Any movie that is based on a comic book or piece of literature is bound to deviate from the source material from time to time due to creative differences, casting, or even some unforeseen issue that might arise during production. What is often seen as unforgivable by diehard fans and even casual movie-goers is the fact that some movies just don’t seem to pay much attention to their source material at all.
In some cases the movies that are created are far wide of the mark, going off in a direction that their sources never mentioned or picking and choosing random bits of storyline to draw from without bothering to take the time to fill in the gaps. In any case, the meddling that occurs in Hollywood often times creates a feature that might be entertaining, but is filled with plot holes that true fans of the comics can pick apart at will. What that in mind here are five comic book movies that butchered the comic books.
Image comics had a rare gem in Spawn, which was at one point and time the shining jewel in their comic book division. A black ops agent who was betrayed and killed by his own people, Al Simmons was sent to hell for the things he had done, but his spirit was so uniquely dark that he was selected to act as Hell’s general, and was given unparalleled power upon his return to the mortal world. Unfortunately for the powers that created him, Simmons had a spark of light left to his soul and eventually turned on his new masters, becoming an antihero by standing against his creator.
So far as movies go the plot was rather weak, the main points of Spawn’s story were somehow muted and left to linger throughout the film, and the CGI was not at all ready for the epic scenes of Hell that were featured. In short, “Spawn” was an idea that could have done with a great deal of creative backtracking and critiquing before it was released onto the screen. Fans were fairly outraged that so much of the source material was simply abandoned to produce an hour and a half stinkbomb that featured little if anything of one of their favorite and darkest personalities from the comics.
Judge Dredd (1995)
Sylvester Stallone can do most anything, except act in comedies or science fiction. Many fans of the popular comic Judge Dredd didn’t even bother to see this stinker as it managed to trip over its own booted feet before ever making it out of the box office. Perhaps after “Demolition Man” Stallone thought he could keep the sci-fi shtick rolling, but with “Judge Dredd” he simply fell flat. There is no doubt that he can produce the growling, gruff demeanor of every comic fan’s favorite Judge, but aside from that his acting was just not right for the part, and the only saving grace of the film were the comedic ramblings of Rob Schneider as he plays opposite of the grim, often gruff titular character.
The 1990’s were a time of growth for CGI and special effects, and some thought that “Judge Dredd” would offer up a pleasing look into the future of movies via the comics. Unfortunately the Judge didn’t do much more than offer a few lame catchphrases and a whole slew of bad one-liners that were DOA long before their predicted delivery. Without Diane Lane to look at as Judge Hershey and the wild and crazy antics of Rico, played by Armand Assante, “Judge Dredd” wouldn’t have been worth a second look
Fantastic Four (2015)
Everyone likes superhero movies, right? Well that answer could be given in many different ways, but in terms of the “Fantastic Four” one answer comes to mind: not like this. The casting isn’t bad, as even the switch of Johnny Storm being overtaken by Michael B. Jordan instead of revamped by Chris Evans is an interesting switch. Even the characters of Sue Storm, Reed Richards, and Ben Grimm are fairly true to the original story. Victor von Doom is even as arrogant and charmingly antisocial as the comics depict, but after all this things tend to get a little muddled.
Not only do the famous foursome end up going to another dimension instead of into space, but Doom is with them this time and is left behind, a real deviation from the original story. What happens to the four is still fairly faithful to the comics, but the continued removal of Doom’s original character arc is like a blatant slap to the face of comic book fans everywhere. From his new and disturbing look to the emergence of powers the comic book character never had before, “Fantastic Four” is a slam to every fan who ever followed the legendary team. Say what you want about the “Fantastic Four” that was released in 2005, but at least that movie stayed closer to the source material.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
This is a failed franchise that should have remained a hit single and never spawned another film. Fans were no doubt crying and shouting out to watch the hit character practice his best butt-kicking skills on the vampires that remained after the first movie, but those same fans turned fickle once the second and third movies came out. Now where could they have gone wrong? It could have been that pairing up Ryan Reynolds and Wesley Snipes worked out as well as pairing Snipes with Sylvester Stallone in “Demolition Man”, or it could have been that Jessica Biel outshone them both by her mere presence, but whatever the case, “Blade: Trinity” was not the shining gem it was made out to be, and was in fact more like a lump of something far less pleasing and much more repugnant to fans.
The film had its saving graces, but they were few and far between. It had Ryan Reynolds’ odd style of humor, which was quirky and often ad-libbed. There was also the presence of Triple H from the WWE acting as the gruff enforcer of the vampires, and there was even a few epic fight scenes that made those few minutes worth watching. But with a lackadaisical performance by Dominic Purcell as the originator of vampire-kind and the predictable performance by Snipes, this movie was best left on the drawing board where it could do wrong.
X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
There is so much that can be said about this, but one of the most important things is that this movie NEARLY RUINED WOLVERINE. The beloved mutant who is “the best he is at what he does” was almost undone by this nearly two-hour litany of comic book mishaps. While it does feature the long- awaited origin of Wolverine and his relationship to his arch-nemesis, Sabertooth, it does so in a way that is quick, has little if any real point, and for comic fans shows blatant disregard of everything they have come to know and love about the heavy fan favorite.
Many fans were hoping to see the same type of intensity and blood and guts violence that Wolverine has become so well known for in the comics, but instead were treated to the family-friendly, bloodless fun fest that was designed more with young children in mind than the true fans of the comics. While it looks like the upcoming “Logan” that will be released in 2017 might help to redeem Wolverine’s legacy, “X-men Origins: Wolverine” was a strike at one of the world’s favorite fictional characters that did far worse than anything the tough as nails superhero has ever endured. Despite a healing factor and unbreakable skeleton, this movie almost proved to be the end of the hard to kill character.
Comic books are fully capable of making the jump to the big screen, and this is being proven in the most recent films to grace the big screen. However, for all those that find success, there are likely several that get chopped up and fed to Hollywood to see what they can do with them. Should fans be mad about this? Maybe, but in the end there are always the comics, where things still make sense.