Tag Archives: Spider-Man

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 2

The countdown of the best live action portrayals of comic book villains rolls on. Just a recap of who has been covered so far.

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

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

23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)

22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)

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

Now on to the next 5:

20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

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Back-to-back Spider-Man foes. Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton managed to make a villain whose only real threat was flying really high into a truly menacing adversary to everyone’s favorite Wall Crawler. Seriously. That scene in the car when he’s taking his daughter and Peter to the dance is one of the most intense scenes in the entire MCU. He did a fantastic job of explaining his very realistic motivations to the point of you almost side with him a little, while also reinforcing the fact that he is most definitely a villain with willingness to kill anyone, including a 15 year-old kid, that interferes with his business.

19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)

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Easily the best villain in the Arrowverse so far. Deathstroke also benefited from having one of the most fleshed out backstories as well, since he was a large part of Oliver Queen’s own backstory, with it finally leading to the moment that turned Slade Wilson against him. Responsible for the removal of Oliver Queen as the CEO of Queen Industries, the murder of his mother, Moira, and leading an army into Star City, Deathstroke has by far been the most destructive foe for the Green Arrow.

18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)

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The first big bad in the cinematic side of Spider-Man is also its best. While yes, the costume left a lot to be desired, Willem Dafoe is wonderful in his portrayal of Peter Parker’s nemesis. Norman Osborn’s ego and ambition are on full display, as is the distance in the relationship with his son, Harry, due to Norman’s high, somewhat unrealistic, expectations. But what really sells Dafoe as the Green Goblin is his insanity. As a huge fan of the character in the comics, the first time I saw the scene of him talking to himself in the mirror, I literally got goosebumps. It’s that perfect.

17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)

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While the television version of the character isn’t quite as despicable as its comic counterpart, it’s still quite villainous. He may not have cut off Rick’s hand nor beaten and raped Michonne like he does in the comics, but he’s still responsible whether directly or indirectly for the deaths of Hershel, Andrea, Merle, Axel, Milton, and Martinez, as well as the sexual assault of Maggie, the beating of Glenn, and the destruction of the prison that Rick’s group had made a sanctuary. Also unlike the comic book, David Morrissey’s Governor actually got a fan-satisfying death.

16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)

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The original femme fatale of comic books played by the beautiful Julie Newmar, was sheer perfection for the campy 1960’s era Batman. She may not have been the acrobatic ass kicker we’ve come to expect from Catwoman, but her portrayal was spot-on for that time period. Conniving yet playful, dangerous yet sexy, you couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Sadly, Eartha Kitt’s attempt to replace her in the 3rd season of the series fell short.

My goal is to get the rest of the countdown knocked out this week. Watched Ant-Man and the Wasp Sunday, and want to get to the review. So, hopefully I’ll see you guys tomorrow as we drop another 5 baddies.

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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).

Here…we…go…

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

The Cavalcade of Comic Films Continues

With three huge comic book movies (Black Panther, The Avengers: Infinity War, and Deadpool 2) and one not-so-big (I Kill Giants) having already been released, one might think the onslaught of film adaptations of comic properties was over for the year. You would be wrong. The movie-going public has obviously shown that they love films based on comic books/graphic novels. Don’t believe me? Check out the top-grossing movies list. Comic book movies account for 9 of the top 50, including 4 of the top 10. As long as we keep spending money to see them, Hollywood is going to keep making them. And if we get quality films like the big three from this year, that’s a very good thing.

The movies on the horizon are a bit more varied than what’s come before, including two animated comic films, something we don’t get at the theater very often. Here’s a breakdown of what we have to look forward to the second half of 2018.

Ant-Man & the Wasp (July 6)

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Paul Rudd returns for the follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man. It’s been announced that the tone of the sequel will differ slightly from the heist movie genre of the original. It’s a bit of a gamble to mess with the genre of a movie that was so positively received, but the trailers definitely make it look like a lot of fun and the action sequences seem to be ramped up with the Wasp and her hand-to-hand combat skills being put to good use. The villain also seems much cooler this time around. Instead of another villain with the same power set as the hero, like Yellowjacket, we get one (Ghost) using Pym’s technology in new ways: phasing.

