Tag Archives: Superman

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

Iron Fist
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

Mystique

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 

Ghost Rider

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

Doom

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

Colossus

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

Electro

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

Storm

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

Apocalypse

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

MJ

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

Diamondback

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

Elektra

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

Gambit

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

Lex Luthor

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 

Joker

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

Mandarin

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 

Juggernaut

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…

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Reader’s Poll: Who Has the Best Rogues Gallery in Comics?

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What good is a hero without great villains? No matter how incredible or interesting the protagonist in a story may be, if he/she is not met by equally incredible or interesting antagonists, the story just feels flat. Aside from Star Wars‘ Darth Vader, who is without a doubt the coolest bad guy in pop culture, there’s no better place to find villains than comic books. So which hero has the best rogues gallery? You as the reader get to determine which ones I write about. Vote below and I’ll feature the top 5 vote-getters in a future post (might be a multi-parter).

 

25 Greatest Comic Book Movies (Revised) – Part 1

I know I posted my list of the 25 Greatest Comic Book Movies last year, but with so many comic movies having been released since then, I feel the time has come to revise said list. In fact, I may make this a running thing. Every year post my list with revisions made for movies released since. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes. With this being a revision, instead of just posting the list with the poster of the film, I’ve decided to give brief descriptions and explain any changes to where a movie ranked.

25. Ant-Man (2015)

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We’ll kick things off with a newcomer to the list, Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man. An extremely fun film that was equal parts superhero blockbuster and heist flick. Paul Rudd gives a funny, endearing performance as the titular character, and holds up very well in the action sequences. Something I wasn’t sure he could do.

 

24. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

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The movie that has fallen the farthest on this list. While I initially raved about this movie, once considering it a top 5 comic flick, but the more time passes, the more flaws I see. Andrew Garfield gives a very good performance as everyone’s favorite Wall-Crawler, and Emma Stone was fantastic as Gwen Stacy, but the story falls a little flat. The movie also continued the trend of fumbling Spider-Man’s origin.

 

23. The Crow (1994)

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An R-rate comic movie before R-rated comic movies were cool. Dark, gritty, and violent, the film is a fitting adaptation of James O’Barr’s comic series. Brandon Lee’s tragic death on set, and production’s movie-making magic that allowed them to finish the film afterward, helped the movie to achieve the major cult classic status it has today.

 

22. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

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A wonderful mash-up of elements from the original comic book and the popular cartoon series. For me, as far as visual media goes, this is the definitive version of the Turtles. Funny and engaging, highly quotable, with action sequences, and a dark, somewhat grainy cinematography that pays tribute to the art style of the comic. It’s not perfect, but it’s sure close.

 

21. Superman (1978)

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The film that put comic book movies and Christopher Reeves on the map. For my money, the be-all and end-all of Superman portrayals. Sure, Reeves didn’t have the physique Kal-El sports in the comics, but he brought a realness and dry humor to the role that helped endear the character to the movie-going public. While most of you know, I’m not a fan of the character of Superman, but a good movie is a good movie. And this folks, is a very good one.

 

That’s it for the first installment. Come back next time for the next 5 on the list. I’m going to try to hammer these out quickly. Hope to see you back here soon.

Greatest Comic Artists – Part 1

Comic books have given us some incredible stories…stories that we remember for the rest of our lives. But regardless of how great a comic writer may be (and there are some truly great ones out there), it would just be a story without great artwork to go with it. The art in a comic sets the tone, conveys the emotions the characters are feeling, and helps fill in the gaps of the story that dialogue can’t. Here’s the first installment of some of the best:

Jack Kirby – (Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Captain America)

JackKirby1942

Where else to start on a list of the greatest comic artists than with The Godfather of comic artists himself? There is a reason one of the comic book halls of fame is name after this man. He was the artist behind some of comics most iconic characters, having co-created Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and the Avengers. He helped usher in the modern era of comics, where characters stopped looking like cartoons, and took on more realistic qualities

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Charlie Adlard – (The Walking Dead, Savage, Judge Dredd)

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No one makes use of shadow quite like Charlie Adlard. Which is useful considering the work he’s most known for, The Walking Dead, is published in black-and-white. He also does a fantastic job giving each character a realness that few artists can.

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Neal Adams – (Green Arrow, Batman, Deadman)

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Possibly the greatest cover artist in the history of comics. But while he is prolific at creating cover art, he is still an incredible talent drawing panel-to-panel. Arguably the quintessential Batman artist, and most definitely the definitive artist for Green Arrow.

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John Byrne – (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman)

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While he was the artist (and writer) behind the Fantastic Four’s “Second Golden Age”, he is most known for his extensive work with Chris Claremont on The Uncanny X-Men during the late 70’s into the early 80’s. He was the pencil behind benchmark X-Men stories like “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past.” There is no artist more widely associated with the X-men…except maybe the next guy…

fantastic-four-by-john-byrne

 

Jim Lee – (X-Men, WildC.A.T.s, Batman)

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Hands down my all-time favorite comic artist. When I think of the X-Men from the comics, the 90’s versions of the characters are what immediately come to mind. Jim Lee’s fantastic art and stories are the major reasons for that. He also helped start Image Comics with his WildC.A.T.s and Gen13 franchises. He has also had long, impressive runs drawing for Batman and Superman as well. He is also a current co-publisher for DC Comics.

