10 Comic Book Movies That Should Be Rebooted
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10 Comic Book Movies That Should Be Rebooted

By TK | Seriously Random Lists | September 25, 2012 | Comments ()


I rarely advocate for rebooting movies. There are enough ideas floating around that we don't need to keep playing the same tapes over and over. When it comes to comic book movies, the trend is spiraling out of control, as we find films like The Amazing Spider-Man telling Spider-Man's origin story yet again. I feel like if you want to tell a Spider-Man story, then tell one using the existing framework. Doesn't matter if you're using different actors. At this point, everyone knows the origin. So use the character and tell a new story (I'm looking at you, Zack Snyder and Man Of Steel).

That said, sometimes a character is botched so horrendously badly that it needs to be wiped from the records, and a new memory needs to be able to shove that old one into the pit and take its place (much as I'd like to include Gavin Hood's Wolverine movie, Jackman is too attached to our image of the character now, having portrayed him in five films). Last week's release of the quite excellent Dredd exorcised the foul, acrid taste of Stallone's film, giving me a nice, fresh (albeit bloody) memory to enjoy. Sometimes you need to reboot movies because the first time was so bad, it's worth the money and effort.

These are the ten comic book movies that are in the direst need of a good rebooting.

Ghost Rider: This is one of the lesser-known characters in the Marvel universe, but man, did they fuck the dog on the movies. Nicolas Cage was a terrible choice, regardless of how much he may love the character. It needs a smaller-budget, Blade-style adaptation. And for the love of God, can someone please learn how to properly depict a villain in these movies?

The Punisher: There have been three Punisher movies, and none of them have gotten it right. The first, starring Dolph Lundgren, was typical 80's action nonsense and plus, it starred Dolph Lundgren. The second starred Thomas Jane, and removed all of the grit and darkness and pathos of the character and made him more of a prankster. The third (Punisher: War Zone) starred Ray Stevenson, and he actually pretty much nailed the character. The problem was that the writing and directing was goddamn abysmal. Maybe bring back Stevenson, unless someone better comes along, but let's scrap all three of those trainwrecks and start anew. I'd recommend turning to the PunisherMax series for inspiration.

The Phantom: Slam evil. Purple tights. Honestly, this just isn't a great character (basically the boring white version of Black Panther), but it's worth a shot, I suppose. But let's never try to make Billy Zane happen again. Ever.

Daredevil: Step one: execute Mark Steven Johnson, for taking what should be a character with surprising depth and history and cheesing him to pieces. There was so much wrong with this movie... Affleck never seemed comfortable in the costume, Garner was too much of a simpering sad sack to effectively portray Elektra, the writing was terrible... pretty much Favreau's Foggy Nelson and Farrell's Bullseye were the only things worth watching. Oh, and Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP, brother) was surprisingly effective as the Kingpin. But regardless, scrap the whole mess. I'm actually keen on seeing if Joe Carnahan's nasty-sounding 70's take on the character ever comes to light. Regardless, Fox is about to lose their rights to the character, so now hopefully a studio with a fucking brain (COUGH MARVEL COUGH) will give it a whirl.

Elektra: Tough character to adapt, but an awesome one. None of this little girl mentor crap. Cold blooded assassin, a little fucking crazy at times, loves as hard as she hates. Someone who looks good in red and is a legitimate asskicker. Gina Carano if she gets more acting lessons. Or Zoe Bell. And if you really want to dial up the crazy, adapt Miller's Elektra: Assassin.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Dear God, what a spectacular failure this movie was. It should really be a slam dunk, because the early comics were so good. Just use them. No Tom fucking Sawyer using Quatermain as a father figure, no Dorian Gray. Show all the faults of the characters, let their dark sides show, dial back the camp a little.

