Marvel and DC Comics both have ways of classifying the most powerful of the already incredibly powerful people on Earth. Marvel classifies such mutants as Iceman, Jean Grey, and David Haller as having Omega level powers. For DC comics, intelligence has a numerical rating assigned by an alien race called the Coluans, and you should consider yourself a mental giant if you have a 12th-level intellect. One rank is universal: if you have godlike powers, you are in a class of your own. There are none more powerful than you are. If these guys are so intimidating, then how come DC Movies aren’t doing them justice?
DC Comics has a ton of incredibly powerful characters featured in the DC Comics movies (both animated and live action) that are heroic and villainous. However, their portrayal has shown them to be anything but mighty. Is it the casting? Is it the writing? Maybe they just haven’t had the opportunity to show how awesome their powers truly are? You definitely won’t tremble at the might of these 15 God-like beings that DC movies totally ruined.
Fighting against Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman is none other than the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk! Or is it some sort of Ninja Turtle? Either way, this version of Doomsday in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly does not look as intimidating as his spiky, rocky counterpart in the comic books.
Making his debut in Superman: The Man of Steel #17, it’s later revealed that Doomsday is over 200 thousand years old and is a result of Kryptonian genetic engineering. In the movies, he’s Zod brought back to life by Lex Luthor with the help of a Kryptonian Genesis Chamber (as well as some of Luthor’s blood). Although both versions killed Superman, the comic book version before doing so beat the entire Justice league with literally one arm tied behind his back.
Not to be confused with The Enchantress from Marvel Comics that often comes into conflict with Thor, this Enchantress is an incredibly powerful magician. In the comics, she used her magical power to have the great Sphinx in Egypt come to life. She even used her powers to combat and defeat the Justice League.
In the DC movie Suicide Squad, Enchantress is played by Cara Delevingne, who spends an awful lot of time talking in a weird voice and making vogue-like gestures with her hands. At the climax of the movie, she’s barely able to defend herself against Deadshot, Harley Quinn and other members of the Suicide Squad, but in the comics she possessed enough magical ability to take on Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna.
When you think of Ares, the God of War, you get an image of a giant, armored, hulking beast that thrives on death and combat. In Wonder Woman, Diana teams up with Steve Trevor to stop The Great War, as well as Ares. During her search for the God of War, she discovers that Ares is actually Sir Patrick, hiding in plain sight.
Sir Patrick was played by David Thewlis, who also was lycanthropy-sticken Professor Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series. But does David Thewlis come to mind when you conjure up images of Ares, whose very presence causes people to erupt into senseless violence? Granted the actor is not as diesel as the Rock, or as buff as John Cena, it’s the Ned Flanders-esque mustache that really throws us off.
Kneel before Zod! No, not the Dru-Zod that you saw in Man of Steel played by Michael Shannon. Kneel before Terence Stamp, who played the Kryptonian General briefly in the 1978 film Superman then again as the main villain two years later in Superman II. Michael Shannon made his Zod have purpose and was imposing both physically and in personality. Terence Stamp on the other hand played Zod quite… differently.
Zod is Kryptonian, and similarly to Kal-El, he has superhuman powers when exposed to Earth’s yellow sun. The main difference with Zod is that he was a General and possessed a strong knowledge of military tactics and is a strong military leader. Stamp looks like he’s wearing the evil version of Seinfeld’s puffy shirt with a giant v-neck and… is that lipstick he’s wearing? Stamp’s calm demeanor and polite British accent don’t do justice to the former Kryptonian military leader.
11. SWAMP THING
When we were first introduced to Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92 back in 1971, we found out the hero was a mutated botanist formerly named Alec Holland. When Alan Moore took over the book in the 1980s, Moore made Swamp Thing less of a man and more of a literal force of nature. Due to his connection with The Green, a force that connects all plant life on Earth, Swamp Thing is one of the most powerful creatures in DC Comics.