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100 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time – Part 15

Because I’m kind of just ready to move on to other things, instead of just giving a 5 character entry with descriptions, I’m just going to list the Top 30 with a picture. Sorry if you were enjoying it in the original format. Maybe one day I’ll go back and finish it that way. But until then, here goes:

 

30. Jesse Custer

Jesse Custer

 

29. Dr. Strange

Dr. Strange

 

28. Green Goblin

Green Goblin

 

27. Darkseid

Darkseid

 

26. Thor

Thor

 

25. Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

 

24. Rorschach

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23. The Thing

Thing

 

22. Martian Manhunter

 

 

21. Jean Grey

Jean Grey

 

20. Cyclops

Cyclops

 

19. Deadpool

Deadpool

 

18. Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor

 

17. Mr. Fantastic

Mr Fantastic

 

16. Catwoman

Catwoman

 

15. Daredevil

Daredevil

 

14. Nightwing

Nightwing

 

13. The Flash (Barry Allen)

Flash

 

12. The Hulk

Hulk

 

11. Wolverine

Wolverine

 

10. Iron Man

Iron Man

 

9. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Green Lantern

 

8. Magneto

Magneto

 

7. The Joker

The Joker

 

6. Dr. Doom

Dr Doom

 

5. Superman

Superman

 

4. Captain America

Captain America

 

3. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

 

2. Batman

Batman

 

1. Spider-Man

Spider-Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time – Part 11

50. Thanos

Thanos

Possessing incredible superhuman strength and endurance, telekinesis, a brilliant scientific and strategic mind, and an obsession with the embodiment of Death, the being known as the Mad Titan is one of the most formidable in all comics. Unique among major villains in that he is not the nemesis of any one particular hero. Through his callousness and attempts to impress Lady Death, Thanos has crossed paths with virtually all cosmic heroes, and just about all of the Earth-based ones as well. Never was he more powerful than when he located all six of the Infinity Gems and created the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him control over reality, time, space, power, the mind, and the soul. He was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent…basically the most powerful being to ever exist.

49. Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch

The daughter of Magneto and twin sister of fellow mutant hero Quicksilver. As her name would imply, Wanda Maximoff has the ability to cast all sorts of spells and hexes, but what makes her truly powerful is her ability to alter and control reality itself. So incredible is this power that in the “Decimation” story arc, with the utterance of the simple phrase “No more mutants,” Scarlet Witch wiped out about 99% of the world’s mutant population. With her mutant genetics, she has had short stints with some of Marvel’s X-teams, but she is most often portrayed as a long-standing member of The Avengers. Her tenure with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes eventually lead her to a romantic relationship with the android Vision.

48. Loki

Loki

The Norse god of mischief, Loki is the adopted son of Odin and brother of Thor. Loki desires for nothing more than power and control. He believes that his brother is a brash, hot-headed, brainless warmonger who is far less fit for the throne of Asgard than he. Because of this the relationship with his adoptive brother is almost always one of contention, though they have worked together one more than one occasion. Loki is also responsible for the creation of The Avengers, as events he set in motion necessitated several of Earth’s heroes banding together to stop them.

47. Captain Marvel (Shazam)

Shazam

DC Comics’ Captain Marvel, though due to a lawsuit with Marvel Comics, he is otherwise known as Shazam. When the child Billy Batson utters the word “Shazam!” he transforms into an adult with power that rivals that of Superman. He is virtually immortal and invincible, can shoot and control lightning, has a genius-level intellect, can fly, and possesses superhuman strength and speed. While Captain Marvel is typically regarded as a character from a bygone era, he was never more modern or relevant (or dangerous) than he was in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s masterpiece Kingdom Come, when he is manipulated and controlled by Lex Luthor into a climactic showdown with the Man of Steel…a fight that eventually leads to the death of nearly all of DC’s heroes.

46. Archie Andrews

Archie

Another iconic character from a simpler time. The last holdover from the days of wholesome, strictly family-friendly comics. Portrayed as the all-American boy-next-door, Archie Andrews and the comic that shares his name epitomized the look and feel of the 1940’s and 50’s. Unlike most comic characters, whose appearances change slightly depending on the artist, Archie and the rest of the gang from Riverdale have remained mostly the same throughout the vast majority of their 70-plus years of existence. Only in the recent years was a change made to make the characters appear more current. The cartoonish style in which the characters were drawn has become synonymous with the characters themselves, leading people to refer to it as the “Archie-style.” Archie is also notable in that he is the only major comic character to have an entire publication company named after it.

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All-Time – Part 2

95. Sentry
  
With nearly identical super powers and costume design (with a different color palette), Rob Reynolds is Marvel’s answer to Superman. While the two are similar, Sentry’s history is much different. In fact he has one of the more interesting, and clever, histories of any character on this list. Created in the year 2000 (cue the Conan O’Brien song), he was retconned into the history of Marvel Comics, even to the point of creating fake creators and back issues.

94. Rogue

  
Marvel is definitely known for creating characters with amazing powers balanced with interesting, sometimes heartbreaking, weaknesses. Rogue is definitely one of those. She can absorb the life force of anyone she touches, temporarily gaining their attributes, and in the case of mutants or super powered beings, their abilities. Unfortunately, she can’t control it. Leaving her unable to touch another person without fear of seriously hurting or even killing them.

93. Ultron 

  
The nemesis of the Avengers. With the ability to jump his consciousness from one of his adamantium robot bodies to virtually any electronic device, an army of clones all sharing a hive mind, and his encephalo-ray which can brainwash opponents or send them into a death-like coma, Ultron is one of the most dangerous threats in all of comics.

92. Leonardo

  
Leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His brother Raphael might be the most popular of the Turtles, but Leo is definitely the most disciplined and skilled member of the team. Leonardo is driven by honor, loyalty, and a warrior’s spirit.

91. Zatanna  

  
While she might have a campy costume (though it’s a personal favorite of mine), Zatanna is one of the most powerful heroes in DC Comics. The fact that she is both a stage magician/illusionist and a real-life sorceress makes her one of the more interesting characters in DC as well.