Tag Archives: X-Men

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 3

A recap of the list 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)
20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)
18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)
16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)

And now, onward and upward!

15. Hela – Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok)

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It’s a tough task trying to be a menacing villain in a comedy-heavy film like Thor: Ragnarok, but Cate Blanchett pulls it off wonderfully. Hela is powerful and incredibly deadly, while still managing to throw in a couple dabs of humor as well without making her seem like any less of a threat. It’s a testament to her ability as an actress to strike that perfect balance. My only disappointment with Hela, and it’s nothing to do with anything Cate Blanchett did, is that Hela was not used as the stand-in for Death in The Avengers: Infinity War.

14. Captain Cold – Wentworth Miller (The Flash)

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While Wentworth Miller’s take on The Flash’s nemesis, Leonard Snart, might rank at #14 on this list of best portrayals, it might be among my absolute favorites personally. As I’m not a huge fan of the character in the comics, I never expected to love it so much in a live-action setting…but man do I. Incredibly charismatic, with a line delivery that borders almost on the absurd, but regardless draws you in, Captain Cold is highlight of The Flash, and the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, as he attempts to gain some redemption for his past transgressions, but still manages to keep his twisted sense of morality.

13. The Joker – Jack Nicholson (Batman)

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The first truly homicidal psychopath Joker to grace the screen. Even though Jack Nicholson did a great job bringing the Clown Prince of Crime to life, much like Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus, I was not a fan of linking the villain to the hero in a personal fashion unnecessarily. In the comics, the Joker is not the man that murdered Batman’s parents (that distinction goes to petty criminal Joe Chill), and changing that fact served no purpose in the film other than being able to deliver the “You made me!/You made me first.” line. But even still, his actual performance hits the high notes of the zany, ultra violent insanity we’ve come to expect from the Joker.

12. Helmut Zemo – Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)

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He may not have been any sort of physical threat to Captain America, Helmut Zemo was one the most dangerous villains in the MCU. His methodical approach to exacting revenge on the Avengers for the deaths of his family in Sokovia by forcing them to turn on each other, was absolutely brilliant. I loved the subtlety in his performance. When you have a film with so many big hero personalities, trying to squeeze another big villain personality could have made the film feel over full. So choosing to tone Zemo back and have him operate mostly in the shadows was fantastically done. He’s also distinct among movie villains, in that he actually achieved his goal. While Cap and Iron Man didn’t kill each other, their bond was broken and most of the Avengers were left as fugitives. I only wish he would have donned some form of his mask from the comics at some point.

11. Magneto – Ian McKellen (X-Men)

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Magneto has long been among my favorite villains in the comics. He is the perfect example of how a person’s life experiences shape their world view, and Ian McKellen…and to a lesser extent Michael Fassbender…have done an amazing job bringing that to the big screen. McKellen’s portrayal is layered, powerful, and multi-faceted. His hatred and rage, even when more subdued and subtle, are always very tangible and delivered in a way that is believable and understable. He’s also rare in that while most villains end up dead in comic book movies, he has managed to survive through multiple films.

Come back tomorrow where we’ll crack the top 10 among the best live-action performances of comic book villains. See you then.

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The 100% Organic, Gluten-Free, Locally-Sourced Deadpool 2 Review…Now in Spoiler-Free Flavor (Warning: May Contain Nuts)

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Continuing the story of a film that shocked everyone with its success is always a mixed bag. Sometimes the sequel lives up to the original (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), sometimes it doesn’t (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For). But I was optimistic for the follow-up to 2016’s blood-spattered, four-letter-word-filled Deadpool. My only worry was that we would get a movie that tried too hard to re-create the first and falter under its own weight.

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I’m very happy to report that that was not the case. While Deadpool 2 very much stays true to its predecessor in feel and humor, the gags and pop culture references are fresh and different. While there are some callbacks to gags from the first film, like continued verbal barbs directed at Wolverine, there aren’t any recycled jokes just with different circumstances like some comedy sequels (looking at you Austin Powers franchise). I also think incorporating so many new characters helped to give Deadpool fresh material to work with. His interactions with the members of the newly-formed X-Force are particularly hilarious. Especially those between he and Domino, whose mutant ability is probability manipulation. At one point, he literally spends an entire action scene arguing against luck being a super power…and it’s fantastic. Not to say that his banter with the returning Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (which is just as much of a handful to type as it is a mouthful to say) aren’t great as well.

