With Hollywood looking for new ways to make a dollar the re-boot of comic-based films is becoming more common. After the Batman series was reborn as The Dark Knight and Superman was given a new millennium makeover now even Spider Man will go back to the drawing board with an all new cast.
So are there any other franchises that could use a fresh perspective? Here are five that TheUrbandaily.com would like to see get a second chance to make a first impression.
Words ReBecca Theodore-Vachon
X-Men and I have a very special relationship. The very first comic book I ever read was Uncanny X-Men (issue #167 to be exact). So you can imagine my excitement when word came that X-Men would be given the silver screen treatment. My happiness was short-lived. When Bryan Singer was offered the director’s chair, he shamelessly boasted that he had never even heard of the X-Men. The casting and costumes were uninspired. With the exception of Patrick Stewart as Professor X, everyone seemed ill-suited to their roles and the all black leather uniforms made them look like extras from an S&M convention. The dialogue was flat (you do know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning, right?) and the action was practically nonexistent.
Yet, fan boys and critics jumped on the bandwagon, praising Singer’s genius and vision. With dollar signs in their eyes, Warner Bros. bequeathed him with the coveted Superman reboot. It’s safe to say ‘Superman Returns’ was an epic fail. Singer will have to live with the fact that he mangled, not one, but two of the world’s most beloved comic book franchises.
Rx: Wachowskis to the rescue! “The Matrix” changed the face of the sci-fi film genre, but since then the Wachowskis have yet to find a project worthy of their talent. As avowed fan boys, they could bring a fresh perspective to Team Xavier.
JLA was DOA. In 2007, Warner Bros. green lit the project and signed on George Miller to direct—his claim to fame being the super cute, penguin flick “Happy Feet.” Then came the casting, which included a former model, a couple of C list TV actors to portray Batman and Superman, and Common as Green Lantern. It was obvious that Warner Bros. didn’t take this movie seriously. It didn’t take long for the fan boy blogosphere to rip the film a new one. In light of the negative press, the studio wisely decided to shelve “Justice League” indefinitely.
Rx:Bruce Timm is the grand high priest of the DC animated universe. He made “Justice League: The Animated Series” not only cool, but whip-smart. While he hasn’t helmed a live action film, Timm knows these characters inside out, and understands the dynamics of a super-powered team.
Think of Spawn as the 21st century Faust. Murdered during a mission by his boss, Jason Wynn, CIA agent Al Simmons is sentenced to an eternity in hell because of his murderous deeds as a black ops agent. He strikes a deal with the demon Malebolgia to be his newest Hellspawn if he can come back to earth and see his beloved wife Wanda one more time. Spawn’s story of love, loss, and redemption wasn’t hard to pitch to Hollywood—too bad the final product was didn’t live up to its promise.
Michael Jai White was decent, but John Leguizamo made an unholy mess of The Clown. Martin Sheen is a great actor, but he wasn’t up to the task of playing the dastardly Jason Wynn. What should have been a watershed moment in black cinema history, (Spawn was the first movie to portray an African-American superhero) was a monumental failure.
Rx: Guillermo Del Toro was born to direct this movie. He has an uncanny ability to breathe life into the most supernatural beings and fantastical realms. I would also bet money on Will Smith as the title character. Smith has been searching for that ideal dark role, where he can unleash his inner bad boy.
He’s come close with ‘Hancock’ and ‘I Am Legend’, but no cigar. Spawn fits the textbook definition of a tortured soul. With this role, Smith can finally cut loose and feed his appetite for destruction.
Where ‘Spawn’ failed, ‘Blade’ triumphed. With ‘Blade’ 1 & 2, Wesley Snipes proved to Hollywood that a black actor could successfully carry a super hero franchise into the mainstream. Snipes brought suaveness to his stoic portrayal of the half-breed vampire hunter. In addition, he proved to be acapable action star, expanding from his role in ‘Passenger 57.’ Which is why it was so shocking to witness the catastrophe that was “Blade: Trinity.” “Blade: Tthe Series” wasn’t much better. Sticky Fingaz? Really?
Rx: This would be the perfect opportunity for Ang Lee to redeem himself, after his failed attempt at ‘The Hulk.’ If he can bring the same cinematic lyricism as he did in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, ‘Blade’ could get his bite back.
I really wanted to like Fantastic Four. Tim Story, fresh of his success of ‘Barbershop’ was chosen to direct. Finally, a black director helming a comic film franchise! But Story just didn’t get it. He basically copied the same sitcom formula from ‘Barbershop’ and applied it to ‘Fantastic Four.’ The only three people responsible for making the first two films remotely watchable were Chris Evans (Johnny Storm), Michael Chiklis (Ben Grimm) and Lawrence Fishburne (Silver Surfer). The rest of the cast didn’t fare too well. Julian McMahon was just too pretty to play Dr. Doom, and Jessica Alba was out of her element. The decision to give her those creepy blue contacts and god awful blonde wig in Fantastic Four 2 didn’t help. They should have cast Scarlett Johanssen and been done with it. The biggest disappointment was the climactic showdown between the F.F. team and the big baddie, Galactus. Is there a reason why one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel universe came in the form of a cosmic dust storm?
Rx: F. Gary Gray is one of the best action directors on the scene (‘Set It Off, ‘Italian Job’) and can handle ensemble casts. Plus, we need to prove that another black director can shoulder a mainstream comic franchise.
Which of your favorite comics would you like to see made into a movie? Let us know in the comments!