In the 1982 movie directed by horror legend Wes Craven, Swamp Thing was more man than element. Alec Holland was played by future Twin Peaks star Ray Wise, and the Swamp Thing character was played by Dick Durock. Instead of being an animated mass of vegetable matter, he was a dude in a rubber suit. Production values were low, and the look of the costume… well, let’s just say he’s no Groot.
In DC Comics, characters may not get more villainous or more powerful than Darkseid. The ruler of the planet Apokolips made his first full appearance in the 1971 issue of Forever People. He is considered an uncaring tyrant who is powerful enough to fight Superman, even possessing the strength to destroy a Green Lantern Power Ring. Darkseid is most infamous for his Omega Beams, powerful beams that can follow you like a missile and either destroy you completely or send your elsewhere (or when).
Justice League: War was an animated film that was the first movie launching the DC Universe Animated Universe, establishing shared continuity amongst animated films. In this film, Darkseid was certainly intimidating in size and power, and it’s great to hear Darkseid being voiced by famous voice actor Steven Blum. However, Darkseid comes off less like a supervillain and more like the boss at the end of a video game level you have to barrage with hits.
9. DR. MANHATTAN
In the movie version of Watchmen, the world was used to costumed vigilantes such as Rorschach and The Silk Spectre, but there was only one person who truly had superpowers and that was Jonathan Osterman, who would, due to a freak accident, become the all-powerful Dr. Manhattan.
In the comic books, Dr. Manhattan is overwhelmed by his meta-understanding of the universe. He perceives space and time differently than anyone else on Earth. In the movie, the notion of Dr. Manhattan being an intense intellectual is overshadowed by him glowing bright blue and being naked. Yes, he’s naked and blue in the comics as well, but this is a Zack Snyder film so that means all guys are impossibly ripped. This also means that even though Dr. Manhattan is the only person with superpowers, he doesn’t feel as strong when we see Nite Owl and The Comedian punching through walls and shattering bones the way that Luke Cage would.
8. GREEN LANTERN
Ryan Reynolds redeemed himself by starring in the 2016 blockbuster film Deadpool. What was he redeeming himself from? The CGI hot mess that was the 2011 Green Lantern directed by Martin Campbell. Both the comic and the movie feature Hal Jordan wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the entire galaxy: the Green Lantern power ring, which allows its user to create any construct that their mind can conjure up.
In the film, it was fun to see Hal Jordan come up with race cars, jet engines, weapons and more with his Ring. However, it suffered from superhero bloat, with unnecessary computer-generated costumes, cgi characters, and more effort spent on the look than on characters we should be caring about. Hal in the comics had great will and a lot of heart. Reynolds made for a better Deadpool than Lantern.
Raise your hand if you remember the Supergirl movie from 1984 starring Helen Slater? In the movie Kara Zor-El is a Kryptonian but is not living on Krypton. She’s in Argo City and is spared from Krypton’s destruction. She makes her way to Earth to recover an item called the Omegahedron.
In the comics, Supergirl has the same range of powers that Kal-El has while exposed to a yellow sun. Some argue that Supergirl might even be more powerful than Superman! In the film, instead of fighting one of her many foes from the comics, she fights a witch named Selena. We don’t get the same sense of power from her that we do in the comics, and why is she fighting someone magical? The film was panned when released, with critics calling the effects cheesy and the story itself, completely weak.
Although the film hasn’t come out yet, we can still vent our concerns, can’t we? Aquaman in previous years was considered a big joke. Honestly, how helpful can a guy that speaks to fish be when fighting in space? However, at DC Comics, big strides were made during the New 52 to get Aquaman the respect he deserves. He’s the King of the Seven Seas and can control all aquatic life, so that makes him pretty darn powerful, right?
So, instead of continuing to invest in the groundwork laid out by Geoff Johns, the DC Movies went in a radically different direction with Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa. To be clear, Momoa is a fantastic actor and will do a great job, but given how hard the comics have fought to make Aquaman a respectable character, does this “surf bro” portrayal now undermine everything that has been built upon since DC’s relaunch in 2011? We’ll all find out soon!
