This article is the first of three articles leading up to this weekend’s release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Check back for the second and third installments, true believers.
For those who don’t know, Jubilee is a member of the X-Men who appeared in Uncanny X-Men #244 in 1989. Her powers consisted basically of wearing ridiculous sunglasses and shooting fireworks from her hands, rendering her useless for just about any event other than Charles Xavier’s annual Fourth of July barbecue. What I’m saying is that if you’re about to go to battle with Magneto, you’d be advised to not waste your time and just leave Jubilee the hell out of it.
And so, not unlike the human sparkler, here are five comic book movies you probably shouldn’t waste your time with … But first, a few honorable mentions:
Iron Man III (2013)
You know who would have made an awesome villain for Iron Man’s last movie? The Mandarin. You know, the Chinese martial artist who one day stumbles onto an alien spaceship to find 10 rings that basically turn him into Marvel’s Shang Tsung. You know who doesn’t make a great Iron man villain? This guy, who adopted the Mandarin’s name only to amount to just about every other villain in the Iron Man movie franchise.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
I can’t describe my excitement when I learned that Paul Giamatti was cast as Rhino, one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. I was a little worried that the movie would suffer from the Spider-Man 3 curse (we’ll get there), and become convoluted with too many characters and poor writing. Sadly, both of those concerns became reality, dooming the web-slinger’s second attempt on the big screen.
This movie was so boring that I almost fell asleep just trying to think of something to write about it. Zero stars.
And now, your top five:
5. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Do you know what that giant cloud about to eat Earth is? Neither did anyone else. Twentieth Century Fox managed to not only squash the hopes of intergalactic fanboys everywhere hoping to catch a glimpse of the flamboyantly purple world-eater, but it also managed to ruin one of the best characters in the Marvel Universe, practically castrating the Silver Surfer, ridding him of powers that made him one of Marvel’s most underrated badasses. What could have been an epic battle between herald and master essentially amounted to the Surfer preventing the world from experiencing a cloudy day.
The movie had potential. The casting was spot-on: Jessica Alba was an alright Sue Storm, Chris Evans personified the arrogance of Johnny Storm (though he makes a far better Captain America), and Ioan Gruffudd was as much Reed Richards as Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. The movie was heavily criticized for its lack of depth and respect to its own characters, and because of that, we’re sentenced to a future of what already looks to be worse Fantastic Four movies while Fox hangs on to the rights of one of Marvel’s most iconic groups.
4. Batman and Robin (1997)
There’s not a lot I can say that isn’t already summed up by director Joel Schumacher’s commentary on the movie, in which he spends his time actually apologizing for it. Even George Clooney has apologized.
I love Schwarzenegger movies, mostly because of all the ridiculous things he says. That’s why I actually kind of love this movie. He resurrected the wit of his John Matrix character from Commando, only instead of making puns about killing everyone, he made them about the weather. It was classic Schwarzenegger, the icing on a cake that was destined to be nothing more than a mockery of the Batman universe.
3. Wolverine: Origins (2009)
When comic books turn movies, it’s pretty frowned upon when directors make changes to the original storylines, but it’s often met with some acceptance: Sending Wolverine back in X-Men: Days of Future Past made sense, because to send the Ellen Page-cast Kitty Pryde back 40 years would to turn her back to a twinkle in her father’s eye. But when you change a character entirely — say, when you turn one of the franchise’s most beloved characters into an abomination with powers he never had in the comics, and his best trait is sewn shut — you’re going to make enemies. Let’s hope Deadpool confronts this in his new film.
2. Daredevil (2003)
Thank God for the new Daredevil series. In one fell 13-episode swoop, Netflix and Marvel were able to collaborate together and transform Daredevil from Marvel’s punchline to guy who will probably kick my teeth in if I mention Ben Affleck.
The movie has been seen as nothing short of an atrocity — chock full of awkward, sexually tense fighting scenes between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and Affleck sporting a lackadaisical effort at a Daredevil costume. It brought the beginning and what fans (understandably) think should have been the end of his superhero career, with comic fans the world over letting out a giant groan in unison when he was announced Christian Bale’s successor as Batman.
1. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
When thinking up this list, Spider-Man 3 didn’t even make the cut. Instead, Amazing Spider-Man 2 went in number 5, and everything else went down. And before start with the “You put a movie you didn’t even remember in the worst spot?” nonsense, just hang tight a second, let me point out something: this movie was so bad that it was subconsciously wiped clear from my memory. That’s something that happens to war veterans and children who watch their family get murdered. It was only while doing a Google Image search for Amazing Spider-Man 2 that I remembered the atrocity that was Emo Toby Maguire and Venom. Oh God, Venom.
Looking back, I can’t think of one good thing to say about it — the casting was bad, the writing was bad, and even its choice of villains was bad (Sandman and another Goblin? Really?). They tried throwing in Venom as a last-minute draw for fans, and it worked — true believers entered the theater hoping to see one of Marvel’s most popular antiheroes; instead, they left with their heads down wondering where everything went wrong with the world.
Side note: Why was Topher Grace cast as Eddie Brock? Did Sam Raimi owe someone a favor? Wouldn’t Brock Lesnar make a perfect Eddie Brock? It’s even in the name! Sounds like destiny.
Luckily, a third web-head reboot is on its way, and even more lucky for us, we can skip all the weird puberty metaphors. There’s also been a lot of discussion about who should fill the role of Spider-Man now that Andrew Garfield is out. Some people want an African-American Spider-Man, while others want a closer portrayal of the Peter Parker of the comic books (Hey, here’s an article about that!). Personally, I don’t care — just don’t give me Toby Maguire.