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Speaking of new characters, Josh Brolin’s turn as time-traveling, cybernetically-enhanced badass Cable is great. While he plays a similar role to Colossus in that he’s sort of the straight man to Deadpool’s insanity-laden humor, his routine doesn’t feel as much like schtick. This is not to say that he doesn’t have funny lines. In fact there are a couple of times where he dishes out just as much foul-mouthed goodness as Deadpool gives him. His motivations, while slightly myopic, are relatable and tragic. If I were to give one pseudo-spoiler, though I wouldn’t consider it one, in that it’s apparent very early on in the movie that this is the case: that while he and Deadpool are at odds, Cable is not the real villain. I won’t go into who, but there is a surprise villain that actually ends up being much more a true antagonist.

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I’ve read that some critics felt the movie’s tone jumped around a lot, and while I agree with that sentiment to an extent, I feel like it is in-line with the character and his personality, and in no way makes the film feel disjointed. I felt like with most of the more dramatic or sad moments, you’re given adequate time to soak it in before the onslaught of dick jokes is continued. The violence and action are ramped up for the Merc With the Mouth’s second solo outing, but they don’t feel forced or out of place within the story. The level of gore is up probably a few ticks this time around as well, but it’s all done for comedic purposes and never seems to take away from the moment.

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Do I think that Deadpool 2 captured all the magic of the first film? No. But it is incredibly fun and entertaining its own right. There’s plenty to enjoy if you are a fan of the character or the last movie. There are lots of little Easter eggs and cameos as well for those paying close attention, including a little jab at Deadpool’s co-creator (suck it Liefeld, learn to draw feet!). All in all, I’d give Deadpool 2 a solid 3.5 out of 4 chimichangas.

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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 

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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

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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 

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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

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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 

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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 

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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…

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #3

Following The Avengers at # 5 and The Flash at #4, coming in third in our countdown is Marvel’s merry band of mutants, the X-Men. There probably isn’t a more diverse group of villains that those of the X-Men. They have enemies ranging from those capable of destroying entire solar systems to super-powered assassins. This is a rather lengthy list, so I’ll try to be brief with all of them.

The X-Men

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Obviously first and foremost among X-Men baddies is the Master of Magnetism, Magneto. Rarely does a villain and hero represent such diametrically opposing ideas as the X-Men and Magneto. For most of his time in comics Magneto has sought to subjugate mankind under mutant rule, while the X-Men fight to be accepted by and live in peace with humans. He even formed his own group of mutants to fight for his cause called the Brotherhood of Mutants. While he is the oldest and most persistent villain to Professor X’s team of mutants, he has on multiple occasions been a part of, and even lead, the X-Men.

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Much like Magneto, Mystique has been a major antagonist to the X-Men both as an individual and as the sometimes-leader of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood’s roster has always been in a constant state of flux, the most prominent members include Toad, Mastermind, The Blob, Pyro, Avalanche, Destiny, Sabretooth, Sauron, and even briefly Magneto’s twin children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch before they reformed and began fighting for good instead of evil.

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Jealous of of his step-brother, Charles Xavier, and what he perceived as preferential treatment from their father, Juggernaut hated Professor X long before he found the Gem of Cyttorak that granted him superhuman strength, near invincibility, and unstoppable momentum while in motion. His only real weakness is to psychic attacks, so he (like Magneto) wears a helmet that keeps telepathic mutants from being able to attack him psionically.

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Created by Dr. Bolliver Trask as a means to exterminate the mutant population, Sentinels have long been a major threat to not only the X-Men but all mutants. Their level of threat was never more on display than in the “Days of Future Past” story arc, where it is revealed that in the future, after a US Senator is murdered by a mutant (Mystique), the Sentinels wipe out the vast majority of mutants and other super-powered beings, and the few that are left are rounded up into internment camps. In a desperation move, the future Kitty Pryde is sent back to the present to stop the assassination from taking place.

