The 'Superhero Movies' Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Weinberg, Apr 27, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    For the longest time, it seemed that 'comic book' flicks were doomed for b-grade treatments - aside from the very rare blockbuster. (For every one Superman, there's a half-dozen Punishers!)
    I wasn't a HUGE comics fan as a kid, but I did have a healthy collection of Spider-Mans, Fantastic Fours, and Green Lanterns. I am, however, a big fan of superhero flicks...when they're done right!
    Starting with Superman in 1978, things have been pretty up and down. (For the sake of my own sanity, I'm choosing to essentially ignore the various TV movies like Spider-Man: The Deadly Dust, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk and Dr. Strange, partially because they're fairly obscure, but mainly because they pretty much suck. Plus, TV movies can be cool, but I don't consider them "movies".)
    Superman (1978)
    Superman 2 (1980)
    Swamp Thing (1982)
    Superman 3 (1983)
    Supergirl (1984)
    Sheena (1984)
    Howard the Duck (1986)
    Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (1987)
    The Punisher (1989)
    Return of the Swamp Thing (1989)
    OK, so far the various superheroes are not being represented particularly well. Aside from the first two Superman flicks, all of these were either low-budget cheese or just awful. Mostly both. Then along came...
    Batman (1989)
    ...and Hollywood started to realize what a goldmine these characters could be. A lot more superhero flicks would soon crop up, but whether or not that's a good thing is up to you:
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
    Captain America (1991)
    The Rocketeer (1991)
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (1991)
    The Guyver (1991)
    Batman Returns (1992)
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
    The Shadow (1994)
    The Crow (1994)
    Timecop (1994)
    The Mask (1994)
    Fantastic Four (1994) (Unreleased. Good luck finding it!)
    Batman Forever (1995)
    Tank Girl (1995)
    Judge Dredd (1995)
    The Phantom (1996)
    Barb Wire (1996)
    Vampirella (1996)
    Spawn (1997)
    Batman & Robin (1997)
    Steel (1997)
    Blade (1998)
    Mystery Men (1999)
    So while there were certainly some solid superhero flicks throughout the 90's, this could certainly be considered a "transition period". The modern superhero flick would be redefined by...
    X-Men (2000)
    X-Men took the dramatics of the original Batman and modernized it with the latest in FX technology. (Although in my opinion it lacks the charming "gee whiz" factor of the original Superman, but it's still a fun flick.)
    Studios quickly began snapping up various comic book properties (mainly Marvel characters) and it seems that 2002 is just the tip of the iceberg. New Line made some solid coin with their Blade 2 and May 3rd sees the long-awaited big-screen debut of our beloved Spider-Man. Those who pay attention to such things are fully aware of The Hulk and Daredevil, two films currently in production that are based on popular heroes.
    So are the days of the straight-to-video low-budget superhero flicks gone forever? It seems that there are so many superhero flicks on the "fast track" that we will inevitably get a few turkeys. But those who grew up on the colorful Marvel/DC/Dark Horse superheroes should have a WHOLE LOT to look forward to over the next several years!
    Since there are new comic-book movies announced seemingly every week, I thought this would be a good place to drop the scoops on the new ones. (The most recent one annoucned made me giggle, which is what prompted this whole post!) Let's see what's coming!
    Spider-Man - May 2002 - Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco. Directed by Sam Raimi; written by David Koepp and Alvin Sargent. - OK, who's NOT mega-psyched for this movie? [​IMG]
    The Hulk - June 2003 - Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliot, Nick Nolte, Brooke Langton. Directed by Ang Lee; written by David Hayter, James Schamus, Michael Tolkin, Michael France. - Lotsa buzz about this one already. Could be fantastic, could be ridiculous. I'm betting on the former...
    The Hulk 2 - Planned for a May 2004 release. We shall see.
    Spider-Man 2 - Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will all be returning, and production is set to begin in January 2003.
    Spider-Man 3 - The contracts are in place. Bet on this one.
    Daredevil - January 2003 - Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, David Keith, Kevin Smith, Kane Hodder. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson; written by Johnson and Brian Helgeland. - Very cool superhero that could get a great flick. The cast is damn solid, and Johnson is an interesting choice for director in that he's mainly written "cuddly" flicks like Grumpy Old Men and Simon Birch.
    Elektra - Jennifer Garner is signed to reprise the role from Daredevil in this spinoff/sequel. This one's still in the planning stages, but I bet it happens. (If you're familiar with what Elektra looks like - and what Ms. Garner looks like - this one's a no-brainer!)
    Sub-Mariner - Screenwriter David Self just signed a deal to write this one. Think Aquaman with a bit more ass-kicking skills. Self also wrote the screenplay for the comic adaptation Road to Perdition.
    Superman (?) - McG is signed to direct, and screenwriter J.J. Abrams is currently attached. Let's wait and see before rushing to judgment! [​IMG]
    Wonder Woman - Writers John Cohen and Todd Alcott are attached, but apparently working quite hard! Sandra Bullock is allegedly interested in the part, but word is that she sent the last script back and was none too impressed. Other reports say Bullock's not attached at all any longer. Time will tell.
    The Punisher - Writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh has just penned a deal with Artisan (Gale Anne Hurd producing) to helm a 'faithful' adaptation to this cult comic hero. Anyone who's seen the 1989 version knows it's got very little to do with the skull-clad anti-hero. Could be fun.
    Hellboy - This one was just recently annoucned and seems to be on the fast track. Ron Perlman will play the violent undead hero of Mike Mignola's very cool comic. (I've only seen a little bit of this character, but what I've seen is fantastic.) Guillermo del Toro will be directing (and probably writing) for Joe Roth's Revolution Studios. Keep your eye on this one!
    Ghost Rider - Director Stephen Norrington and writer David Hayter (Mr. Superhero Movie, apparently) are attached to do this one for Sony. Nic Cage has repeatedly expressed interest in the lead role, but there's been no casting yet. Stay tuned.
    Iron Man - Buffy-meister Joss Whedon WAS reportedly attached to this one, but that is apparently no longer the case. It's not likely we'll see this one anytime soon, but I LOVED this comic book, so I'll be scouting for any news on this one!
    The Fantastic Four - Director Peyton Reed is currently attached, as are screenwriters Sam Hamm, Michael France and Philip Morton. Fox owns this one, so expect something expensive. [​IMG]
    Thor - Artisan's got this guy. I'd love to see a Thor movie!
    Dr. Strange - Some studios got Spider-Man. Dimension studios got Dr. Strange. Not much news on this one yet, but this guy could make for a COOL movie!
    Iron Fist - Artisan's behind this one, and it seems that Ray Park may have the title role. Director Kirk Wong and screenwriter John Turman are attached, but it doesn't seem to have started production yet.
    X-Men 2 - June 2003 - Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, James Marsden. Directed by Bryan Singer; written by David Hayter and Zak Penn - Filming is set to begin in June 2002. I'm looking forward to seeing what actors will be playing the "new" mutants.
    X-Men 3 - Bet on it.
    Blade 3 - David Goyer has been commissioned for a script and I can imagine no reason that Snipes won't return. Goyer implies a 'world taken over' by vampires. Cool.
    Captain America - No idea if this one's even in the early stages, but it seems inevitable. Think about it.
    Catwoman - Ashley Judd and screenwriter John Rogers are currently attached. Might be a while on this one.
    Green Arrow and Green Lantern - Both of these heroes seem locked in development hell. Too bad; they're pretty cool.
    Judge Dredd: Dredd Reckoning and Judge Dredd: Possession - Shoreline Entertainment is planning to film these ones back-to-back, and I'm predicting two straight direct-to-video releases. [​IMG]
    Plastic Man - Nothing's been heard about this one in over three years. Once upon a time, the Wachowski Brothers wanted to make it, but they're working on some Matrix flicks these days. It was mentioned that Jim Carrey wants this part, but since that news was offered on April 1st...
    Silver Surfer - This one's languished at Fox forever. But who knows? Stranger things have happened...
    Spawn 2 - Todd McFarlane and Steve Niles have penned a screenplay and that's all I know.
    ---
    This concludes the April 2002 Superhero Movies Report! Let's all enjoy the wacky CGI heroics together. [​IMG]
     
