I talked the other day about how some DC superhero adaptations just totally miss the mark. The character created may have the same name, and possibly some other things carried over like secret identity, but overall the character is a separate creation totally separate from the comic book character supposedly being portrayed.
Well my friends the villains can have it bad also. Sometimes a director will decide that the villain needs to be shaken up. And that would be ok, but at the same time they will either change to much and lose the essence of the character, or basically dumb the character down to the point it’s even sillier than they appear in the comic books.
Here now are my top 5 worst attempts at adapting a classic comics book villain for either movie or TV. I have opened this up to include Marvel, for a very obvious reason which you will soon see (if you haven’t guessed). And remember this is all opinion so feel free to disagree.
#5.Lex Luthor (Superman Returns)
Oh Kevin Spacey, where did it go so wrong? I really got the feeling Spacey cared about the role and wanted to have fun with it. Maybe he was the victim of a bad script. While I have slammed Brandon Routh as Superman it really isn’t the worst performance in the movie. What in the world was Spacey doing in this movie? I mean, besides a Gene Hackman impression. That’s basically what it boils down to. Rather than try to give a spin on Luthor all his own he tried to recapture what Hackman did. However, Hackman’s charm is what sold that role while Spacey just comes off like a big bully. Luthor is supposed to be brilliant and cunning, and I don’t get that here. And to make matters worst, the plan Luthor has in the movie is D-U-M-B. The worst Luthor ever, no question.
I have defended this show up and down and will continue to. But what they did to Darkseid was a real let down. When they first teased it I thought “Fuck yeah! About time we saw a live action Darkseid!!” What we got was….not quite what I expected. He is a presence in the shadows that whole last season, and that was cool. They built him up by keeping it in the shadows and I got that. The problem is he never stopped just being a shadowy form. So finally, the last episode is here and what do we get? The shadow Darkseid takes over the form of Lionel Luther and Superman vanquishes him in about three seconds. Smallville had a habit of rushing their battles but this one was real disapointing. It was an insult to such an awesome character reducing him this way. I will still maintane this show had some real strengths and did respect the Superman mythos. Even if it also turned them into Dawson’s Creek at times. It was the best Luthor and Lois Lane in my book and many of the villains and superheroes were very well done. Darkseid was not one of them.
#3.Green Goblin (Spider-Man)
Sorry but how could I leave this off a list like this? I was not a major Spider-Man fan. I barely read the comics and the only real exposure I had was with the cartoon Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (which was awesome even if it has been forgotten). But even I knew that the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie was AWFUL. How did this miss so hard? Willem Dafoe wasn’t that bad, ok a little hammy but that was no crime. But the suit the Goblin wears was just so idiotic. Even I know what the Goblin is supposed to look like, amd it wasn’t as a lame Power Rangers villain. And his major weapon was gas. Ok, sure. What the heck happened? I have only seen images of the version used this last summer and at least it looks a little better. I liked the other villains in these movies just fine, but The Green Goblin was a major FAIL!
#2.Two-Face (Batman Forever)
I talked about this waayyyy back but will mention it here. When I first saw this movie I didn’t really understand the character. I just heard Tommy Lee Jones was playing him, and thought that was perfect! What I didn’t expect was that Schumacher was just going to recycle Nicholson’s Joker. Or that Jones woud put in NO effort whatsoever. Give Jim Carey credit, he is trying as The Riddler (especially in his early scenes). But the fact is everything that made the character awesome is gone here. Where is that psychological torment Harvey Dent experences? It gets hinted at, but barely. And the coin isn’t just a gimick it’s part of his personality! I shmefully admit it took some time for to me get why that scene where he keeps flipping it over and over is such an insult to the character. It’s something I didn’t fully realize until I saw the same character dome MUCH better in The Dark Knight. I loved what they did there. Almost more than The Joker. Here? It’s just way to silly. This movie is a guilty pleasure even years later, but wisdom makes me like this performance less and less.
#1.The Penguin (Batman Returns)
For the love of god Tim Burton, WHY??? I get reimagining a character, I really do, but you can’t create an entirely new character and think we’ll be OK if you just throw the same name and gimmick onto him. What is this? It’s ironic because this movie does Catwoman perfectly, but couldn’t have missed the mark with Penguin any harder. I mean if you’re not sure what Penguin is suppsoed to be like, check out how Burgess Meredith played him in the TV show. And I am not saying the character can’t be tweaked. The cartoon series did a much better job updating the character while staying true to him. Just make him more sadistic or give him a better backstory. But my god! Penguin is suppsoed to be refined and classy. Not to mention smart. I also understand making a movie with him would be tricky but what is this thing Danny DeCVito plays (and does play well I admit)? And the fact he lives in a sewer is just stupid. I hated this version of the character from the first moment I saw a pic of what he was going to look like. Next time Burton, if you’re going to just ignore what makes the charatcer memorable than just create a whole new villain from scratch.
I know what people are saying, what no “Batman & Robin”? Here’s the thing, I didn’t hate the villains in that movie. I really liked Poison Ivy. Mr Freeze? Ok Arnold Schwarzenegger had some awful lines but that wasn’t Arnold’s fault. And they did respect the character’s backstory pretty well.. As for Bane…he was such a non presence in the movie i choose to overlook it. That movie had problems but I can’t say they botched the villains to hard. And speaking of Bane, some may think he should be on here from “The Dark Knight Rises” but I liked that role until they ruined him in the last ten minutes. In fact all the villains in those movies were done very well.
Ok folks, what do you guys think? Is there a comic villain adaptation even worst than the five listed here? Commen and let me know. Till next time my friends, be good to yourselves.