 

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (July 27)

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A feature length tie-in to the popular family-friendly cartoon Teen Titans Go! While a lot of fans of the comic aren’t extremely fond of the humor-driven, child-focused way the Robin-lead team is portrayed, it has been a relatively successful franchise for Cartoon Network. If you’re a fan of that style, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this movie too. Look for lots of jokes and some fourth wall breaking, especially regarding the movie’s villain, Deathstroke, who is the character Rob Liefeld essentially copied in his creation of Deadpool.

 

Venom (October 5)

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First off, I’m going to pat myself on the back. Long before Tom Hardy was cast to play the lead in this film, I wrote saying that he was the man perfect for the role (though I wanted the character in the MCU, not in a standalone flick for Sony). So kudos to me for my brilliance and to Hollywood for listening. You’re welcome. Now that my self-congratulatory silliness is out of the way, I can get to the actual preview. Despite my assertion that Tom Hardy should play Eddie Brock, and my love of pretty much everything he’s ever done, I have mixed feelings about this one. The accent he’s using is odd. I don’t hate it, but I’m not digging it right now. It may grow on me though (symbiote pun intended). I’m not crazy about the look of Venom either. The texture looks kinda like it’s covered in Vasoline, and instead of a single row of sharp, gnarly teeth, it’s got shark mouth, creating a very full mouth that seems impractical for actual speech. Also, the tag line in the trailer, “Embrace your inner anti-hero”, is beyond lame. But as I’m a huge fan of Hardy, I’m still going in with cautious optimism. And surely this can’t be worse than the abomination that was Topher Grace’s turn as the Lethal Protector.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (December 14)

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Another animated feature, as well as an additional entrant in Sony’s Spider-Man franchise. Focusing on the Miles Morales version of the Wall Crawler instead of the original Peter Parker one, the movie has the opportunity to offer a fresh take on an overly-saturated character. The animation style looks cool and interesting, drawing more from comic style art instead of more traditional types. They’ve yet to announce the villain, but with Liev Schreiber cast in an undisclosed role, one can assume he’s slotted to play whoever that villain may be. My guess would be the demonic-looking Ultimate version of the Green Goblin, but we’ll see.

 

Alita: Battle Angel (December 21)

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Admittedly, I have never actually read any of the Japanese comic series Gunmu (known as Battle Angel Alita in the US), so I have no preconceived expectations for this movie. From what I’ve seen in the trailers, the film looks to be beautifully shot and the visual effects look amazing. I’m also very intrigued by the plot. I’m looking forward to this one. Makes me kinda want to run to the local comic shop and see if they’ve got any of the books I could check out before going to see the movie, but I also like the idea of going in with a clean slate. Decisions, decisions.

 

Aquaman (December 21)

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Not looking forward to this one as much. First off, it’s another installment of the incredibly disappointing DCEU, a film franchise that has produced literally ONE truly good movie (Wonder Woman). Second, it’s Aquaman. He’s a watered-down (again, pun intended) rip-off of Marvel’s vastly superior Namor. His power set is weak and just shy of useless. Slapping tribal tattoos on a muscled up Hawaiian doesn’t change that. Speaking of which, I’m not a fan of Jason Momoa either. I’ve never been impressed with his acting in anything I’ve seen him in, including his debut as the half-human, half-Atlantean in Justice League. The rest of the cast seems good though. I’m also concerned with James Wan as the director. His filmography is almost exclusively horror, with one turn directing an installment in the brainless, over-blown Fast & Furious franchise. So I’m a bit worried what the tone is going to be like, especially considering that an unnecessarily dark tone and overly-drawn out, poorly constructed over-the-top action sequences have been two of the major issues with DC’s interconnected universe. So I’ll probably do like I’ve done with most of the DCEU films and wait til blu-ray to watch it so I’m only out a couple of bucks for a rental if it sucks.

25 Greatest Comic Character Portrayals (First Revision)

It’s been a couple of years since I made the first edition of this list. With the plethora of new comic films that have been released since then, several of which have introduced us to new characters or at least new takes on established ones, I figured it was time to dust off the old list and give her a revision. As before, I looked at a combination of performances that stayed true to the comic counterpart and just plain old great acting to create a compelling character. Some of them lean more towards one side of the equation, but I feel like all of them touch on at least a little of both. Some portrayals have risen in the ranks, some have fallen, and several fell off all together. Also like before, with several of these characters having been played by multiple people, I list the actor and what movie(s)/television show the portrayal is in.