Halle Berry, Sharon Stone catwoman-2004-16-g.jpg
Catwoman: Oy. If Pfeiffer was still young enough, I'd say revive her take on it. Someone should give Halle Berry a severe talking-to, and that's putting it fucking mildly. Anyway. I dug Hathaway's take on her, but I don't know that it was strong enough to carry a solo flick. But Catwoman is a great character -- although you could make the case that she kind of needs Batman in order to tell a really effective story -- and deserves better than that farce of a solo film. Actually, the short film attached to Batman: Year One is what people should look to for how to bring her to life.

Cowboys & Aliens: I've actually never read this comic, but goddamn was the film disappointing. I'm not sure how they assembled that cast, used a concept like cowboys fighting friggin' aliens, had Jon Favreau direct, and ended up with something so monumentally boring. Part of the problem was the film just took itself too seriously. If you're gonna have a title like Cowboys & Aliens, embrace that shit. Make it a little goofy. Make it fun, for fuck's sake.

Green Lantern: Ah, Ryan Reynolds. You just weren't the guy. I think you might be made for Deadpool, but the Green Lantern wasn't right for you. And God knows that Blake Lively didn't help things with her lifeless stumbling. There were some good things in this, though. Mark Strong's Sinestro, and... um... OK, so maybe that's it. It's the Green Lantern. He has a power that is limited only by his imagination. So no more giant fucking matchbox cars or guns. Christ. Also, maybe let's lose Hal Jordan. Maybe go with John Stewart - I've heard some good things about the New 52 version of him.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Krissy

    The original Spawn movie was pretty bad too. That could use another try.

  • Leo O'Rourke

    Say what you want about the Green Lantern film, it was that bad. But did anyone else love Mark Strong as Sinestro? I certainly did.

  • Leo O'Rourke

    I actually thought Jane was a great Punisher. It was the directing and writing that ruined that corny movie.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Who cares if it was boring??? Did you see Daniel Craig's ass???

  • AsdffAnon

    Punisher: War Zone is actually a phenomenal movie. People need to embrace the gloriously violent insanity of that movie. It's not dumb, it's brilliant.

  • zeke_the_pig

    To be fair to Tom Jane, he just wanted his kids back.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    Aw, I liked the Phantom. I liked it much the same way the original as I like the original TMNT movie. They are great, goofy, fun and surprisingly entertaining.

  • Ben

    The Phantom allready got a reboot, it... wasn't good. It was a Scy-Fy original 2 part mini series thing and was just, kind of generally awful.

  • Idle Primate

    ghost rider is a pretty lame and very dated character and we've already had two bad movies, why that would leave anyone craving another chance to be floored by boredom baffles. the same goes for the punisher, except he is a WAY more boring character, and the ball has been dropped 3 times. 3 times and it is high time we devote more screen space to a guy whose whole story is "i shoot bad people because i am sad"? that was old when Charles Bronson was still playing the lead.

    I think it is really hard to make Elektra work on the screen. You can't leave her in her recognisable costume, or you are trawling in Sucker Punch territory, and when you get down to it, it's a ninja action story and that never caught the public's eye beyond some direct to VHS b-movies in the 80's.

    A lot of these were just poor choices, regardless of execution. rebooting them seems a poorer choice. i hope the fun vibe of spider-man and the avengers convinces movie makers to go balls out superhero fun if they want to keep making live action films. fuck reality--that's the whole point of superheroes. In that vein, i think there could be some more fun Fantastic Four or Green Lantern, or various team movies.

  • GunNut2600

    NO! Seriously we need to just fucking stop comic book movies for at least a year or two. Jesus Christ we are scraping the fucking barrel here people. The Punisher?!? For fuck sakes, Frank is not enough of a fucking character to carry a film. Same with Ghostrider and any number of others.

    My god just give it a fucking rest or here's a fucking idea...do a complete or relatively unknown comic (Preacher, Y: Last Man on Earth, whatever). One that doesn't require a fucking retread of the background story that the VAST majority of the target audience already knows. If I seriously have to sit through ANOTHER explanation of how Superman, the X-men, or Spiderman got their powers or grew up, I am going to scream.