  2. Frank Anderson

    Frank Anderson Cinematographer

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    That's one helluva recap. Good job!
     
  3. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Scott,
    As a huge Hellboy fan, I just wanted to clarify your wonderful list.
    1) It's not an especially violent comic...no more so than superhero ones.
    2) Hellboy is a, uh, Hell-boy. He's not undead.
    3) It's a mix of pulp comics, Lovecraft, X-Files, with a moral demon super-hero.
    4) It is one of the very best comics of the 1990's. Check it out[​IMG]
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  4. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Yeah, Hellboy is much more in the vein of Jack Kirby melded with Lovecraft. It is definitely one of the best comics to appear in the last decade or so. I've got a lot of hopes for the movie since I've always liked Del Toro's style but have been frustrated with the stories of his movies. But this one has a pretty straightforward storyline that one would think should be easy to adapt.
    One that's not on the list: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Steven Norrington is directing that one, with Sean Connery playing Allan Quartermain, with Saffron Burrows and Eddie Izzard rumored to be in the running for Mina and...something, maybe Jekyll. Of course, rumors also say that "many Hollywood stars" are in the running for Captain Nemo, which is kind of funny to me since Nemo is Indian. I don't know how well this one is going to come out.
     
  5. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    Great post, Scott, thanks!

    A couple of things:

    I noticed that Ian McKellen is missing from your cast listing of X-MEN II. I sincerely hope he's in the film, as he made the first one for me and I would sorely miss him if he wasn't involved.

    Also, no mention of another BATMAN film. Is BATMAN in limbo at this point? I'm still waiting for the definitive BATMAN film; the only two I cared for at all were Burton's, and they were far from perfect. The visuals and performances were great but they lacked in the story department. I hope that someone with a love for BATMAN comic books will get involved in a BM project at some point and make the best possible film about this character.
     
