Some time ago, I stumbled on an article by The Hollywood Reporter, where there were reports of Matt Ryan reprising his role as Constantine in the CW's Arrow. I thought to myself, "This is good news!" because of the cancellation of the NBC series Constantine earlier this year. I was really ecstatic to see a seldom-seen comic book character return from cancellation, being portrayed by Matt Ryan, an actor who seems to be born to play the character.
However, it has come to my attention that there are some comic book movies that don't shine as bright compared to other great comic book films such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, and The Dark Knight. I'm pretty sure that some of you readers and fellow comic book fans have characters that you desperately want to see on the silver screen, portrayed right in a movie that would do him/her justice. This is also made more relevant by the fact that two of the largest comic book publishers, Marvel and DC, have their own cinematic universes, Marvel having the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and DC currently developing the DC Extended Universe with the help of Warner Brothers. This is why I compiled this list of the ten comic book movie characters who deserve a reboot. The list doesn't contain characters who are already set to be rebooted, so don't expect Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, or Batman. Without further ado, the first one on our list is...
John Constantine is one hell of a character. It's unsurprising that most readers may not know of him, because of the mature content the Hellblazer series contains. However, Constantine has had some brushes with Hollywood, with the 2005 film Constantine. Due to low critical ratings and poor box-office performance, the film didn't get a following, several critics panning Keanu Reeve's performance as the title character, and fans complaining about the change of integral character traits of his, from British to American.
This didn't stop Warner Brothers from developing a live-action series, Constantine (2014), which gave a(n arguably) faithful portrayal of the character, with star Matt Ryan as the title character. Due to the series' cancellation earlier this year, fans and series supporters begged for more of John Constantine. Recently, it was announced that Matt Ryan would reprise his role as Constantine in the hit CW live-action series Arrow during its fifth episode in season 4.
Some fans rejoiced, but I think Constantine needs another shot on the silver screen. Perhaps a Constantine film wouldn't be all that bad, with Matt Ryan portraying the character. With Constantine being a mystical hero, this may be the DC Extended Universe's answer to the MCU's Doctor Strange, with a little touch of noir and mystery.
This character has had two movies within the past decade, Ghost Rider (2007), and Spirit of Vengeance (2012). In both films, the character was portrayed by Nicolas Cage, who recently said that he was "done" with being Ghost Rider. Unsurprisingly, he wasn't much of a good choice to portray the character. Other background characters also didn't shine as much in the films, and thus both were critically panned.
Now that the rights of Ghost Rider have reverted back to Marvel, maybe it's time for Ghost Rider to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in line with the introduction of the mystical realm of the MCU, care of 2016's Doctor Strange.
The characterization of Johnny Blaze as a badass, lone-ranger type could serve as a distinct character in the MCU, which would make Ghost Rider valuable as a character. However, there are other people who have taken up the mantle of Ghost Rider, and I think that with the success of Ant-Man, I think that it's also a possibility that Ghost Rider could include a "predecessor-successor" type of story. Well, that and some demon-hunting action, a Ghost Rider film can't go wrong.
Who? That's the first question I asked when I first heard about the 2008 film. This guy is a relatively unknown character to casual comic book readers. (Perhaps I can do an article on him.)
However, this guy shows a lot of promise, especially because of how this character could fit into the DC Extended Universe continuity. Even before the 2008 film, The Spirit comics already had the film-noir element to them, because of the subject matter that each story deals with. Oh, also the fact that the Spirit himself is a master detective. This could potentially put him head-to-head or side-by-side with another master detective from DC Comics.
The Spirit is a character who can also bring some suspense into superhero films, in contrast to the usual city-destroying action we usually get. Imagine a superhero movie where the viewers actually have to think hard in order to guess what happens next. That sounds awesome.
The Green Hornet
I'm pretty sure most of us have seen the 2011 movie The Green Hornet and thought it sucked. Despite my respect toward Seth Rogen (whom I think is really awesome), his portrayal of the Green Hornet made the character look more like a comedic slacker. In the radio show and the comics, the Green Hornet is portrayed as a man with genius-level intellect and master detective skills.
With the Green Hornet's modus operandi of posing as a master criminal and using that reputation to take out the mob, this could come off as an interesting way to show the gray area between crime and justice. Also, add the martial arts expertise of Kato, the Green Hornet's chauffeur/sidekick, and you can have honest-to-goodness, Kill Bill-style fight scenes. With the right direction, actors and story, I believe a Green Hornet film could be great. (Maybe if Quentin Tarantino could direct this film? One can only hope)
After a recent flurry of terrible vampire films that need not be named, it's time for a badass vampire hunter to return to the silver screen, and I believe that it should be none other than Blade. I mean look at this guy! He's got all the powers of a vampire and none of their weaknesses. That's kind of badass.
There actually was a Blade trilogy that began in the late 90's. It was awesome, to say the least, but I feel that there needs to be some kind of update to the character, now that Marvel has already established a cinematic universe. I trust that Marvel will do the character justice, given their track record of having great movies ever since Iron Man came into theaters.
The thing about Blade, is despite how overpowered he may seem, some viewers may feel an intense type of horror and suspense if the character were to have a film sometime in the near future. This is why I believe that Blade needs to have a new film to break from the common superhero campiness we see in films today. (Well, Marvel films, that is.)
At first sight, you might think of this guy as some sort of wacko because of his purple outfit (which is definitely not intimidating at all), but there's a reason why this is part of the list. It's true that the Phantom is definitely one of the more glossed-over comic book heroes. However, he may also be considered one of the most influential in his time. Sporting the purple leotard and the domino mask with no pupils, the Phantom proved to be one of the foremost superheroes in the age where Batman and Superman were relatively new. It could be possible that his popularity grew less and less due to the purple costume he wears, but there is no denying how awesome that may have looked to people living in the 1930's.
