No right-minded Marvel fan is going to refuse a comic book movie – except for maybe an Aunt May one because no one has time for that rubbish. We're living in the golden age of the geek and we should be grateful for the abundance that the gods of comics have provided. It's a great time to be alive, and Marvel's recent acquisition of all its characters bodes well for an even better future. If you think the MCU has been incredible so far, this is only the beginning.
Nonetheless, we need to be honest with ourselves about some of the decisions taken by the studios involved with all these Marvel properties. Over the years we've seen a plethora of Marvel films – some of which have been great and others that have been less than stellar – and we need to ask why a bunch of these characters deserved their own film in the first place. This isn't to say that the heroes in question are terrible or pointless, only that there are others surely more deserving. So, what we've done is to identify the eight Marvel characters that need their own solo adventures and the seven which really didn't. In preparation for the fiery activity in the comments section, we'll quote the Fantastic Four's Human Torch, "Flame on!"
15 DO: MOON KNIGHT
Moon Knight is Marvel's answer to Batman – but with more superpowers and darkness. Up until now, though, we haven't been fortunate enough to see Marc Spector in the live-action realm, despite the regular output of fantastic stories. Seriously, do yourself a favor and read Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood's recent comic book run to see how awesome the character is.
As a matter of interest, James Gunn revealed on Twitter that he'd pitched a Moon Knight movie to Marvel. He spoke of his love for the character and that he'd told the powers that be about his idea; however, he simply didn't have the time to do it. Well, if the House of Ideas liked the idea, why don't they get Gunn involved as an executive producer then? That way we can at least get the ball rolling here.
14 DIDN'T: KITTY PRYDE
Look, this one is still in the pipeline and there's the strong possibility that it may not come to fruition – especially after Disney buying Fox's assets. But if you believe the reports, Tim Miller is attached as the director and Brian Michael Bendis is the writer, so there's definitely money behind it. The question is, why?
We don't get it. First, Gambit; now Kitty Pryde. What's the obsession with giving individual X-Men characters their own movies? The reason the X-Men works so well is because of its team-up dynamic and the sum of all its parts. Wolverine is one of the notable exceptions, but we don't see any point to a Shadowcat movie. Rather than focus on a whole bunch of solo projects, maybe it's best to get back to making a great X-Men film again?
13 DO: ALPHA FLIGHT
The New Mutants and X-Force are all getting their own movies, but what about Canada's superhero team Alpha Flight? Barring some allusion to the team in the X-Men films, we have yet to see this group make its debut on the big screen. Consequently, we've been robbed of seeing Puck and Sasquatch in live action…
Speaking to ComicBook.com, executive producer Simon Kinberg spoke about the future of the X-Men film universe, which seems to include a plan for an Alpha Flight motion picture. "We have a sense of where each of all of the existing characters go, from Deadpool to New Mutants to the mainland X-Men movies to potentially even X-23. Then, there's other characters, like X-Flight, like Exiles." We presume Kinberg meant Alpha Flight when he said X-Flight – well, we hope.
12 DIDN'T: MULTIPLE MAN
After the success of Deadpool, it's unsurprising that Fox would look for the next R-rated mutant comedy to produce. Thus, the studio decided on the James Franco-led Multiple Man, as we'll no doubt have tons of references to dirty acts and multiple partners. We're calling it right now: this will be like every other comedy starring Franco.
But is it really a good idea to put Franco in a film that'll likely be filled with lots of innuendo and push the boundaries of decency right now? After his recent scandal, you have to wonder how wise it would be to produce such a picture with him involved. Sure, Franco hasn't been proven guilty in the court of law, but a studio needs to think of the potential financial implications if it does happen.
11 DO: BUCKY BARNES
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is probably the best MCU film produced. It contained intrigue, suspense, action, and Sebastian Stan in a star-making role as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. The film elevated the interest in the character and he's become a mainstay in the MCU ever since.
The question is, will Kevin Feige and his team finally put the shield on him? It's no secret that Chris Evans is looking to leave the role of Captain America, so as the comic book history goes it should be handed down to Barnes or Sam Wilson (Falcon). While Wilson would make an entertaining and different Cap, we would prefer to see Barnes take up the mantle. It's been teased with several shots of him holding the shield already, so maybe it's a precursor of what's to come.
10 DIDN'T: DOCTOR STRANGE
In case it wasn't made clear in the opening of this piece, let's get this straight: this isn't about the character's quality, since Doctor Strange is a terrific character. He's an absolute cornerstone of Marvel Comics. But did he really need his own movie? Much like it wouldn't make sense to have a Hawkeye film, the same can be said about Strange.
We all saw how Doctor Strange turned out. It was beautifully shot and contained a lot of Inception-esque elements, but it didn't push the MCU forward at all, as it delivered more of the same. In fact, you could argue that Strange's appearance in Thor: Ragnarok was far more memorable and worthy of the magical doctor. Strange will likely play a big part in Avengers: Infinity War, but he could've been introduced without the need for a solo movie.
9 DO: SPIDER-WOMAN
Funny enough, Spider-Woman came to be because Marvel Comics copyrighted the name to prevent DC Comics from releasing something similar, which was happening at the time. It proved to be a good move since Jessica Drew became incredibly popular, receiving her own animated TV series and appearing in future animated shows as well. Despite this, there's been no mention of a live-action movie for the popular heroine.
Sure, it's a hard sell as the average audience member will think she's a gender-swapped Spider-Man, but Marvel could make it work. There's a new phase of heroes coming, so this could be the ideal opportunity to introduce her. Additionally, with the current drive of studios producing female-led superhero films, a Spider-Woman movie makes sense. If Captain Marvel can happen, why not this?
