POV ROUNDUP: Top 10 Worst Comic-Book Movies Of All Time! | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 3 July 2011

POV ROUNDUP: Top 10 Worst Comic-Book Movies Of All Time!

Recently this summer, there were two comic-book movies failed to impress the critics as well as box-office terms. And there were none others than DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT and GREEN LANTERN (both in which you can read my reviews here and here). Those two critical and box-office disappointments immediately reminded me how I have to endure poorly adapted comic-book movies I used to watch in the past. Here I have compiled a list of my "Top 10 Worst Comic-Book Movies Of All Time" below. Oh, do feel free to comment as well!

Who could have thought that the filmmakers behind the ill-fated BARB WIRE figured it's a classy way to adapt the Dark Horse's cult graphic novel with a CASABLANCA (1942)-like central theme as major inspiration? Yeah, no doubt it's such an insult to that classic Hollywood movie. In short, BARB WIRE tries hard to be serious but really, it's all cheese and gratuitous at best. How gratuitous? Let's just say BARB WIRE is less focus for the source material than an obvious sexploitation to showcase Pamela Anderson Lee and her (ahem) infamous huge silicon breasts.

Okay, so BATMAN FOREVER has winded up becoming the second highest-grossing movies of the year (with an outstanding $184 million in the box-office) behind TOY STORY. That gotta be something right? Unfortunately this third installment of BATMAN franchise marked the beginning of the downfall of say, everything that involved here. Warner Bros. had certainly made a grave mistake by enlisting director Joel Schumacher to picture their movie as colorful as those high-camp value previously seen in the 1960s TV series starring Adam West -- all for the sake to please the mainstream audiences. Which was too bad because die-hard fans of the previous two Tim Burton-directed movies and comic-book enthusiasts became very disappointed the way Schumacher had single-handedly ruined the BATMAN franchise -- cheesy direction, awfully generic plot, and cardboard characters (along with one of the worst Batman/Bruce Wayne roles ever seen -- Val Kilmer, that is!)

Cheerfully ridiculous, shallow, uninspired, tedious and above all... painfully lame. That was how I would describe for the supposedly much-anticipated sequel, FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER. Hey, it is supposed to be a crossover extravaganza -- Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer -- it's like (every) comic-book fans' dream comes true! But it's such a pity that director Tim Story and his company failed to utilize such huge potential and instead, turned everything into an immature kids' movie which had shamelessly worn its PG-rating like a badge of honor. Coupled with paper-thin plot and equally shallow characters, FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SILVER was such a disappointment that the studio made their decision to reboot the franchise from square one.

You know, of all the popular comic-book characters, turning THE PUNISHER into a big-screen adaptation was supposed to be a less complicated task when compared to others. So why was it so difficult to make this movie into a straight-out, uncompromising revenge drama? Apparently writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh as well as his co-writer Michael France figured it would be a smarter way to come up a meaty story than just a series act of bloody vengeance. And what did we get here? A unnecessarily long-winded plot where we had to endure watching Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) elaborating all sort of sneaky plan to fool around with the bad guys. Oh, wait -- there's more! He had to deal with a bunch of eccentric neighbors which includes the geeky Spacker Dave (Ben Foster); overweight opera lover Mr. Bumpo (John Pinette) and unlucky-in-love waitress Joan (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)! Talk about so-called variety here. That's not all -- Thomas Jane's perfectly-brooding role as the title role wasn't much of a lasting impression and then there's the pathetic-looking John Travolta as the main villain. Last but not least, whoever thought was wise to change the setting for THE PUNISHER from its original gritty New York City to sunny Tampa seriously needed to get their heads checked.

The gratuitously overblown of THE PUNISHER (2004) had certainly resulted the studio to reboot the franchise all over again. And here it was -- PUNISHER: WAR ZONE which I would happily said, sported an appropriately-sounding title and a hard R-rating that promised the kind of in-your-face violence die-hard fans had been waiting for! Too bad Lexi Alexander's version was yet another huge disappointment of failing to bring satisfying result for THE PUNISHER movie. Yes, it was very violent but all the extreme gore were treated in such cheesy way it's hard to take them seriously. In another word, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE was more of a dumbed-down action movie. Forgettable characters all around (not even the perfectly-brooding appearance of Ray Stevenson as the title role made an impact here) and haphazard direction by Lexi Alexander who tries so hard to helm the picture aimed strictly for the fanboy base and she did it all for the wrong reasons.