The Phantom is also another superhero who has multiple incarnations. The Phantom name in itself is a "legacy" that is passed down from generation to generation. In fact, the Phantom we see in the comic strip is already the 21st "Phantom" in a long line of "Phantoms". This may prove to be an interesting plot point in a film. The Phantom comics also take place in the fictional African country of Bangalla, which may give viewers a breath of fresh air from the usually urban locations of recent superhero movies. Lastly, a costume revamp won't do anyone harm, yes? We're talking about the Phantom here. The people in the Phantom comic strip believe him to be an immortal mythical figure. Maybe a costume change could make that more believable. In order to revitalize the character, a movie would be a good start.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Alright, let's discuss the elephant in the room, the film that caused one of the most iconic actors in film history to quit acting for good, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Apart from having a plot that went all over the place, it featured characters that came off a bit bland because of the many characters that were (supposedly) central to the film's "plot." Time and time again, many comic book films have failed to meet expectations, mainly because of bad character development and an equally bad plot. The thing is, so much can be accomplished with such a simple plot. However any movie will be terrible if there is little to no character development at all.
I think that the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has great potential, with all the characters that inhabit the universe the stories take place in. Alan Moore did a great job bringing comic book readers this story. Maybe someone with equal storytelling skill can translate these into movies. If ever the stories of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were translated into film, it could potentially become a major film franchise because of all the interesting characters featured in these stories. Plus, the steampunk atmosphere could also provide viewers a clean break from the mostly modern setting of current superhero movies. Think 19th century action-adventure with a twist of steampunk and mystery. That seems like a lot of fun. It's too bad Sean Connery wouldn't be able to be part of a film series that would do its source material justice.
I remember reading an article where Steven Spielberg said that superhero films will "go the way of the western." I think this prediction is somewhat true, because western films were all the rage back in the mid 1900's. They soon began to lose popularity toward the end of the century. This will most likely be true for superhero films as well. I assume that the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't last forever (even if I hope it does). The same is true for the DC Extended Universe, even if it's only just getting started. Maybe it's because superhero films, like westerns, always seem to follow the same tone. Of course, there's the bright and campy atmosphere of the MCU, and in contrast, the dark and realistic tone of the DCEU. Somehow there can be a fine medium between both styles. That's where I think Jonah Hex can fit in.
I think Jonah Hex can transcend both the superhero and the western film genre because Jonah Hex himself is a stereotypical western antihero. There are also many brilliant plot points and characters that can be brought into film properly. This is probably where the 2010 film falls short, only featuring part of his origin and forcing a convoluted plot. Perhaps the Jonah Hex comics are also convoluted in their stories, but they still managed to gain a following from comic book readers. Jonah Hex's status as a bounty hunter could also bring a morally ambiguous plot into the mix. There are many violent occurrences in the comics, such as how he got branded with the "Mark of the Demon" or how he rescued an Apache chieftain from a puma. This can also bring a "Mad Max: Fury Road" level of chaos to the screen, and with Deadpool's R-18 rating, I think that the same could happen for a possible Jonah Hex film. Bonus points if Thomas Jane gets to play Jonah Hex.
In all honesty, I really liked the film, however I do acknowledge that many things about the film do seem out of place. There were certain things about the film that were on point, especially the characters. However, some of the characters didn't really fit the tone of the movie.
In my opinion, the different members of Watchmen deserve to have their own films. Each character has enough personality to carry their own films' plots. It's always interesting to see a superhero team in one film, however once people have seen them all together onscreen, it'd give the overall plot of the story much more depth to see individual team members featured in their own stories.
With characters that differ tonally, like Rorshach and Nite-Owl, it would only be fair to give each of them a film that fits them. Give Rorshach a noir film and Nite-Owl an action-adventure spectacle. Give the Comedian a dark comedy war flick and Silk Spectre a martial-arts-vengeance movie. The possibilities are endless, even Dr. Manhattan wouldn't be able to predict them all. Plus, with the film's ties to Zack Snyder, who is currently spearheading the DC Extended Universe, this may possibly be a good opportunity to make the main plot-driver in the original Watchmen film more believable, that a world full of superheroes is not as fantastic as it seems. And speaking of "fantastic..."
The Fantastic Four
Yes. It comes to this...
I cannot stress how there are so many missed opportunities in the Fantastic Four films. There are too many to count, actually, so I'll just settle this entry with one thing, and one thing only: an open letter to 20th Century Fox.
Please give Marvel Studios the rights to Fantastic Four. You obviously won't really do much with those rights. You made terrible Fantastic Four films. You also refuse to link the universes of the X-Men and Fantastic Four films. Also, you really have such a hard time making the Fantastic Four, well... Fantastic. Fox, you already have the X-Men, and you're doing a great job with them. Good move in retconning X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand, by the way. You can make X-Men work, and fine, we can leave that to you. Just please, for the love of comic books, for the love of making movies, just give the Fantastic Four rights to Marvel Studios. Sony did a great job by giving Marvel Studios creative rights to Spider-Man and all related characters. Why can't you do the same? If you can't do it for the money, just do it for the fans. The Fantastic Four is an integral to the Marvel Universe. It could be integral to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well. Let the Fantastic Four go if you're not going to do them justice at all. Just focus on X-Men, please. Give Marvel Studios the rights to Fantastic Four. They'll do a Fantastic job with it.
Don't screw-up X-Men: Apocalypse. And Deadpool.
Do. Not. Screw. Up.