Portrayals that fell off from the previous list:
Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) – Road to Perdition, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) – The Amazing Spider-Man, Marv (Mickey Rourke) – Sin City, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) – X-Men, Superman (Christopher Reeves) – Superman, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) – The Dark Knight trilogy

25. The Flash (Grant Gustin) – The Flash

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24. Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) – Black Panther

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23. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) The Walking Dead

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22. X-23 (Dafne Keen) – Logan

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21. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) – The Walking Dead

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20. Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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19. Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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18. Kilgrave (David Tennant) – Jessica Jones

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17. V (Hugo Weaving) – V for Vendetta

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16. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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15. The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) – Watchmen

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14. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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13. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) – Watchmen

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12. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) – X-Men

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11. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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10. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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9. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) – Deadpool

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8. Thanos (Josh Brolin) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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7. Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) – Daredevil (TV series)

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6. Daredevil (Charlie Cox) – Daredevil (TV series)

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5. Batman (Christian Bale) – The Dark Knight trilogy

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4. Captain America (Chris Evans) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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3. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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2. J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) – Spider-Man

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1. The Joker (Heath Ledger) – The Dark Knight

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So what do you think? Who’s too low? Who’s too high? Who got left off that shouldn’t have been? Let me know in the comments.

20 Greatest Comic Book Television Series

* = indicates an animated series

20. Spider-Man*

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Kicking things off on the list is the Spider-Man animated series from the 90’s. Did a fantastic job weaving together both classic and modern elements of the Wall Crawler and his vast array of supporting characters. Was, along with Batman: The Animated Series, largely responsible for the resurgence of comic book properties in the mainstream and the corresponding boom in merchandise.

19. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

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After the flop that was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the Man of Steel laid virtually dormant as a media property outside of comics. This is the show that really brought him back to the public eye. Dean Cain played a serviceable, if not spectacular Superman, but his chemistry between he and the beautiful Teri Hatcher was the driving force of the series.

18. Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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Fun and easily accessible. A good portion of the fanbase for this teen supernatural comedy have no idea that it was actually a modernized take on an Archie Comics series. While Melissa Joan Hart was great in the titular role, the real star of the show was the animatronic cat, Salem.

17. Batman

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Yes, it’s campy. Yes, it strips away all of the darkness and edge from the Caped Crusader. Yes, it is just downright silly at times. And yes, it is ridiculously entertaining in its own right.

16. Legends of Tomorrow

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The first of 3 of CW’s series of inter-connected DC properties known as the “Arrowverse.” A ragtag team of former villains and fallen/disgraced heroes all in search of redemption as they travel through time battling threats to humanity. Not as consistent as Arrow, but at its best, I actually think it’s better.

15. Agent Carter

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Simultaneously a spin-off of both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Captain America film franchise, Agent Carter followed the life of Cap’s old love interest Peggy Carter and her struggles to prove herself as not only a capable agent, but actually the best agent in a male-dominated world. Really bridges the gap between the MCU movies and television series.

14. Arrow

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The show that launched CW’s “Arrowverse.” Much darker in tone than the other series in the shared universe, without being too dark. While Stephen Amell looks the part of Oliver Queen pretty well, and I appreciate his commitment to the parkour and training regimen for the role, his acting always seems to fall a bit flat, especially in comparison to some of his co-stars like Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) and David Ramsey (Spartan). Known for strangely consistently using Batman villains instead of digging deep into Green Arrow’s rogues gallery.

13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles*

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Considered by many to be the definitive take on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s iconic crime fighting reptiles. Much more lighthearted and funny, and less faithful to and focused on the samurai culture than the original comic, but responsible for creating many of the personality traits and characteristics that have become widely-accepted parts of these beloved characters, including the turtles wearing different colored masks and making April O’Neil a reporter instead of a computer programmer and lab assistant.

12. Luke Cage

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While the series’ first season feels a bit uneven, with a fantastic, engaging first half followed by a slow, sometimes to the point of boring, second half, when it’s good, it’s very good. A huge part of that imbalance comes from the lack of Cottonmouth (played brilliantly by Mahershala Ali) in the back half, and the antagonist focus shifting to the poorly developed, far less interesting, Diamondback. Here’s hoping the second season can reach a little more consistency.

11. Preacher

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Loosely based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s seminal comic series of the same name, about a Texas preacher who becomes imbued with supernatural powers on his journey to literally find God. The first season serves almost as a prequel, with small pieces of the early issues woven in. While there are several great performances on the show, the true stand out is Joseph Gilgun as the hard-drinking Irish vampire, Cassidy.