Claimed as "the special effects movie event of the year", SPAWN was no doubt one of the most-anticipated summer movies of 1997. Hey, it's based on Todd McFarlane's bestselling comic-book which was also very popular among those comic-book enthusiasts. But the movie version was entirely different story altogether. SPAWN ended up a huge disappointment all the way from poorly-constructed plot, forgettable characters, uninspired direction and above all -- terribly overblown special effects that looked more cheesy than stunning outcome. Not surprisingly, SPAWN was a massive flop in the box-office and decade of attempting to reboot the franchise had been suffering the case of "development hell" until today.

Ben Affleck as the blind and tormented Matt Murdock/Daredevil? Wow, what an odd choice! And so do the awkward casting of Michael Clarke Duncan as the cigar-chomping criminal kingpin Wilson Fisk (he's black, but he is supposed to be white in the comic-book version!) and Jennifer Garner as the leather-clad ninja Elektra who hardly look every bit of the comic-book character we have seen before. Writer-director Mark Steven Johnson's version of DAREDEVIL was more of a slick music video than a coherent whole -- lots of rapid edits, awkwardly-stylized action sequences and suspended-motion cinematography. No doubt he got it all wrong since DAREDEVIL is supposed to be a gritty crime picture, not a fanciful guilty-pleasure entertainment.

Here's Joel Schumacher and his BATMAN movie again in this Top 10 list. Whereas BATMAN FOREVER marked the beginning of the downfall for the franchise, the director and some of the casts, Schumacher and his company has done it again -- this time with BATMAN & ROBIN. In the fourth installment, the movie went on becoming more colorful and cheesy than ever. You could say everything about this movie was nothing more than an elaborate Halloween party movie -- fetish, leather, rubber and of course, the unforgettable nipples in the Batsuit! All the actors were awfully miscast here -- especially for George Clooney as Batman/Bruce Wayne and his cheesy line, "This is why Superman works alone"; Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze who looked more like an overblown plastic action figure; Uma Thurman in her heavily-distracting and empty-headed role as Poison Ivy; and of course Alicia Silverstone who didn't do much other than swaggered around looking more like Fatgirl than Batgirl to me. BATMAN & ROBIN was such a critical and box-office disappointment that the studio has delayed any future BATMAN sequel for more than 8 years until the emergence of Christopher Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS in 2005.

If the equally disappointed DAREDEVIL was not enough, here's another wasted opportunity in the form of a spin-off, ELEKTRA. Jennifer Garner was again, reprised the title role and not surprisingly, she was more of a strict caricature. But the biggest culprit here was Raven Metzner and Stuart Zicherman's awfully generic script as well as Rob Bowman's pedestrian direction. Everything in ELEKTRA was clumsily-constructed with poor cameraworks, lame action sequences and cheesy special effects. It was that dull and b-o-r-i-n-g.

And here it is! My No.1's worst comic-book movie of all time! All round of applause to this dead-cat stinker, CATWOMAN! It is supposed the long-awaited spinoff from BATMAN RETURNS (1992) but instead of a Catwoman role with the Michelle Pfeiffer-like iconic acting quality, we get a tastelessly hideous Halle Berry donning the slutty Catwoman suit which looked more like a dominatrix from porn movie than anything else matters! But the biggest disappointment of all was how disgraceful this movie became -- French director Pitof who was making his Hollywood debut ditched whatever comic-book mythology related to Bob Kane's original creation and no reference to Batman or Gotham City, and turned everything into a bloated mess of epic proportion. The story was paper-thin, and Pitof's direction was terribly awkward -- his constantly swooping camera angles that kept flowing like a buzzing fly was more of a side-splitting headache than an engaging piece of work. If that's not insulting enough, the movie also suffered from poor editing, awkwardly-placing soundtracks (tarty R&B, anyone?), poorly-choreographed action sequences and lame special effects -- all wasted in this $100 million-budget production.

Agree with my lists? If not, have your say!

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