Comics That Should Never Be Made Into Movies
For some time now, comic books have provided Hollywood with a variety of options for the basis of films. We’ve seen anything from the beloved Superman to the darkness of Batman to the washed-up Watchmen to the second most successful movie of all time in The Avengers. The good thing about using comics as a source is that the possibilities are nearly endless, from the supernatural to the fantastical; If you can think of it, there is probably a comic that will suit your fancy. Obviously, there will be comics that do better than others and, for the most part, with good reason. But, does that mean that Hollywood should automatically assume a film based on these popular comics will be a huge hit? In regards to some of the bigger comic book movie franchises, such as Iron Man and Batman, the film’s writers and directors have taken from multiple comic runs for each of their films rather than pulling from one specific story, and more often than not, it has worked. Some films, like Watchmen or V for Vendetta, there was only one story to pull from and this allows the director to stay more focused on that particular tale. Again, more often than not, the film was a success among fans (critics are a whole new ball game however.)
When a new film in a franchise is announced, or when the first film in a franchise comes about, the nerd herd of the world becomes quite vocal, spewing out suggestions of which story they’d like to see adapted. Usually, we are way off base and the choose something a bit more obscure and it they make it work. And that is for the better in this geek’s opinion. Fans will typically suggest some of the more popular stories out there, like the ones I have listed below, but what they fail to realize is that just because the story is a great one, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a film centered on that story will translate well to film. So, I’ve compiled a list of films that, despite them being among the most popular and epic tales we’ve ever seen grace the pages of our beloved comic books, likely wouldn’t make a great film.
There has been a rumor floating around for some time that Marvel Studios is planning to utilize the awesome Planet Hulk arc as the basis of the next solo film for the Jade Giant. The folks at Marvel have repeatedly denied those rumors, but that’s expected, regardless if that was their plan or not. On paper, Planet Hulk seems like a good choice and after seeing the story completed in an animated feature, I can certainly see the draw here. However, making this story fit into the current Marvel film universe would prove to be difficult, not to mention, would the main-stream crowd be ready to accept a vocal and intelligent Hulk, especially since the previous two solo films didn’t do well at the box office? My guess is no. It should be noted that will Marvel venturing into the realm of other-worldness in Guardians of the Galaxy, it wouldn’t be too far of a leap to see the Illuminati send Hulk off to a new planet to fend for himself. Problem is, where do you go from there? Do you follow up with World War Hulk? Just doesn’t make sense to take the character who is arguably the most popular coming out of Avengers and turn him into what would essentially be a villain for the team.
Superman- Red Son
This past weekend, DC Comics and Warner Bros. successfully rebooted the Superman franchise with Man of Steel. While the film has fans and critics split, it has proven to be a huge hit, allowing for more films, including a sequel and possibly a Justice League film, to be put into production or at the very least, a bigger push towards production. Not surprisingly, many writers, bloggers and fans have already started tossing out storylines they’d like to see adapted in future films. One that I’m continually seeing is Mark Millar’s hugely popular Red Son, which poses the question of what would happen if Kal-El had landed in Russia rather than the American heartland. It certainly is an intriguing story and one that could probably work on film. The problem here is that does the American audience want to see one of its favorite superheros, one that has stood for the American way since his creation, have a hammer an sickle slapped on his chest and fight for Mother Russia? As an animated feature, I’d be OK with this, as there is no tie-in to other films or the live-action films that will likely sprout from Man of Steel. But to place this film, even as a stand-alone with no tie-ins, this would be incredibly difficult to pull off and to make successful and to get the general audience to understand what is happening. Leave this one to the animated teams and stick with bringing new villains like Brainiac or even Doomsday to the fans.
One of the most shocking and gripping tales (for the most part) in recent years was Marvel’s Civil War, which pitted friends and family against one another. The event had both the characters and fans split down the center and taking sides. Should superheroes be required to reveal their identity and register with the government, or should they be able to keep themselves hidden? One can’t help but wonder how true to life these questions and events would be if we had super-powered beings amongst us and I think that’s why this series hit close to home and was so popular. However, to get this story made into a film would be a massive feat, for many reasons. First off, Marvel doesn’t own the film rights to characters that play a huge part in the series, specifically Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Sure, you could pull this off with the characters that Marvel does own, but you’d be quite limited with what you could do. Also, the sheer scale of this film, or more appropriately, films, because this would certainly need to be spread out to tell the tale correctly, would be huge:set pieces, special effects, etc, etc. As a comic fan, I’d love to see this on film, but realistically, this would just be too much.
Quite possibly one of the most impressive and polarizing story arcs to come from DC, Kingdom Come is a story that, like Civil War, would be a massive undertaking. As a fan, to see a gathering of every character that has ever meant anything to DC showing up in one arc to battle it out would be a dream come true. Batman versus Superman…Batman versus Wonder Woman…Superman versus Captain Marvel…the very thought of this makes me giddy! However, this one is just too big to contain and would prove to be a massive challenge to not let certain things fall through the cracks. Not to mention, Warner Bros. is having a hard enough time getting a Justice League film made, which would feature 4-5 characters. How do you expect them to handle dozens? The good thing about this story is that DC and WB own all of their characters, so in the very unlikely even they decide to go this route, they can introduce characters at will. But, let’s take baby steps and get JL, Flash and Wonder Woman films on the table first.
Who do you trust? During the all to brief run of Marvel’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, they introduced the acclaimed and hugely popular Secret Invasion story line. They were able to pull it off quite well, despite the fact that they didn’t include certain characters. Being that they had an extended time period to introduce the story, it worked, but would the studio be able to pull it off in live-action? My money says no. As much as I’d like to see it happen, this one is just too big to pull off, just like the previous to comics listed. In order to do this right, you’d need a substantial amount of setting-up to get things in place for it all to make sense. And from what I can tell, in seven Marvel films, they haven’t done that at all. Like Civil War and Kingdom Come, the massive scale of this arc would only be a hindrance. This is a story that works well when you can spread it out over several seasons, much like they did in EMH, rather than in one, two or even three films.
I’m sure there are others that could be listed here, but you can see a pattern here. One story I refuse to add to this list, though it should probably be listed, is X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. Being an big X-Men fan, I still hold hope that the team of mutants will one day battle the ancient threat. My argument as to why it shouldn’t be listed here, aside from my extreme bias, is that while it is a big story to tell, you could easily work it into the universe already set up, including the characters that exist. The biggest challenge would be trying to manage the number of characters involved and making sure they get the screen-time they deserve and not get lost in the back ground. But hey, that’s an issue with any comic book movie.
Many of these stories are just too big for their britches and would prove to be a huge undertaking. Finding a writer and/or director to tackle these types of projects would be a challenge on it’s own, let alone putting the story together in a manner that would do justice to the source is an uphill battle many folks just don’t want to fight. What do you think comic fans? Are there other stories you think should skip the movie adaptation? DO you think I’m off my rocker on this list? Sound off below!