10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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The first television entrant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Started off a bit slow, but by the end of the first season, it really found its legs, thanks in large part to direct connections to the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Focuses on a team of specialized agents on clandestine missions for the government lead by Phil Coulson (resurrected after the events of The Avengers), and features one of the most diverse ensembles on television.

9. X-Men*

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Piggybacking off of Jim Lee’s excellent, highly successful run on the X-Men comics, the animated series was largely faithful to the source material and served as the entry point into the X-Men universe for a lot of kids in the mid- to late-90’s. And how much sadder would the Internet be without the overdubbed parody clip “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”?

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8. The Tick*

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Off-beat, quirky, and incredibly funny, The Tick may have only lasted for a mere 36 episodes, but it quickly developed a large cult following. Detailing the exploits of the extremely strong, but equally as dim-witted superhero, The Tick, the show did a tremendous job lampooning superhero archetypes and cliches.

7. Tales From the Crypt

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HBO’s horror anthology series is famous for the amazing guest starring roles it seemed to pull in every episode and the iconic pun-spewing host, the Crypt-Keeper. Borrowing several stories directly from the 1950’s EC Comics series, and paying homage to the classic horror style in the stories that weren’t, one of the best series in the genre.

6. Jessica Jones

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Heavy and gritty, the Netflix series delves deep into the scarred psyche of the super-powered titular hero (Krysten Ritter) and the effects of the PTSD she suffers after being raped and forced to kill by the mind-controlling sociopath Kilgrave (played to surprisingly icky perfection by David Tenant). Might have been even higher if not for a somewhat disappointing second season.

5. The Flash

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Proof that you don’t have to be dark to make a great comic TV show. Centered around the Barry Allen version of the Scarlet Speedster, The Flash is compelling, smart, and just downright entertaining. Grant Gustin is wonderful in the lead role and is surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, with Wentworth Miller’s take on Captain Cold being a personal favorite. The only real issue with the series has been its over-reliance on speedsters as the primary villain, finally breaking that mold in the 4th season.

4. The Punisher

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Spinning off of Daredevil, Netflix’s The Punisher is as violent and brooding as you’ll find in a comic book based TV series. Jon Bernthal finally brings us the live action version of Frank Castle we’ve been waiting for. Even as violent as it is, the mayhem and blood never seem forced or over the top, but instead feel like a necessary part of the story of brutal justice for a man who had his family taken from him.

3. Batman: The Animated Series*

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Definitely the top animated series in the world of comics, and in the discussion for best cartoons period. Darker and more well-written than the average animated fare. For many people, myself included, this is THE definitive portrayal of both Batman and the Joker, played to perfection by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, respectively. Also responsible for creating the beloved Harley Quinn and the now-canonical tragic backstory for Mr. Freeze.

2. Daredevil

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Netflix’s dark, gritty take on Marvel’s Man Without Fear, is the greatest superhero show ever produced. Compelling storytelling and some of the best fight choreography you’ll ever see are highlighted by incredible performances from Charlie Cox as the titular hero and Vincent D’Onofrio as his nemesis Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin.

1. The Walking Dead

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Easily the greatest television adaptation of a comic book, and arguably one of the greatest series in general. While the show has definitely taken a step down in quality as of late, it is still a fantastic journey into the human condition. When all of society crumbles after a zombie outbreak, you get to see who people really are. Watching the character progressions of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) are especially captivating.

Worst Comic Book Character Portrayals

While there have been many truly incredible portrayals of characters in comic book movies and television series, there have also been more than a few absolute clunkers. Some of these aren’t necessarily the actor’s fault; they were just written horribly, given awful dialogue, or were stuck with crappy plots. But whatever the reason, they still flopped. Here are my worst of the worst.

25. Iron Fist (Finn Jones) – Iron Fist

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Netflix’s Iron Fist isn’t very good. It lacks an identity, has subpar fight choreography for a show about a Kung Fu master, and the worst thing about it is the lead. There’s literally nothing interesting about Danny Rand. He comes across as whiny and immature. For someone that’s supposed to be a “living weapon”, I wasn’t blown away by his fighting ability. In fact, I’d take Charlie Cox’s Daredevil over his Iron Fist any day.

24. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) – X-Men First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men:Apocalypse

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Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress and seems quite likable as a person, but her portrayal of Mystique is so inconsistent. Her motivations and characterization seem to change from movie to movie, and are whatever the writer needed her to be in that story.

23. Ghost Rider (Nicholas Cage) – Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 

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Ghost Rider would be a very easy character to make silly and over-the-top, and Nicholas Cage didn’t even attempt to play it otherwise. He’s already known for being quite the over-actor, and it’s on full display here, complete with terrible puns and one-liners.

22.  Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell) – Fantastic Four

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Will we ever get a good Dr. Doom in a live action movie? Hollywood writers just can’t seem to understand the things that make the character great and compelling. Sadly, another entrance in a long line of failed attempts at bringing Victor Von Doom to life.

21. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – Thor, Thor: The Dark World

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Natalie Portman reportedly hated being in Marvel movies, and it shows. For such a talented actress, her performance is flat and uninteresting. She also has zero charisma with Chris Hemsworth, making for a very blah love story.

20. Batman (Ben Affleck) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League

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If there’s anyone that clearly hates playing their role in a comic movie more than Natalie Portman, it’s Ben Affleck when he dons the cape and cowl. He seems like he’d literally rather be anywhere but making these movies. With the quality of the 3 DC movies he’s been in, I can’t entirely blame him.

19. Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) – X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand , X-Men: Days of Future Past

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One of several prominent X-Men characters that are supposed to be from countries other than the US that are passed off as American in the films. Piotr Rasputin, otherwise known as Colossus, is supposed to be from Russia, yet there’s no hint of a Russian accent on him whatsoever. And for a character whose power is to turn his skin into organic steel, we actually see him transform once for all of about 15 seconds in 3 movies.

18. Electro (Jamie Foxx) – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Another example of a good actor being stuck in a crappy role. Completely devoid of interest, and despite what was clearly meant to be a sympathetic role, you don’t even feel sorry for the guy because he’s so badly written.

17. Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) – X-Men: First Class

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Kevin Bacon delivers one of the most one-dimensional performances of his career. You just don’t care about his character whatsoever, nor is the character anything close to resembling his comic book counterpart.

16. Storm (Halle Berry) – X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Here’s where the “drop the accent” game started in the X-Men franchise. Halle Berry at least attempted an inconsistent one in the first film, but then dropped it all together in the second movie on. Spoiler alert: this isn’t the only time Ms. Berry will be appearing on this list. I promise I’m not picking on her as a performer in general…just in comic movies apparently.

15. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) – X-Men: Apocalypse

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Everything about this take on Marvel’s first mutant falls completely flat. Poorly acted. Poorly written. Poorly designed. Even his plans and motivations don’t make sense. Severely disappointing as I love Apocalypse in the comics and had high hopes for him here.

14. Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) – Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

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Could they have made audiences care less about the love interest of the hero? Mary Jane is supposed to be a constant, grounding force in Peter Parker’s otherwise tumultuous life, but here she’s flighty, annoying, and really serves no other purpose than damsel in distress and creating relationship drama…bouncing around between 7 different relationships in 3 movies.

13. Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) – Luke Cage

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I am unfamiliar with Harvey’s work outside of Luke Cage, but I seriously hope it’s better than what we got in the Marvel Netflix series. Tries way too hard to come across as a cool villain, but it doesn’t work at all. Just rather boring to be honest, especially in the shadow of Mahershala Ali’s brilliant performance as Cottonmouth.

12. Elektra (Jennifer Garner) – Daredevil, Elektra

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There’s plenty to hate about the Daredevil movie, and Jennifer Garner’s bland turn as Elektra is definitely one of them. For a character that’s supposed to be exotic and enticing to Matt Murdock, she gives a performance about as compelling as watching paint dry. Oh and on the topic of being exotic, they claim she’s Greek (as she’s supposed to be), yet she makes no attempt to speak with an accent.

11. Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) – X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Much like Daredevil, there’s a lot to hate about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a stupid story with plot holes big enough to fly the X-Jet through being first and foremost, but it also contains some of the absolute worst comic character portrayals ever (there’s another to come on this list). A primary example of writers shoehorning a character into a story that he had no business being in…and the version we got has very little in common with his comic counterpart other than his name. Gambit is known for his silver-tongued charm and razor sharp wit, yet Kitsch plays him with all the charisma of a coma patient…and seriously, why doesn’t his staff explode like everything else when he charges it with kinetic energy?

10. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Oh, the DCEU and their consistent misunderstanding of their own properties. Whiny, neurotic, and just plain stupid…that’s really the only way I can describe this version of Superman’s nemesis. And talk about idiotic motivations: Luthor wants to show the world how dangerous Superman is, so he creates Doomsday, which is even more powerful and dangerous…um, what?

9. The Joker (Jared Leto) – Suicide Squad 

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Easily the DCEU’s biggest bomb as a character is Leto’s pseudo-Joker (I refuse to refer to that as the actual Joker). Before I trash his utterly stupid look (which I’m going to), I’ll focus on the actual performance. It’s bad. Just plain bad. Not once did I believe I was watching the Clown Prince of Crime. His motivations are counter to those of the actual Joker, who would never have attempted to break Harley out prison. He would have let her rot until she found her own way out. Ok now for his appearance: what on Earth made them think that THAT is a look people wanted? This “Joker” looks like he’s a douchy rapper that’s part of a drug cartel, who just got some stupid tats in prison, and is on his way to a crappy Avenged Sevenfold concert. Oooo…how “dark and gritty”…

8. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) – Iron Man 3

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Speaking of pseudo characters. What was meant to be the MCU’s greatest plot twist ended up being nothing more than its biggest middle finger to comic book fans. Turning Iron Man’s nemesis into a fake and nothing but a distraction from the “real” villain, was a giant “F you” to longtime readers who were excited to see this major villain brought to life.

7. Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) – X-Men: The Last Stand 

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If there’s one thing 20th Century Fox knows better than making terrible Fantastic Four movies, it’s delivering awful performances in its X-Men franchise, and sadly this isn’t the worst. A cheap rubber muscle suit and a stupid-looking helmet that’s purpose is never explained in the movie, so he just runs around with a trashcan on his head for the sake of looking dumb. Also, Cain Marko is not a mutant, yet he’s somehow effected by Leech’s power draining ability?

6. Bane (Jeep Swenson) – Batman & Robin 

Bane

The first of 3 craptacular portrayals from Joel Schumacher’s equally awful Batman & Robin, making up half of the top 6. Take one of Batman’s most brilliant and strategic enemies and turn him into a mindless monster just because he’s big. Great choice. *insert eye roll*

5. Venom (Topher Grace) – Spider-Man 3

Venom

You can tell that Sam Raimi didn’t want Venom in this movie, but was forced to by Avi Arad (former head of Marvel), as he gave the character no direction or seemingly any thought. Totally unbelievable as an antagonist. Why does the symbiote make Eddie Brock bigger, but didn’t Peter Parker? Why did it latch on to Brock and mutate immediately since he didn’t have adrenal cancer like he did in the comic? The only thing worse than Venom in this movie is watching the My Chemical Romance version of Peter Parker dance.

4. Catwoman (Halle Berry) – Catwoman 

Catwoman

Here I am to crap on Halle Berry again. Everything about this role is bad. The acting, the writing, the direction, the costume…all of it. I appreciate the attempted homage to Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman from the 1960’s Batman television series, but the cheesiness and camp are just too much and it comes across like a B-movie performance.

3. Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Batman & Robin

Mr Freeze

But no one out camps Arnold’s turn as Mr. Freeze. Seriously, 75% of his dialogue is cold puns. One at the right moment would have been acceptable and might have gotten a little chuckle, but not a constant bombardment of “chill out’s” and “everybody freeze’s”. It really makes you hate a villain that should actually be one of the most sympathetic antagonists in comic movies.

2. Batman (George Clooney) – Batman & Robin 

Batman Clooney

The final entrant in my dump on Batman & Robin trilogy. Completely unbelievable as Batman. Not even a decent Bruce Wayne. All the things that make Batman special are absent and quite frankly not things that Clooney is capable of pulling off. He was cast simply because he was a hot name.

