One of the hardest things to do in Hollywood these days is to please comic book fans. While the movies from Marvel and DC Comics make more money than just about anything hitting theaters today, many fans will dissect anything that comes from comic books and point out just about every discrepancy when it comes to the adaptation from the comics to the big screen. However, making a superhero movie is about pleasing the mainstream movie-going audience member and not so much to catering to those fans who grew up hanging out at their local comic book store.
With that said, there are some fantastic characters in comic book movies that could work well to please both the fans of the comics and the regular joes who don’t know a Thanos from a Darkseid. However, there are moments where the directors bring on people that bear no resemblance to anything a comic book fan expects, such as casting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. While those moments make comic fans angry, nothing gets under a fan’s skin more than when the writers of the movie ruin a beloved character. Here are 15 superhero movie roles ruined by horrible writing.
First, this isn’t about the Iron Man 3 twist where the man portraying The Mandarin was an actor hired to play that role. That was smart plotting, depicting a man who controlled public opinion by creating a villain who scared the public, even if that villain didn’t exist. That tactic is a real-world situation where men in power tell people to look one way while the real evil is in the other direction.
However, the problem is that Mandarin is the most iconic villain from Iron Man comics, one who matches the power of Tony Stark by combining science and magic. The problem with Iron Man 3 came when Aldrich Killian claimed he was the Mandarin, which ruined the charade because it hinted there was no real Mandarin in the MCU. Marvel tried to fix that with a short film, but it ruined The Mandarin for many people.
Forget about Jennifer Garner’s performance in Daredevil; it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t an actual embarrassment to the character. Also, this has nothing to do with the Netflix series that brought her back into Daredevil’s life once again. Instead, and this should come as no surprise, the culprit here is the Elektra movie. After the Daredevil movie featured the iconic scene of Bullseye killing Elektra, Fox brought her back from the dead for her own film.
Elektra was a situation where a classic Marvel Comics character, and one with so much promise, died at the hands of a studio that had no idea how to handle the assassin. Jennifer Garner did her best, but this was one of the movies that convinced Marvel not to make a female superhero movie for a long time – so Elektra ruined female superheroes as well as the film's leading character.
Elektra was the last female-led major studio superhero movie until Wonder Woman brought them back from the dead. However, the year before there was a more considerable flop that doomed female superheroes in general. Catwoman sits at a low nine-percent on Rotten Tomatoes and the script ruined this superhero movie from the start.
Catwoman was not Selina Kyle but instead Patience Phillips, and the script turned this film into the only superhero movie taking place in the world of fashion design. Add in moments where Catwoman developed traits of actual cats -- such as a cringe-worthy catnip scene -- and the writing on this superhero movie ensured that it locked down every award at The Razzies that year. Oscar winner Halle Berry never had a chance to live up to the work of Michelle Pfeiffer and Julie Newmar.
12 BANE, BATGIRL, MR. FREEZE
There is a good reason Batman & Robin marked the end of the Batman franchise until Christopher Nolan resurrected it. Chris O’Donnell (Robin) said the entire movie was a commercial to sell toys. On top of that, the writers ruined a bunch of characters. It starts with Mr. Freeze, a villain in the comics with a tragic backstory that became a pun-delivering maniac in the movie.
Batgirl changed from Barbara Gordon, a respected female superhero in the Batman world, into Alfred’s niece, a character written as a bit Clueless. The most prominent disappointment was Bane. He was not the lethal force of nature that one day crippled the Bat, but a mindless servant to Poison Ivy given strength thanks to the Venom drug (developed by Jason Woodrue, another wasted character). The writers barely understood the characters DC Comics provided.
11 JONATHAN KENT
There is a lot to like about Man of Steel. For many years, the most prominent complaint about Superman was that he was a Big Blue Boy Scout, a boring superhero. With Man of Steel, Warner Bros. tried to create a superhero in a world that prefers to tear down their heroes rather than hold them on pedestals. Superman wants to be a good man, but the world beats him down.
The scenes of Clark Kent as a young man damage this story. In Superman lore, the Kent’s instill a sense of right and wrong and mold Clark into the man that becomes a hero. Here, Jonathan Kent tells Clark it might be better to let people die to protect his identity and refuses to let Clark save him. This man is not the father that molds Superman into a hero but the one who very nearly creates an emo Superman in the movies.
10 DOCTOR DOOM
The first two Fantastic Four movies fumbled the character of Victor Von Doom, but those two movies were nothing compared to what came in 2015, when Fox rebooted the franchise with Fantastic Four. Things started out well in the film, when the origin story of the group changed to fall more in line with the Marvel Ultimate Universe. However, comic book fans were ready to jump ship right when Doctor Doom was announced as being Victor Domashev, a computer hacker whose online name was Doom.
Things got worse when fans finally saw the movie. In Fantastic Four, Doom gained immense powers thanks to green goo on Planet Zero., which was the film’s version of the Negative Zone. The writers then had Doom show off his new skills, including telekinesis, before reining them back in when needed. This character was Doctor Doom in name only.
Thankfully for fans of Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds loved the character so much that he fought for the Deadpool movie and brought the Merc with a Mouth to life the way fans always dreamed. However, it almost wasn’t meant to be. Instead, X-Men Origins: Wolverine only presented half a movie with Wade Wilson portraying Deadpool accurately. The entire first section of the film had Wade Wilson as part of the elite mercenary team and exhibiting many of the character’s comic book characteristics.
However, the writers then made an illogical decision. Origins wanted to create Weapon XI, someone with the powers of different mutants, including Wolverine. For some reason, it was Wade Wilson that the movie chose to turn into Weapon XI. Even worse, Deadpool’s most famous trait is his mouth, which the script sewed shut for the final fight scenes.