    You know why there have been so goddamn many Retcons...because the main characters are fucking tapped out. Does anyone not understand why films are tanking right now?

  • Zachariah Dearing

    Give me more superhero movies! Especially ones that are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

  • space_oddity

    You and I must have different definitions of tanking...

  • Jezzer

    Why exactly are we having problems with Blake Lively as Carol Ferris? After reading the constant bile on Pajiba, I went into GL expecting Blake Lively to be nails-on-a-chalkboard terrible, and she was FINE. Honestly, I believed her more as Carol Ferris than I did Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. Ryan Reynolds played Ryan Reynolds. In green. Against a greenscreen.

  • Alex00

    I always thought he'd be much better suited as Kyle Rayner.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    And if you really want to dial up the crazy, adapt Miller’s Elektra: Assassin.

    I agreed with you on everything except for this. Miller's a fucking hack who shouldn't be let anywhere near anything pop culture related.

  • I'm guessing you haven't watched The Phantom in years. I watched it again just the other night. It is awesome, swashbuckling fun! And Zane is great!

    If you want to remake something from that era, how about Doc Savage?

  • John G.

    10 comic book movies that should be rebooted

  • psemophile

    Hey. CONSTANTINE is pretty deserving of a remake, in my opinion.

  • TK

    Tough call. It doesn't match up with the comic very well, but I actually kind of like the movie.

  • psemophile

    I quite liked the film, too, but I think Hellblazer deserves a more... traditional approach.

  • TK

    I don't disagree. Actually, when you think about it, the advantage to them not calling Keanu's film Constantine is that you could probably reboot the fucking thing, call it Hellblazer, pick a solid Brit, and people probably wouldn't even realize they were watching a reboot.


  • twig

    I hated Keanu (where the fuck was Daniel Craig?) and honestly the script could have been a lot darker/harder but Tilda Swinton and the dude who played Satan were pitch fucking perfect, and whoever did costume design deserved killer Oscars. Gabriel's final deconstructed straightjacket outfit is probably the best movie costume I've ever seen.

    Also not the movie to leave out the deleted scenes.

  • Hawkeye Fierce

    YES! Swinton looks crazy insane good the whole movie, but that final outfit nails it.

    I have this suspicion that the costume dept pulled a very clever, subtle trick at the end. I posit that in Gabriel's final shots, when she's human, they altered the costume to be ill fitting and unflattering. It's small, but suddenly there's some love handles, some pot belly, some drooping seams and twisted fabric. That combined with Swinton's body language/posture really sold me that a transformation had taken place.

  • AudioSuede

    I'm with TK. I re-watched Constantine and that script is high in cheese, but the film's tone was pretty perfect, and Keanu actually showed some fire.

  • Hawkeye Fierce

    Me three. Divorced from the source material, it's a fun stand alone movie that made judicious use of it's special effects and had lots of strong performances. Swinton and Stomare fill me with glee. And I have to admit, I like Lung Cancer Keanu, esp his bitchin' magic tats.

  • TheOriginalMRod


  • psemophile

    Cowboys vs Aliens was an awful comicbook.

  • space_oddity

    As comic books that are basically written as pitches for movies often can be... If anything, the movie improved on the comic.

  • chrisahl

    On the subject of the Punisher: War Zone, with respect to the direction, the podcast "How Did This Get Made" had an episode with the director on as a guest (along with Patton Oswalt) that explains an awful lot. http://www.earwolf.com/episode...

