10 worst comic book adaptations ever
10.) Constantine (2005)
Not a particularly bad film (I mean it was just a bit generic) but a terrible adaptation. A peroxide blonde, Liverpudlian wise cracker played by a brooding, very American Keanu Reeves? Throw in a comic sidekick in the form of Shia laBeouf -a weirdly reimagined version of Constantine’s good friend Chas Chandler- and an androgynous angel played by Tilda Swinton and you’ve got yourself a winner, right? If anyone needed any proof that Alan Moore’s accounts of meeting John Constantine in real life are perhaps a little shaky, then they need look no further than the fact that this film was allowed to happen- surely someone with a mastery of the occult would have intervened?
9.) X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
This is an example of what happens when a director’s passion for a project goes wrong. Now I’m not knocking fanboy directors per se, I mean Guillermo del Toro LOVED Hellboy and that’s why, despite being a little chaotic, it worked: what I’m saying here is that del Toro, as far as I’m aware, did not turn up on set one day dressed as the lead character. Halle Berry’s desire for a bigger part after the triumph of acting talent that was Catwoman resulted in her literally taking centre stage in a number of scenes to which her character is irrelevant or little involved (a particular favourite of mine is when she is stood silently between two characters who are having a conversation, see if you can spot it next time you see this film.) Worse even than the Wolverine film – which was essentially just Hugh Jackman walking away from a series of increasingly large explosions.
8.) The Spirit (2008)
It’s sad that this film is so terrible when it had so much promise. Based on the comic by the legendary Will Eisner (as in ‘The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award’ Will Eisner) about a detective who turns vigilante after his presumed death; this film had big boots to fill from the get go and really falls short. I would imagine that it started as a “let’s-make-a-PG13-Sin-City” on the part of the studio and stylistically it has moments that are lovely to look at- but I’d say in the long haul it’s good that it was under seen, there’s no real substance to the story, it’s just pretty ladies shot in high contrast. Also, Samuel L Jackson’s evil villain, ‘The Octopus’, teaches us an important lesson within the first 20 minutes: no one can be sinister in a sun hat.
7.) Ghost Rider (2007)
I actually love this film, but that’s due to my own personal Nicolas-Cage-is-a-God-amongst-mortals bias, and I can think rationally enough to know that it is terrible. Cage plays a reckless daredevil (about 10 years younger than his actual age) who signs a Faustian pact to save his father- is his demonic punishment eternal damnation? No, it’s to become an awesome flame covered biker who eats a lot of jelly beans for some reason that’s never really explained. Still, at least Cage gets to gurn a lot during transformations, making best use of his maniacal face. Eva Mendes plays the part of the childhood sweetheart who re-enters the hero’s life just as well as she did in The Spirit, (i.e. not very well at all) and the highlight of the whole thing is a romantic kiss being interrupted by a reaction shot of a cow mooing.
After the joy that was Spider-Man 2, its sad but true that unfortunately the woefully silly Spider-Man 3 will be the most remembered out of the lot. It genuinely upsets me that this is what most of the general public will associate with the work of Sam Raimi, and even the appearance of Bruce Campbell’s lovely face can’t save it- in fact, it rubs salt in the wound a little, like how bumping into an ex-lover can remind you of the good times now past. This film does, however give us a glorious example of my ‘length of Stan Lee cameo: bad film’ ratio, here he not only has the obligatory walk on part, but also gets to offer Peter Parker some stirring encouragement – ‘nuff said.
5.) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Oh Boy. Where to begin with this one? What began as a cerebral, if somewhat silly literary fanfic on the part of Alan Moore, was developed into a terrible (albeit commercially successful) film. Famous public domain figures fight an evil plot or something, but that’s not really the problem- the problem is how on earth they got a submarine through the Venice canal system; I’ve seen this film a good few times now and I still can’t work it out. Also, just for the sake of anyone who wants to use this film as a cheat-sheet for famous works of literature: showing Dorian Gray his portrait won’t kill him, Mina Harker never fully became a vampire and Mr Hyde isn’t the Incredible Hulk. You’re welcome.
4.) Fantastic Four (2005)
In 2005 a big budget version of the team’s origin story was released, the sequel to which (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) could equally be on this list too, but I feel the original is worse, with its questionable casting and bad dialogue. Another example of the ‘Stan Lee: Bad film’ ratio here, this isn’t so much a cameo as a small role, playing minor Marvel character Willie Lumpkin: the Fantastic Four’s postman. Terribly.
3.) Catwoman (2004)
From what I remember of this film, Catwoman’s super power was epic basketball skills and the main plot revolved around killer face cream.The story doesn’t follow Batman’s foil, Selina Kyle’s origins, instead introducing a Patience Phillips as Catwoman and in this way can be thankfully discarded from canon by fans of the feline thief. The film is notable also for the costume redesign that made Gotham’s most glamorous villain look like an amateur fetish model. Halle Berry graciously accepted her Razzie for her role which is possibly her only redemption in regards to this mess: at least she is willing to accept it was awful. It’s possible that the main error made by this film was presenting Catwoman without Christopher Walken nearby to make her seem non-ridiculous. Hope you’re reading this, Nolan.
2.) Elektra (2005)
This is the poorly received spin-off film of the poorly received Daredevil film, featuring Matt Murdock’s love interest. The main problem with this is that Elektra died towards the end of Daredevil, and her resurrection for this film introduces the silly concept of magic into the plot, which is then over used. Magic tattoos, magic poisonous ladies and magic bullet proof men are all taken in the stride of the characters and sets a tone for the film completely in contrast with its predecessor’s attempted realism. Oh, and then there’s the dialogue, the terrible, terrible dialogue; filled with stilted pauses and often odd delivery. Just generally a mess.
1.) Batman and Robin (1997)
I recommend that everyone see Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin at least once before they die. It’s one of those films that doesn’t quite know where it stands with itself, is it an action film? A comedy? It has hints of the camp, kitsch feelings of the 1960’s TV series with its comedy sound effects and terrible puns, muddled in with gothic sensibilities introduced by Tim Burton’s early entries to the franchise, but it ultimately only really succeeds in be tacky and confused. Credit should go to Arnold Schwarzenegger though, who seems to be revelling in the awfulness of the film’s dialogue (that or he’s a bad actor, but I don’t really want to entertain that notion). I’ll leave you with a final, two word, warning to this one: BAT NIPPLES.