8 DIDN'T: MAN-THING
Man-Thing will always be seen as the poor man's Swamp Thing – even though the latter came afterwards. As much as Marvel has tried, Dr. Theodore Sallis was never as popular as Dr. Alec Holland. Still, Marvel pushed ahead and gave the character his own film in 2005's Man-Thing.
Despite costing over $30 million to make, it still ended up looking as cheesy as Swamp Thing's cinematic efforts from decades before. It got torn to shreds by the critics and only managed to gross $1 million at the box office. To make matters even worse, the news leaked that the film was so bad that the test audience walked out before it finished. Suffice it to say, this was one project that didn't deserve to see the light of day.
7 DO: DAZZLER
Out of all the X-Men characters getting movies, we're surprised that no one has looked to Dazzler as a tantalizing project. This is not because she's an important member of the mutant supergroup, but because of the potential to create a different superhero film.
Consider this: we're living in a nostalgic era of entertainment. Shows like Everything Sucks! and Stranger Things are popular because of the reminders of different times. Now, imagine if a Dazzler film was set in the '80s music scene. We could see her as a popular singer of the time – like Kylie Minogue or Madonna – and using her powers to stop some shady promoters. Then, at the end of the film, she joins up with the X-Men. Doesn't that sound like something you'd happily watch? Of course it does.
6 DIDN'T: SILVER SABLE/BLACK CAT
When the news was released that there would be a Silver Sable and Black Cat movie called Silver & Black, not one single person cared. This is another example of why Sony shouldn't be doing superhero movies and someone needs to be employed to prevent it from doing so. The studio greenlights projects without fully understanding the implications or characters, and neither Silver Sable nor Black Cat are deserving of a solo film.
Fortunately, it appears as if the project has been delayed because of the script. Maybe someone told the filmmakers that they actually need to introduce Spider-Man or these characters in a Spidey film first. After all, they're known because of the Web-Head and should have some ties to him. Speaking of which, remember the time when Sony wanted to make a Sinister Six film without introducing them in a Spider-Man film first?
5 DO: X-23
Well, this one is probably a given. After Laura's positive reception in Logan and Hugh Jackman's last bow as the Ol' Canucklehead, there's a need for a new Wolverine and Dafne Keen fits the mold. We've already seen Jackman appear in a host of X-Men films, so it's time for the new guard to take over.
Speaking about her future in the role, Keen affirms she'd like to continue portraying Laura. "She is an emotional bomb. She's complicated – she tries to be so strong but she feels kind of vulnerable at the same time. I really love her. I'd love to keep playing her." Well, we hope so, too, and would certainly purchase a ticket to watch her tear apart people as X-23 again.
4 DIDN'T: HOWARD THE DUCK
Ah, Howard the Duck: the reason no one took comic book movies seriously for decades. Put aside whatever nostalgia and goodwill you have for this movie, and consider that it was a super-weird project. Heck, who could ever forget that scene between Howard and Lea Thompson's Beverly Switzler?
Another thing to keep in mind is that someone thought it was a good idea to release Howard the Duck before X-Men, Iron Man, Daredevil, and Thor. It simply doesn't make any sense why you'd tackle a character like this before many others. Yes, Howard is a cult-like figure in comic book circles, but it's the equivalent of DC making a Detective Chimp movie before Nightwing. Sorry, there were others far more deserving of their own films.
3 DO: NAMOR
This film might not happen any time soon because Marvel won't want to look like it's copying DC with Aquaman, and it's a darn shame. Since 1997, plans for a Namor movie have been mooted around and there have been several filmmakers and writers attached to the project. Unfortunately, the rights for the character got caught up at Universal Pictures for several years, but it appears as if they're back at Marvel again.
With the character back home, hopefully now we'll see him become infatuated with Susan Storm, and cause a little friction between her and Reed Richards. Namor is an old-school comic book character with a rich history, and it sucks that he hasn't had the chance to lead his own film yet. Kevin Feige, please do something to remedy this.
2 DIDN'T: ELEKTRA
Raise your hand if you were one of the people who demanded an Elektra movie after 2003's Daredevil. Hmm… As expected the count is exactly at zero. There was no point to this film and it was only made to try to capitalize on Daredevil's relative financial success. Even the star of the film, Jennifer Garner, agreed that it was really bad and she only did it because of contractual obligations.
Speaking to Birth.Movies.Death, screenwriter Stu Zicherman also admitted Elektra was a stinker. "I literally, to this day, am still so embarrassed by that movie. I probably shouldn't say this, but I know Jennifer Garner is too. She hired us to write the movie, which was pitched as something much more smart and sophisticated… It's a blemish."
1 DO: SPIDER-MAN 2099
Much like everyone has been screaming for a Batman Beyond film at DC, Marvel fans have been demanding a Spider-Man 2099 one for ages. We've already seen Peter Parker's story so many times on the big screen and Miles Morales' journey is beginning in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so where does that leave Miguel O'Hara's Spider-Man of the future?
Back in 1999, there were plans for a Spider-Man 2099 animated series but it was shelved in favor of Spider-Man Unlimited. It's a shame because O'Hara's Spidey could've been a hit much in the same way as Terry McGinnis' Batman. Considering the current cinematic climate that favors futuristic sci-fi settings, however, we wouldn't be too surprised if this is one project that might find its way onto the screen in one way or another. Cough, Netflix, cough...