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.
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.