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Totally great episode. Also, I am totally love the parkour group in the movie referred to as "Doug McGinty and his Urban Free Flow gang". I don't know when, and I don't know where - but I'm saving that name for something. Possibly my first born.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I'm surprised to see John Constantine and the Fantastic Four absent from this list. Which is not to say that I don't agree with these ten though. It's also probably high time for Swamp Thing to get re-imagined.
    Actually, I think I'd prefer new franchises with characters that haven't been attempted before. It's not like there's a lack of source material to pull from. Marvel seems to be making an attempt, but DC has a ton of heroes just begging for a movie - Flash, Nightwing, and Wonder Woman are pretty obvious choices, or if they want to get really crazy, I'd LOVE to watch a Secret Six film. Michael C. Hall would make a fantastic Catman. Deadshot could be either Colin Farrell or Walton Goggins. Ragdoll could be a potential typecast-shattering role for Jim Parsons (since Cillian Murphy is already the Scarecrow), or he could completely bone it up. The rest would make for some difficult choices, except if they include Knockout (Christina Hendricks, obvs).

  • TK

    You know, I had Fantastic Four on the original draft of this, but I wanted to keep it to ten and I couldn't figure out which one I would replace. Because in truth, I don't really give much of a fuck about the Fantastic Four. I suppose it could have taken The Phantom's place/

  • For some reason I've never thought the Fantastic Four could work as a live action movie. It needs to be a family friendly adventure film, and it's hard to make that play with such throwback characters. But maybe the people who made Sky High could make it work if they had a bigger budget? I would recommend a CGI flick now that Disney owns Marvel, but Pixar already has The Incredibles. So.

    I still think a Franklin Richards movie is the best way to go...

  • twig

    Sky High was better than it had any right being. Why the hell was that movie so good?

  • ed newman

    Absolutely. Kurt Russell was a scream.

  • I know, right? The cast has a lot to do with it, for sure. But it distilled to its best bits just enough, almost as spot on as Galaxy Quest was for Star Trek-like sci-fi.

  • TK

    No word of a lie. Sky High is fucking terrific.

  • Milly

    I found Green Lantern to be ok. Not fantastic, not woeful, just ok. But then I was bored enough to watch the extended edition, and the addition of a proper opening, and more character development throughout, made it a better film.

    Although I loved the comic book as a kid, I'd forgotten much about the character and about the backstory so I had nothing to compare it to and maybe my views are a bit skewed.

  • Idle Primate

    i'd never read GL, i was always a Marvel boy, and my reaction to the film was exactly the same--it was alright and the extended improved it. it baffles me how much people hated it. it seemed to me that it stayed comic booky, which ought be a good thing? no?

  • Brown

    Here's your Punisher film. http://youtu.be/bWpK0wsnitc

  • thegardenhead

    Don't remake Green Lantern. Just don't. It's a boring character with a boring backstory and boring villains.

    Go up to 100 comic book readers and ask them who their favorite superhero is. Is [i]anyone[/i] going to say Green Lantern?

    Ask them who their five favorite superheroes are. How many are going to name Green Lantern? One? Two? His weakness is the color yellow, for fuck's sake. How do you build a compelling movie around [i]that?[/i]

    Ryan Reynolds was a bad choice, sure, and it was a poorly written and directed movie, yeah. But it would have to have been an absolute masterpiece to overcome America's crushing disinterest and superhero fatigue and actually make some money.

    Just accept that not every character in the DC universe is worth building a movie around, and maybe they'll stick him in as 1/7 of the Justice League when they get around to that movie.

  • Green Lantern

    *I* am going to say "Green Lantern". You watch yourself or I will POWER RING you!


  • Vi

    I'm of the opinion that some of these shouldn't have been made at all.

    Still surprised that no one has tried Runways. Really? Come on Hollywood, you don't even really need to have costumes. And the way the kids ensemble works, you'd think Spielberg would be all over that, reliving his Goonies days.

  • space_oddity

    Oh they did try. They had a script, and put out a casting call. That was back in 2010. But it never happened, and I don't know why.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Why are you trying to take The Phantom away from me? Billy Zane! Purple Spandex! The Jungle! An African hero - who's white! WHY are you trying to RUIN this? The Phantom is a dish best served with a side of The Shadow and several bottles of wine.

