up stealing the show in the process.

22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)


Preacher hasn’t been quite the frame-for-frame re-telling of Garth Ennis’ seminal series that I had hoped for, and the characterization has been a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to capturing the essence of the comic’s counterpart. But one of the major hits has been the portrayal of the Saint of Killers. Cold, mostly emotionless, and virtually indestructible, he is the ultimate killing machine and is played to perfection by Graham McTavish. His origin story is easily one of the best parts of Season 1.

21. Dr. Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)


There are plenty who would probably claim I’m blasphemous for rating Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2 so low, but I’ll explain why. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with his performance, but I was not a fan of the decision to portray him as sympathetic and giving him a personal connection to Peter Parker…a theme that was rampant throughout the Tobey Maguire lead Spider-Man series. Literally EVERY villain was connected to him in someway. It wasn’t necessary and felt very forced. Then with the sympathy angle on top of that, it felt like a slight to the man that, until the Green Goblin murdered Gwen Stacy, could have been argued was Spider-Man’s primary antagonist.


That’s all for this round. I’ll try to get this pumped out quickly. With Ant-Man & the Wasp releasing this week, I want to make sure I can get around to its review before it’s been out too long.


Werewolves and Vampires and Zombies. Oh My!

It’s October. Which means one of my favorite holidays is right around the corner, Halloween. I love Halloween. The costumes, the candy, and a little good old fashioned scariness all come together to make for a great season (because seriously it’s more than just one day). With spookiness and supernatural roots being part of the core of the season, what better time to highlight some of the greater supernatural characters in comics. I tried to steer clear of characters that dealt specifically with magic (John Constantine, Dr. Strange, Zatanna, etc.) and those who are the product of science experiments gone wrong (Swamp Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire), and instead focused on those that have more true supernatural origins and abilities. Let’s take a look at some of the characters that go bump in the night.


Spawn (Image)


Arguably the most popular character on the list, especially at his peak. When Al Simmons dies and is sent to Hell for his sins, he was granted powers from Malebolgia (essentially Satan) with the intent on him becoming his greatest weapon against Heaven. Simmons rebels against Malebolgia and becomes a very violent anti-hero instead.


Blade (Marvel)


Marvel’s half-human/half-vampire. After his pregnant mother was bitten by a vampire, he was gifted with the strength, speed, and stamina of a vampire (but also the hunger for human blood), without the weaknesses against daylight, garlic, and holy water. Blade decides to use his abilities to rid the world of vampires.


The Spectre (DC)


Chosen as the Spirit of Vengeance after his brutal death during a robbery, Jim Corrigan is one of the more powerful beings in all of DC Comics. He is for all intents and purposes omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent with the ability to change reality. One of the few characters uneffected by DC’s multiple continuity resets, retaining knowledge of all of the realities that existed before.


Werewolf By Night (Marvel)


As the name would suggest, Jack Russell, due to a family curse, transforms into a mindless werewolf during a full moon. However, he can also voluntarily transform outside of the full moon, and during these times he retains his human intellect. Much like Blade, Werewolf By Night uses his abilities to defend mankind by fighting against the forces of darkness.


Solomon Grundy (DC)


DC Comic’s resident zombie. When Cyrus Gold was murdered in a swamp, he was reborn as a monstrous, almost mindless undead creature. Taking on the name Solomon Grundy after the nursery rhyme, he returns to the life of crime he had lived before his death. Mostly an enemy to the Green Lantern, he has also been a major villain in the Batman comics as well.


Ghost Rider (Marvel)


Stunt-rider Johnny Blaze is fused with the demon Zarathos after a deal with hell dimension ruler Mephisto goes wrong. Blaze transforms into a skeleton wreathed in flame when in the presence of evil. Cursed to punish the wicked, he is one of the more violent and merciless anti-heroes Marvel Comics has to offer.