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Bent on creating an army of mutants to fight for him in what he believes to be an inevitable war between humans and mutants, Apocalypse is one of the most dangerous baddies the X-Men face. To create this army, he pits mutants against one another in battles to the death, many times against their will. Those that survive he brainwashes, enhances their abilities, and often mutilates their bodies into better weapons. There is no better example of than when Apocalypse captured Angel, turned his skin a pale blue, ripped his wings off, and replaced them with metallic ones with razor sharp feathers that could be thrown at an enemy. Born in ancient Egypt, Apocalypse is believed to be the very first mutant.

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Obsessed with DNA and creating the perfect mutant, Mr. Sinister is one of the stranger big bads of the X-Men. While he is a brilliant physicist and biologist, Sinister is also a serious threat in battle as well. He is essentially immortal and has the ability to control his body down to the molecular level, he can change the consistency, density, strength, and appearance of any part of body, making him virtually indestructible. The one thing that has shown to consistently hurt him are the optic blasts of Cyclops, leading him to focus his obsession for perfection on Scott Summers, his wife Jean Grey, and the future version of their child, Nathan Summers, better known as Cable.

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When Jean Grey became bound with the entity of pure psionic power known as the Phoenix Force, her already considerable telepathic/telekinetic abilities were enhanced to virtually limitless levels. The Phoenix Force lay dormant inside Jean until muniplulation from Mastermind and a telepathic battle with the then-evil Emma Frost of the Hellfire Club brought it to the surface, becoming the Dark Phoenix. After nearly killing them and draining a sun to rejuvenate itself (killing all life in the solar system surrounding it), the Dark Phoenix was immediately recognized as one of the most dangerous beings in the universe. There are very few beings in comics that can match the Phoenix Force in terms of sheer power. It can destroy all creation in all dimensions of existence if it so chose. This has put it at odds with the X-Men and other peoples throughout the galaxy. The difference is, the X-Men are concerned with not only stopping the Phoenix but also saving their friend in the process.

 

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 2

As I said yesterday, I’m going to try to get these out quickly. We saw a few changes to the list last time, and there will be a few more today. The Amazing Spider-Man went into a freefall dropping drastically down the list. Today, we’re going to start off with one that rose a few spots.

20. Watchmen (2009)

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The more I watch this movie, the more I appreciate it. While it’s not a perfect adaptation of Alan Moore’s masterpiece graphic novel, it remains extremely faithful to the source material in most respects. Zack Snyder, while not the greatest director in the business, he is incredible at framing and capturing visuals, and his skill is on full display here. But even beyond that, the acting, especially that of Jeffery Dean Morgan (The Comedian), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach), and Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) is top notch.

 

19. X-Men (2000)

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The film that started the superhero boom in Hollywood, and launched the career of Hugh Jackman. Bryan Singer masterfully crafted a compelling and emotional story with just the right amount of humor to keep it from feeling too heavy. With Halle Berry’s accent slipping in and out, and the dumbing down of Sabretooth, the movie isn’t without it flaws. But there is plenty more that is done right than done wrong. Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of Professor X is particularly spot-on.

 

18. Hellboy (2004)

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Slightly campy with plenty of dark humor, Hellboy is just a fun movie to watch. The fact that there is so much great philosophical content on top of that, just makes it even better. Amazing make-up and visual effects add to the greatness as well. And if there was an actor more destined to play a comic character than Ron Perlman was destined to play Hellboy, I don’t know who they are. John Hurt also gives a noteworthy performance as Professor Broom…and adds to his resume of movie deaths (sob). Seriously though, this guy is more certain to die in a role than Sean Bean.

 

17. Sin City (2005)

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Despite being essentially blackballed by mainstream Hollywood for insisting that Frank Miller (creator of the Sin City comic) be given co-director status, Robert Rodriguez churned out an outstanding adaptation of Miller’s noir series. Fantastic performances across the board, over-the-top violence, and visuals and dialogue taken almost 100% from the comic series make for an extremely engaging ride.

 

16. V For Vendetta (2006)

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In spite of major differences from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, this movie is still amazing. Much more story-driven than typical comic book fair, and punctuated by Hugo Weaving incredible portrayal of the titular V. Highly quotable, deeply political, and refreshingly smart for a movie based on a comic. Watching this movie has become a bit of a tradition for me, as I watch it on Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) every year.

 

Probably won’t be posting over the long weekend. Will try to get the next installment out on Tuesday. Hope you are enjoying the ride so far. Have a safe Independence Day, and see you guys back here next time.