In the film Suicide Squad, the Enchantress seeks to break free from the control of Amanda Waller and get her revenge. She calls upon her brother, also known as Incubus, to help her get back at Waller as well as take over the Earth. In the film, the Enchantress is in possession of archaeologist June Moone, and she has her brother possess a random guy that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the comic book, the relationship is different and more complex. There’s a character named Nightshade that’s in the comics but not in the movie. Incubus’s relationship on-panel is with Nightshade, not with June Moone. He had possessed Nightshade’s brother and lived in another dimension called the Land of Nightshades. Incubus had killed all of the humans in the Land of Nightshade and was trying to reincarnate his demonic master. As you can see, it’s a very different (and much better) story!
We’re not done with Green Lantern just yet. In the comics, Parallax was at one point the reason why Green Lantern rings were vulnerable to yellow. Due to its influence, Hal Jordan became villainous and virtually decimated the Green Lantern Corps. Parallax’s image fluctuates, but often resembles a hideous winged bug. It’s as powerful as it is grotesque.
When will Hollywood get the hint that cloud-based monsters simply do not work? In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the portrayal of Galactus was less like his Earth 616 version and more like Gah Lak Tus from the Ultimate Marvel Universe (rest in peace) and people were not happy. Audiences had the same response when they saw Parallax in the 2011 Green Lantern. There’s nothing threatening about a cloud! Parallax is made of living fear, and its portrayal in the movie is downright silly. Did you know Parallax IRL is a photographic term?
3. WONDER WOMAN
Gal Gadot wowed everyone with her portrayal of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins. In the movie, she was portrayed as powerful and inspirational. In the comics, her origin has changed but at one point was depicted as the daughter of Zeus, making her a demigod. There are even versions where she’s depicted as being able to use astral projection and telepathy.
Her depiction in the animated film Justice League: Doom was certainly a step in the wrong direction. Vandal Savage gets Mirror Master to hack the Batcomputer to gain Batman’s files on how to defeat his fellow Justice Leaguers. Using this information, he gets Cheetah to infect Wonder Woman with nanomachines that makes her think that everyone around her is Cheetah’s duplicate. She goes on a non-stop fighting spree trying to fight every person she meets. Given how smart and battle savvy Wonder Woman is, this seems like a silly way to beat her.
2. THE SPECTRE
The Spectre is considered by some to be the Wrath of God. When there’s vengeance that needs to be enacted in Marvel Comics, they send Ghost Rider, who will zap you with his Penance Stare. However, in DC, if the Spectre is coming to get you, and you’re guilty of your crime, it’s pretty much all over. The Spectre in his pursuit of vengeance can do virtually anything.
In DC Showcase: The Spectre, we seeThe Spectre bringing a murderer to justice after said murderer kills a film producer. As vengeance, The Spectre animates the animatronic monsters and animals from the movie house to kill the producer’s murderer. Considering that The Spectre once almost wiped out all magic in the DC universe, the idea of killing a murderer with animated movie props sounds silly and unworthy of such a powerful entity.
Before Henry Cavill put on the blue tights (no red underwear on the outside, though) in the 2013 movie Man of Steel, we saw Brandon Routh fight for truth, justice, and the American Way seven years prior in Superman Returns. In the comics, we’ve seen Superman do some pretty ridiculous acts of power, such as lift 5.972 sextillion metric tons and move a whole solar system with his sneeze.
In Superman Returns, Kal-El’s comeback is anything but triumphant. He spends most of the time stalking Lois and her child. The scene where he stops the airplane from crashing into the baseball stadium is pretty cool, but look how long and difficult it was for Superman to save everyone! Even Christopher Reeve had an easier time with a falling airplane in the 1978 Superman. What gives?
Did we leave out any divine characters that the movies ruined? Post your comments and let us know!
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