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Top 10 Biggest Missteps In Comic Book Movies

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Joey Turner In recent years, comic book movies have been hitting it out of the park, but there are always exceptions and of course a lot of stinkers we would much rather leave buried on the moon. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the Top 10 Biggest Missteps In Comic Book Movies. Special thanks to our user Andrew A. Dennison for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsugggest
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Script written by Joey Turner

Top 10 Biggest Missteps in Comic Book Movies


In recent years, comic book movies have been hitting it out of the park, but there are always exceptions and of course a lot of stinkers we would much rather leave buried on the moon. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the Top 10 Biggest Missteps In Comic Book Movies.

Adapting a comic book to the cinema world is a lot harder than it looks. Because a superhero movie necessitates a big budget there will be big box office expectations as well. As a result, pleasing die-hard fans as well as the general public results in a really fine line these movies need to walk. Here are some of the recurring sins that comic book movies need to avoid.

#10: Overuse of Foreshadowing (Sequel baiting)

Kicking off our list is a technique that can leave your audience hungry for more: foreshadowing. If you already know your movie is going to be part of a huge story arc, it’s okay to leave the audience with a little taste of what is to come. For example, the use of post-credit scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were a good way to let the audience know that the best was yet to come. In recent years however, movies have been going way too overboard with foreshadowing. More and more we are seeing movies that aren’t about the one we are watching now, but the one we are expected to come back for next year. Sometimes that movie never even gets made, making the whole endeavor a big waste of time.

#9: Shoehorning in Characters For No Reason

A supporting cast is necessary in ANY movie… but you need to be respectful to all the characters in your movie. More specifically, if you’re going to have acomic book icon like Gwen Stacey in your Spider-Man film, she should be more than just a throwaway love interest. When your movie stars Superman, don’t have him playing second fiddle to a bumbling Richard Pryor. More importantly, if you really need to include several important X-Men mutants in a Wolverine-centered movie, some of which are making their silver-screen debut, have them contribute to the story in some way; otherwise it can ruin the character and sours the audience to them for the future.

#8: Too Many Subplots

Sometimes when one movie plot doesn’t feel satisfying enough, adding a secondary plot or two can make things interesting… but that can also be pretty risky. If a movie needs to have subplots, be careful with how many they can squeeze in. If you try to juggle a blooming or dying romance alongside battling the main villain while that same villain has his or her own romantic sub-plot, the whole story is going to get lost in translation. While individual character arcs are important for character development, too many narratives makes a movie that will just collapse in on itself.

#7: Too Many Jokes and One-liners

Not a deal breaker per-say, as one of the fun perks to being a comic book hero is that you can add some humor to your dialogue when taking out bad guys. Spider-Man is especially known for this and excels at it. But if your hero is established as being a serious and professional or the situation is dire and desperate, a joke can spoil the whole mood of a scene. Some movies have even taken this much too far and it’s clear that the filmmakers got way too carried away with their own sense of humor. Cool it with the jokes guys.

#6: Trying to be Too Gritty

Fans continue to praise The Dark Knight for it’s dark tone, themes and atmosphere, capturing the spirit of Batman perfectly. However, nowadays more and more movies are trying to capture that same gritty feeling; which just doesn’t work the same way when your hero is say… an alien in a skin-tight blue jumpsuit. Superheroes are inherently fun and a little campy, with origins and stories that don’t often lend themselves to being taken too seriously. Yet some studios insist on trying to make it work, and refuse to learn their lesson.

#5: Awful Casting

No doubt one crucial element to any successful blockbuster is the casting. So if you’re looking for the right actor to play your leading hero or villain, going with the big name isn’t always the right call. Of course names attract a crowd, but if he or she doesn’t fit the part you end up with a good actor in a crap movie. It’s not unheard of for big name actors to phone in their roles, so casting someone who actually wants to be there is important as well. Even if the movie turns out to be awesome, a miscast role doesn’t do anyone any favors.

#4: Favoring CGI Over Practical Effects

CGI is necessary for most comic book movies, we get it, but in some cases it just goes way too far. When it comes to creating fantastical Sci-Fi scenery and monstrous green creatures smashing the hell out of everything CGI is necessary. But more and more is has become a substitute for things that the filmmakers are just too lazy to do manually. The result is a movie that can end up becoming a bit of a joke. Speaking of costumes, why did they drop the claw props from the original X-Men films and replace them with silly-looking computer-generated claws? Look at this shit, what is that?

#3: Rebooting Too Early/Rehashing Origin Stories

Oh look, Uncle Ben died, AGAIN. It’s bound to happen, a franchise fizzles out and gets lost for a few years and then someone decides now is the right time to dunk it in the Lazarus pit. But if you reboot a movie franchise too soon, you’ll be forcing the same audience to re-watch the same story, and inevitably choose which director told the story the best. Origin stories are already the hardest part of a movie to pace, seeing it all over again so soon with a different actor makes the first half of any reboot feel completely pointless.

#2: Too Many Villains

One of the best and most important parts of every superhero story is the villain; and with every hero comes some of the coolest baddies ever made. However, no matter how awesome the villain, there’s no need to cram so many into one film. Characters like Spider-Man and Batman can handle one or two villains at a time, but the more crowded things get the less screen time each villain will end up with. It makes sense to have villains working together, but too many villains is always kryptonite to a superhero movie, and the best of them only have one.

Before we reveal our number one misstep, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

Too Much Exposition

Bad Costumes

Generic Soundtrack

Product Placement Overuse

Executive Meddling

#1: Not Honoring the Source Material

Why bother making an adaptation of something if you are just going to ignore your inspiration? The best part of any comic book film is capturing the spirit and feeling of the original books, so study more than just the character names. Anti-heroes in particular are something that comic book movies tend to struggle with. Whether it’s everyone’s favorite merc with a mouth getting his mouth sewn shut DC’s lead femme-fatal becoming a nonsensical… we don’t even know what in 2004’s “Catwoman”. At least with the former the studio learned their lesson.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is a comic book movie’s greatest weakness? For more super critical top 10’s published everyday, be sure to subscribe to Watchmojo.com.

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