  6. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    McKellan will be in X-Men 2. As for Batman, there are so many rumors that it's impossible to tell what's going to happen. There are rumors about Darren Aronofsky doing a Year One movie, and then there are Batman Beyond rumors, and then there are still more rumors that they're just going to make a sequel to Batman and Robin but not stupid this time, etc. My guess is WB doesn't yet have any idea what it's really going to do.
     
  7. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    I'm the most psyched for the Hulk. But I keep hearing about ridiculous changes that have me worried. Hopefully those are just rumors, or at least misinterpreted rumors. Also, the Fantastic 4 cold be a great film as well. As of now, Superman is still the benchmark superhero film. We'll see if any of those can top it.
     
  8. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    Why no mention of "Unbreakable"?

    A very good super-hero movie and one of my favorites films of 2001. Certainly one of the most unusual superhero movies ever made.
     
  9. Ben Osborne

    Ben Osborne Second Unit

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    Unbreakable was also one of my favorite superhero movies, however it was not based a preexisiting comic book and therefore probably isn't in the same category as the movies being discussed in this thread. I'm guessing that's also the reason why Darkman and Flash Gordon were not mentioned in Scott's list.
     
  10. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    Yeah, like Larry said, why isn't "Batman: Year One" on your most excellent list?! Last I heard, Darren ("Pi") Aronofsky was up for directing duties.
     
  11. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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  12. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Chuck: Thanks for the corrections. I should have been a bit more meticulous with my Hellboy description, and I gladly cede to your expertise. I've only read one story (one involving Hellboy trying to bring a corpse to its final resting place) and obviously I got some of the details wrong. Either way, with del Toro directing - this could be a great flick!
    Andy: I left out LOEG, solely because I didn't think it was a superhero flick. Again, this omission is borne from my lack of familiarity with the book, but if you think it belongs here, then I bet it does. Based on the casting alone, this one sounds pretty cool!
    Larry: Sorry for omitting McKellen. If you check the time at which I posted that massive diatribe, you'll probably understand why. [​IMG] And the next Batman flick simply slipped my mind. It certainly deserves a mention in this thread, so thanks for bringing it up. Looking forward to seeing what Aronofsky can do with Batman!
    Mike: I'm also a huge fan of Unbreakable and it certainly could be listed here, but like Ben said - it's an original character, and not based on a comic book at all...so I skipped it.
    Ben: I was going to include Flash Gordon (1980) and Buck Rogers (1978), but I figured they weren't traditional "superheroes"...at least not the kind I'm thinking of. Darkman is a good call, though. Was that a comic book before it was a film?
    Tim: See above. If and when there is ANY info on the next Batman flick, you can bet I'll post that info here!
    Rob: Thanks for the updates.
    Glad to see there are others out there who salivate at the concept of a cool superhero flick. Hopefully we'll all have lots of very cool movies to talk about over the next several years! (And don't forget: Homer somehow turns into The Hulk on tomorrow's new Simpsons episode! [​IMG]
     
  13. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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  14. Ben Osborne

    Ben Osborne Second Unit

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    I thought of a new one: Steel, starring Shaquile O'Neal. [​IMG] Who could forget that one?
     
  15. Angel Pagan

    Angel Pagan Second Unit

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    Scott,

    Great post. Looking forward to any and all superhero films being released.

    Chuck or Andy,

    Has there ever been a Hellboy trade released? I'll like to check this comic out.
     
  16. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    There are five Hellboy trades available. In order, they are: Seed of Destruction, Wake the Devil, The Chained Coffin & Other Stories, The Right Hand of Doom, and Conqueror Worm. Hope you enjoy the book if you try it [​IMG]
     
  17. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    It's a shame that Iron Man seems to be so back-burner. Back in the late 80s I remember there being a lot of buzz at Marvel that the script had been optioned by some studio. Of course, this is the same era that saw the pretty bad Thor and Incredible Hulk TV movies (although I was pretty moved when the Hulk died--what a sad story the TV series was), so I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed. Anything they would have made would likely have been awful.
    Still, Iron Man would seem to have more potential than most comics for film success. You've got a technology-based hero mega-ripe for CGI, you've got Tony Stark's wealth and playboy lifestyle to make a gorgeous backdrop (with lots of lovely ladies to boot), and you've got a seriously compelling hero whose brilliance and confidence are overshadowed by alcoholism. I always thought the Mandarin would make a great movie villain. Or perhaps Doctor Doom, but I would think they would want to save him for the Fantastic Four.
     
  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    DARKMAN was a movie then a marvel comic.
     
  19. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Angel,
    Several Hellboy compilations exist, either of his mini-series stories (big) or collection of the short stories...most of which are just GREAT reads! The one Scott read is "The Corpse" and it's simplicity is wonderful. Believe it or not, it's considered the finest Hellboy of the bunch. Try www.tfaw.com for a set...sometimes Borders/B&N have the TPB's in.
    Scott,
    You got enough right...it could be a great movie if the studios trust Guillermo and don't committee it[​IMG] Great compilation for us! Thanks!
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  20. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    I'd really like to see an all-CGI (either the character or the whole film) Silver Surfer movie! I don't think that they could get the Surfer to look right if he was played by a human actor. Anyone else think that would be cool?
     

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