Just when Harry Potter thought he was going to reign, when nothing could outdo his finest spells and ghastly encounters, Captain America crashed into his moment of grandeur, sending his epic, final film spiraling downward in a battle at the box office.
That's right: the puny, outdated action hero who miraculously turns into a Calvin Klein underwear model took the top spot at the box office this past weekend, much to the dismay of wizard-loving aficionados everywhere.
Comic book adaptations are what the industry refers to as a 'pre-sold franchise.' It's like purchasing something with a built-in market. If you're a fan of the comics, chances are you're going to go and see the movie -- even if it sucks. But not everything that's immortalized in cartoon form should be put into live action. Just ask Roger Rabbit. And with Christopher Nolan's upcoming final Batman film, let's reflect on films adapted from comics that simply sucked.
Batman and Robin (1997)
One thing about George Clooney is that he never ages, which makes him a superhero in his own right (at least to the female population). However, in 1997's Batman and Robin, the filmmakers tried too hard to capitalize on the winged superhero's popularity, instead throwing more money into building the cast than building the actual plot. With such names as Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached, no one expected an Academy Award winner- but a little bit of effort couldn't have hurt either.
It wasn't until Christopher Nolan took over the Batman legacy that something could actually be said of the living version of this famed comic book antihero. Christian Bale's intellectual connection with Bruce Wayne is living proof that practice does, in fact, make perfect. It also kind of makes up for the fact that many of us were forced to suffer through two hours of Arnold's bad accent paired with the chick from Clueless suddenly finding her inner superhero.
Looking back at the 2003 flop, Eric Bana was never a good choice to play the Hulk. But in this adaption of the anger-induced, ghastly green comic book monster, he was given the opportunity. And he failed miserably. No one was expecting him to fill the shoes of Bill Bixby or Lou Ferrigno, but he didn't even come close.
What's even more puzzling about the Hulk saga is that, only five years after the first failure, another Hulk film, 2008's The Incredible Hulk, tried its hardest to come back with a vengeance. Though a significantly better film, it still didn't fall in line with the success of the original comic book series and, of course, the iconic television series that followed. It's a shame- everyone's favorite green guy certainly deserves a fighting chance. We think Bruce Banner would agree.
Some will argue that 'graphic novels' aren't necessarily comic books, but we beg to differ. Graphic novels are just a tad more sophisticated, but have the same general premise. And, just like everyone else in 2009, we had a lot of faith in director Zack Snyder. After the brilliance of 300, the man could do no wrong in our eyes -- until we had the misfortune of renting Watchmen.
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It was like watching a train slowly derail, attempt to pull it together, and derail again in the process. The film itself was spectacular in terms of graphics, but that was about all it had to offer. With its cold setting and lack of emotion, it was difficult to draw a hit from a steaming pile of rubbish. The graphic novel was brilliant, but the film had little to offer. The tagline asked who was watching the Watchmen. I'd rather know who was watching Snyder-- especially since he went on to make an equally devastating film out of Sucker Punch several years later.
Superman Returns (2006)
Growing up, Christopher Reeves was Superman. Period. He may now be gone, but in our minds and the minds of millions, he IS Superman. That's why the 2006 Superman reboot, adequately named Superman Returns, wasn't widely accepted. The film wasn't in any way horrible, but it wasn't the best Superman film either.
The biggest problem with this caped superhero is that he's actually kind of boring. Aside from his infatuation with the ever beautiful Lois Lane, there really isn't a whole lot to offer. His disguise is a pair of glasses and a geeky persona paired with his undying need to save the world. Smallville should be enough to satisfy any desire one may have for a random re-imagination.