  • kali yuga

    Howard the Duck.

  • BWeaves

    I'm still waiting for The Confessor movie. Yes, The Confessor, with his black robes with a big white cross on it, who's also a vampire, and his sidekick, Altar Boy. The movie would be so wrong on so many levels that it just might work.

  • I love everything about this post. Get Nicolas Cage the fuck away from the camera. He's not meant to be "cool" or a "badass" he's a fucking balding middle aged white man. Ghost Rider was and still is LITERALLY the only movie I've ever walked out on.

  • Quatermain

    RE: The Punisher. If you're going to go with the MAX series, 'The Slavers' would be a good one to use, or maybe 'Barracuda.' Michael Clarke Duncan would have owned that part the same way Heath Ledger did The Joker. 'Mother Russia' would be a good one too.

    For Joe Carnahan's '70's grindhouse Daredevil I would even pay evening theatre prices.

    As LXG...that, that was not -my- fault.

  • sean

    Hmmm...the Slavers with a Garth Ennis script. And Abel Ferrara directing. Although I think a Punisher MAX tv show on Starz would be the way to go.

  • space_oddity

    For Punisher, Thomas Jane wants to reboot it. Check out this short from a couple months ago. This is what a Punisher movie should be.

  • Quatermain

    That was decent, although I still say Ray Stevenson makes a better Punisher than Thomas Jane did.

  • Oh, and Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP, brother) was surprisingly effective as the Kingpin.

    Seriously. He rewrote the character in my mind. Like Samuel L Jackson did for Nick Fury. (Actually, Sam plays Fury perfectly. Now we needs some one to play Young Sam playing Young Fury in the 60s/70s SHIELD movie.) Overall - Daredevil (movie) - not as bad as all that.

    Yeah, I don't buy Garner as Elektra, but she did look good in the costume.

    If you're going to do Green Lanter Corps: The Movie, then do the Corps, otherwise stick with the individual hero. And clearly, it is John Stewart's time.

  • Of the ones I've seen on this list, I can't argue against rebooting any. Especially Green Lantern. That. Was. AWFUL.

    But you shut your mouth about Billy Zane! He's a cool dude!

  • Two ideas:

    1. "The Tick", with Fillion! Why not give Alan Tudyk some work as Arthur?
    2. After seeing clips of her in 'Butter', Olivia Wilde might just have the bat-shit button for Elektra.

  • Ghisent

    I'm sorry, but the Tick is and always will be Patrick Warburton. I don't ever want to see anyone else take on the role.

    I am the wild blue yonder, indeed.

  • I grant you that, but he seems to have fallen of the planet. We need box office mojo, and someone like Fillion, who has demonstrated none, is just the ticket!

  • AudioSuede

    Fillion deserves a superhero franchise, for fark's sake. At least with James Gunn on the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, he'll probably get a decent chunk of lead screen time. But the fact that he hasn't been confirmed as the guaranteed best choice for Ant-Man (or, you know, Green Lantern) is a blight on superhero films in general.

  • Stellamaris2012

    RE: Green Lantern. Make the movie that the fan-made trailer Jarron Pitts made - it had Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan, have Whedon direct/script the damn thing... hell, make it a buffy-verse reunion (Jonathan aka Danny Strong could even make a cameo as somebody), but jeez, make. it. fun.

  • BWeaves


  • Blake

    WTF TK? Stop putting ideas into Hollywood Execs heads... But YES to Green Lantern, but only if it is Jon Stewart. Ryan Reynolds will always be Captain Excellent to me.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    Wait, so he is like a Comedy host with a power ring? I am confused. Does he use Sarcasm and Wit to bring justice to the World?

  • twig

    Does he use Sarcasm and Wit to bring justice to the World?

    Shit I'd probably watch it twice.

  • lowercase_ryan

    But Affleck was the bomb in Phantom yo!?!?

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