8 TWO FACE
While Batman & Robin ended the Batman franchise, Joel Schumacher let a lot of fans down with his first effort as well. While not as bad as the fourth movie, Batman Forever had its fair share of problems. The good news for the film was that Val Kilmer was a great Bruce Wayne and Jim Carrey was decent as The Riddler. However, the writers of this movie ruined one of Batman’s most iconic villains.
Tommy Lee Jones is one of Hollywood’s top actors, and as Men in Black proved, he can do comic book material well with a good script. However, in Batman Forever, the film turned former district attorney Harvey Dent into a complete joke – a maniac with no backstory which was a generic criminal for Batman to bring down. Christopher Nolan created a perfect Two-Face, but this early attempt failed spectacularly.
7 SILVER SAMURAI
The Wolverine was a massive improvement over X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The new film took fewer liberties with the character and brought one of the character's best comic book storylines to life with Wolverine’s journey to Japan. There were changes made, including adding in the relationship between Logan and Ichiro Yashida from World War II and slightly altering Mariko’s story.
The movie completely changed everything about the Silver Samurai. In the comics, Silver Samurai is a mutant with the power to charge his katana for battle. He worked alongside Viper and eventually became a hero, helping form Big Hero 6. However, the script for The Wolverine made Silver Samurai into nothing more than a giant robot suit that Yashida wore to fight Wolverine and Harada was a different character – Mariko’s former lover and the head of the Black Ninja Clan.
When Sam Raimi prepared to make the third movie in his Spider-Man trilogy, he had some ideas he wanted to explore. Sandman received a complicated story due to adding him into the Uncle Ben death story, but overall the character's story was heart-breaking and compared well to that of Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man 2 when it came to creating sympathetic villains. However, when it came to Venom, Raimi has admitted that he never wanted the character in the movie.
As a result, the script had Venom as an afterthought. The Symbiote ended up as a joke when on Peter Parker and resulted in a dull villain when it took over the body of Eddie Brock. For a character that Sony wanted to turn into a significant property of its own, Spider-Man 3 ruined everything about Venom, the most disappointing part of Raimi’s entire Spider-Man journey.
5 JANE FOSTER
As comic book fans know, Jane Foster is Thor now and has become a fascinating character. Jane Foster also appeared in many fantastic storylines, including one where she battled cancer. While she started out as a love interest for the hero, the same as many female characters in Marvel Comics before her, Marvel turned her into a legitimate hero through the years.
However, the first two Thor movies did little to show Jane Foster as anything more than a clingy love interest for Thor. In the first film, Jane did little to prove herself as nothing but a side character. She received a more significant role in Thor 2, but even when she actively took part in critical plot points, it seemed by accident. The movies never took Jane Foster seriously and gave fans no reason to care.
In the comics, Batman has a plan to defeat any superhero that might go rogue and even has kryptonite to take out Superman if needed. When it came to finally have Batman and Superman meet in a big screen movie for the first time, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice took that idea a little too far. Batman was jaded after losing Robin and seeing good men turn evil, but there is no instance that Batman should turn into a cold-blooded killer.
In Batman V Superman, Batman’s goal is to kill Superman before the Man of Steel has a chance to turn evil. Batman explains to Alfred that Superman is an enemy if there is even a small chance he can become evil. Yes, Batman in the comics is paranoid, but he doesn’t kill good people just because he is scared. That is not Batman.
When it comes to Marvel Comics, The Dark Phoenix Saga is the holy grail of comic book stories, containing one of the most devastating deaths in superhero comics. When X2: X-Men United hinted at the Dark Phoenix Saga, it was exciting. However, Bryan Singer left Fox to make a Superman movie, and Brett Ratner showed up and made X-Men: The Last Stand. This version of the Dark Phoenix Saga ruined the entire Phoenix character.
Phoenix was part of a jumbled storyline that also included a mutant cure. With so much emphasis on that story, it took away time from showing the rise and fall of the Dark Phoenix. She killed off Cyclops off-screen, murdered Professor X and then had Wolverine kill her when Jean Grey regained temporary control. This movie could have been heartbreaking, but it was merely disappointing.
2 GHOST RIDER
There are a lot of problems with both Ghost Rider movies, and it all starts with the scripts. The origin story was well executed, with Johnny Blaze trading his soul for the life of his dad before losing him in an accident anyway. However, many fans found the entire idea of Johnny spending the next 21 years as a suicidal stuntman before helping Mephistopheles fight Blackheart ridiculous.
Even adding the directing team from Crank was not enough to save Spirit of Vengeance, one of the lowest rated comic book movies in history. That film brought in Danny Ketch, who was the second Ghost Rider in the comics, but the script ultimately changed for the worse. That second movie also tried to delve more into the story of Zarathos, but fumbled everything. The franchise died immediately thereafter.
1 EMMA FROST
Emma Frost has shown up in two different X-Men movies, and neither one delivered the character that comic book fans have grown to love/hate over the years. First, she appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a young girl that Wolverine saves along with Cyclops and others. However, her role was so small in that movie that most fans overlooked the problems with her character.
In X-Men: First Class, the franchise completely ruined the character thanks to a script that had no idea how important she could be. Instead of being the manipulative and controlling personality that at one time led her own school of mutants, First Class made her the sidekick of Sebastian Shaw, dressed her up in lingerie and had Magneto and Professor X easily subdue her for information. The movie ultimately ruined everything that was great about Emma Frost.
Which other characters did movie writing ruin? Let us know in the comments!