Do you like comic books? Great. Do you like movies based on comic books? Super. Are you used to seeing a lot of comic book movies that suck? Me too. Here’s five, in no particular order, that are pretty lame.
5. Captain America. There was a bad 1979 TV movie about Captain America (followed by an also forgettable TV sequel), but it can be completely forgiven since it was a low-budget backdoor pilot that was a product of it’s time. In 1990, a theatrical version of ol’ Cap was publicized during the boom following Tim Burton’s Batman the year before. It was featured on Entertainment Tonight, and posters were plastered in theaters everywhere. But it never was released in cineplexes and, two years later, was quietly put on video shelves until it eventually went out of print. Why? The movie sucks balls. First of all, Captain America’s costume is a very dull and bland, complete with rubber ears sewn onto the head. No matter, the character himself is made into a complete and utter pussy, getting his ass repeatedly handed to him throughout the film. The movie even has the audacity to give the audience Cap’s arch-nemesis, The Red Skull, and take away that character’s–you know–red skull. The movie contains almost zero action until the last ten minutes or so, when Captain America suddenly grows a pair and finally throws his mighty shield. By the time that happens, the audience wishes that shield were being thrown at them. Luckily, the 2011 “Cap’n” movie was pretty darned enjoyable. It would have made people forget this version had people seen it in the first place.
4. Ghost Rider. People beat up Nicholas Cage too much, and often for things that simply aren’t his fault. Ghost Rider is one of those movies people toss out as a way to smack Cage around a bit, but the movies sucktitude is not because he fails to deliver. He plays the title character just fine, especially since said character is mostly just a CGI effect when onscreen. The problem with this movie is that, first of all, the character himself was never that great an idea to begin with and, secondly, the film itself is nothing but a video game. Seriously, you can take the actual plot and put it into any scrolling game you ever played on your old Sega Genesis. The main character fights a bunch of low lives, beats them, and then has to take on the “Big Boss” at the end of the game–er, movie. The effects aren’t that good to begin with, adding to that video game vibe. The worst effect of all? Trying to convince the audience that actor Wes Bentley is a scary villain. Were you scared of the goth kid who was president of the Chess Club? Didn’t think so.
3. Steel. It’s hard to have a secret identity when you’re a superhero. It’s even harder to keep that secret when you’re the only eight-foot tall black guy in the city, and you’re just as much a pain in the ass to your nemesis out of costume as you are when you’re wearing the stupid thing. Shaquille O’Neil is amazing on the basketball court, but clumsy when it comes to crime fighting. Another example of making a comic book movie out of a character that no one gave a rat’s ass about in the first place. Remember that Steelcomic book you so cherished as a child? Of course not. That comic never existed, and this movie never should have, either. The fact that it uses such a stupid and dated catchphrase as “It’s Hammer Time” alone is enough to burn every last copy. The idea of a hero’s catchphrase is that it has to be original, not stolen from another part of pop culture. Imagine if The Hulk said “Who let the dogs out?”
2. Superman IV. This sucker killed the Superman movie franchise until a new (albeit flawed) flick was released in 2006. After making boatloads of money from three other Superman movies, the producers decided that the best thing to do with this 1987 crapfest was to actually decrease the budget. And, boy, did the decrease the budget. It looks like it was filmed for about $238. The special effects are terrible, and can now be done with green bedsheets and a camcorder. In fact, they probably were done that way back then, too. Forget the effects, the movie is stupid, with Superman fighting off Nuclear Man, a villain that would normally be used as a filler in some “Don’t do Drugs” issue of a comic book you got for free in a box of cereal. It was topical during the late 80s, perhaps, but now seems horribly dated and ham-fisted. On top of that, half the movie was shot and then edited out in the final version, with an entire second plot completely left on the cutting room floor. Doesn’t matter; rumor has it that version sucked, too. The final nail in the coffin came before it even hit screens. The star of the movie, Christopher Reeve, said that the movie was going to suck before it was even done being made.
1. The Fantastic Four. It’s too easy to beat up on the 2005 film and it’s 2007 sequel. But those movies actually succeeded because they were–for right or wrong–made for families and not loyal comic book fans. Instead, I’m going after the never-released (but often talked-about) 1994 version of The FF that was made for less than 2 million dollars and was shelved for years. Available only a bootleg to collectors and curious fans with a little time on their hands, The Fantastic Four of ’94 was made by cheapo movie producer Roger Corman, and was only made as a sneaky plan to keep copyrights on behalf of the studio. No one involved in the movie, from the cast to the director, knew they were being scammed, and that the movie would never be released. You can’t tell that, however, because the movie looks like a dress rehearsal. The effects are awful, the writing isamateur, and the plot makes little sense. How bad are the effects? The Human Torch, in the final action scene, is completely animated. Not CGI, mind you. Animated. Imagine if, in the final scenes of The Dark Knight, if Batman suddenly morphed into the opening credits of the 60s series. Now you have an idea of what this movie looked like. It sucked ass.
There are more Comic Book Movies That Suck. Got one that really pisses you off?