Deadman (DC)


When trapeze artist Boston Brand is murdered during a performance, his spirit is imparted the ability to possess the body of any sentient being by the Hindu god Rama Kushna in order to seek justice. After doing so, he continues on as a force for good among the dark. When in ghost form he is able to become invisible, intangible, and can fly.


Moon Knight (Marvel)


After being betrayed and left for dead in the Egyptian desert by his parter, mercenary Marc Spector is given the chance to survive from the Egyptian god Knoshu by becoming his avatar on Earth. He takes the opportunity, avenges his attempted murder, and begins fighting crime as the vigilante Moon Knight. With his sanity connected inseparably to the moon and its phases, the fuller the moon, the more violent and erratic he becomes.



25 Greatest Comic Book Movies Ever

As a fan of both comics and movies, I’m a huge fan of movies based on comic book properties. Contrary to what some people think, I am not an absolute purist when it comes to comic book movies. I understand that liberties will be taken with the source material…some things just don’t translate well from the page to the screen. The important thing with any movie based on a pre-existing source is that the story stays true to said source. That for me, is what separates the good comic movies from the bad ones.

I’ve had a running list for years now of my “25 Greatest Comic Books Movies”, and it obviously has to be updated whenever new great comic-based films are released. This is actually my 4th revision to my list…and I may very well have to revise it again later this year if Guardians of the Galaxy and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For live up to my expectations.

Without further ado, here’s the list.

(Honorable mentions: American Splendor, BatmanBladeCaptain America: The First AvengerGhost World, Iron Man 2Kick Ass, Men In BlackThe Punisher, & The Rocketeer)

25. The Incredible Hulk


24. Thor



23. X-Men: Days of Future Past


22. Watchmen


21. Thor: The Dark World


20. The Crow


19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


18. Superman


17. X-Men First Class


16. Hellboy


15. X-Men


14. Sin City


13. V for Vendetta


12. 300


11. Road to Perdition


10. Spider-Man 2


9. Iron Man


8. X2: X-Men United

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7. Spider-Man


6. The Dark Knight Rises


5. The Amazing Spider-Man 


4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier


3. Batman Begins


2. The Avengers


1. The Dark Knight


Rocket Raccoon Proves DC’s Ineptitude


“DC doesn’t think Wonder Woman can carry her own movie, but Marvel is going to make a movie about a talking raccoon.”

I couldn’t help but laugh when my friend and fellow comic enthusiast Justen uttered this quip in a conversation a few weeks ago. While terribly funny, it is also a pretty accurate indictment on DC’s philosophy when it comes to making movies. Unless it’s about Superman or Batman, or the occasional graphic novel, DC doesn’t seem interested in making movies about their properties. Though I can’t completely blame them. They tried with a couple and both bombed horribly.


There in lies the difference. DC is gun shy about releasing movies about their lesser-known characters because a couple of them failed, while Marvel, despite a few bombs of their own, continues to pump out films about any property that someone is willing to write a script for. Outside of Green Lantern and Jonah Hex, no secondary DC characters have been given the opportunity to make an impact on the silver screen. On the flip side, Marvel created the most successful comic movie franchise of all-time (The Avengers) on the foundation of perceived “B-List” super heroes. On top of that, characters like Daredevil, Elektra, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, and soon to be The Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, have all had the chance to carry a movie.



Even the franchise that really started the comic boom in Hollywood, Blade, is based on a Marvel character that wouldn’t even qualify for the B-List. But Marvel had faith that their characters were marketable, and in turn knew how to market them. They were rewarded for their faith. It’s just a shame that DC doesn’t have the same faith in their characters or their abilities to market them.


With the announcement that the third installment in the Captain America franchise will be going head-to-head its opening weekend against the currently unnamed Superman/Batman team-up movie, it will be an interesting showdown between the biggest comic publishers in the world. Even more interesting is the fact that while DC is teaming up their favorite sons for their project, Marvel is content to march out The Star Spangled Avenger on his own.