1. Deadpool (Scott Adkins) – X-Men Origins: Wolverine 

Deadpool

Here we are: the worst of the worst of the worst. Take everything about Deadpool that makes him unique and special and compelling…Hell take literally EVERYTHING away. Instead of kitanas, slap on some blades that pop out of his forearms like he’s freaking Baraka from Mortal Kombat. Instead of guns, have him shoot lasers out of his eyes. Instead of being a mercenary, make him a science experiment and slave. Oh and sew his mouth shut. Wouldn’t want the Merc with the Mouth to actually talk. Because I mean, come on…a source material faithful Deadpool would NEVER work…oh…wait…

The Avengers: Infinity War Predictions

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With Marvel’s The Avengers: Infinity War just a week away, the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point is almost here. You’d be hard-pressed to go anywhere online without finding some talk about the movie going on. And with good reason. It is without question the most ambitious undertaking in the history of cinema. Leading the threads of nine separate series into one enormous, inter-connected franchise has been nothing short of incredible. The fact that over the span of 18 films with 15 different directors Marvel has rarely fumbled in delivering high quality, enjoyable entertainment would be reason enough for celebration on their part, but to have done so while weaving together a world of gods, super soldiers, aliens, spies, and genius billionaire playboy philanthropists, is truly amazing.

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For all 10 years of its existence, Marvel Studios has been building to this moment…to Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. Based loosely on Infinity Gauntlet, the 1991 limited series by Jim Starlin that saw the powerful titan Thanos collect the six Infinity Gems (changed to Stones in the MCU) that each contain the essence of and grant control to the possessor of a different facet of the universe: Mind, Power, Reality, Soul, Space, and Time. For all intents and purposes, to wield them all is to be like God…though Marvel’s actual version of God, the One-Above-All, is still more powerful as he exists outside of reality and time. Thanos uses his new found omnipotence to wipe out half the life in the universe to balance the scales as a tribute to Death, with whom he is desperately in love. This obviously draws the attention of Marvel’s heroes as well as a few villains and more neutral cosmic beings. An alliance of them all faces off against Thanos with him easily defeating/killing almost all of them, taking some serious manipulation and reverse psychology to finally get the Gauntlet from his hand, allowing Adam Warlock to reverse all the destruction Thanos had caused.

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The main question surrounding Infinity War is “who will survive.” With the contracts of several of the main actors in the MCU coming to an end, and one (Chris Evans) having said he’s looking to retire from acting to focus on directing, many believe that a lot of the old guard like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are on borrowed time. I have my own theories on what to expect in this monumental event.

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Personally, I don’t expect as many major deaths in this film as most seem to. That is not said as a slight to Marvel Studios for fearing to pull the trigger on killing off their major properties as I’ve read several Marvel-haters imply. I simply believe that with Avengers 4 coming out next year and acting as a 2nd half to this story, that that is when we will see the bulk of superhero slaughter. I see Infinity War as focusing on Thanos and his quest to collect all the Infinity Stones. There will obviously be resistance from our merry band of heroes, and I do believe we will see a few deaths in the process, but not on the scale that many are expecting.

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One hero whose days are all but surely numbered is Vision. The sentient android is literally walking around with the Mind Stone on his forehead. Unless he finds a way to survive without it, he’s going to have to die for Thanos to complete the Gauntlet. I also have a suspicion that Loki may meet his end in the film, possibly very early on. In the mid-credit stinger from Thor: Ragnarok we see the ship that now carries all of the Asgardian people intercepted by an enormous spaceship that clearly carries the design of Thanos’s helmet on the front. We can assume then that the ship is that of the Mad Titan himself…probably there to collect the Tesseract which houses the Space Stone. While we never actually saw Loki take the Tesseract from Odin’s vault, it clearly caught his attention on his way to resurrect Surtur in the Eternal Flame. We also see in the trailers for Infinity War that Loki appears to be holding the Tesseract and offering it up to someone. This leads me to believe that Thanos will board their ship and start killing Asgardians trying to find the Stone…a battle that I believe will result in Thor being thrown from the ship (as he’s seen floating in space and discovered by the Guardians of the Galaxy in the first trailer). Loki, finally heeding his brother’s words that he could be more than just the God of Mischief, will offer it to him in exchange for sparing his people. I see Thanos accepting the deal, but then turning around and killing Loki instead. With Loki sacrificing himself, he’ll finally be the savior of Asgard with the admiration of his people he always desired.

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Outside of those two, I don’t believe any of the major characters perish in this film. I can see several of the supporting characters meeting their end, like Dr. Strange’s fellow sorcerer, Wong, or some of the secondary characters from Black Panther, as there definitely seems to be a large scale battle taking place in Wakanda, with Thanos even squaring off with Cap in one of the most truly epic snippets in any of the trailers.

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So who do you think will die in Infinity War? We’ll find out if I’m right next week. I’ve got my ticket for the preview night on the 26th. I’ll try to have a review out the following day. See you then.