The new Green Lantern movie comes out this weekend, as I’m sure you’re surmised from the massive amounts of posters infiltrating your cityscape and stores. What I thought could be a good movie from the DC franchise that doesn’t include Christopher Nolan, looks like it’s going to be a crappy green screen-heavy failure. Which makes me very sad indeed. Not only is Ryan Reynolds a hottie 5000, and I would have loved to oogle the man onscreen in that green jumpsuit, but the characters in the Green Lantern comic book series offer so much in the way of story lines. There are literally dozens of Green Lantern operatives in the universe and, playing the roles as interstellar detectives, there are infinite film scripts to derive from it. And what do we get instead? A glossy Hollywood joint that makes Reynolds’ body look oddly shaped in his Green Lantern suit.
It’s not the first, nor probably the last comic that a Hollywood studio has gotten their hands on and completely ruined. Comic book aficionados have at this point hopefully come to terms with the fact that no studio will ever be faithful to their beloved books. Liberties will be taken. Characters will be sexified. That’s Hollywood, that’s what happens. But there are some movies that stray so far from the material and are made so poorly that they become unwatchable. I enlisted the help of some of Heave’s film and comic fans to talk about film’s worst comic book adaptations.
The Spirit was so horrible it was almost unbelievable. Everything that Sin City was, The Spirit wasn’t. While Sin City bought into it’s innate craziness, The Spirit was was just one, giant, winking, campy, series of cliches. It definitely helped me realize how how good of a director Robert Rodriguez is, because although he and Frank Miller technically co-directed Sin City together, when Frank Miller took the reigns and tried to do it all by himself, what we got was the giant fucking mess that is The Spirit. Seriously, horrible, horrible, horrible fucking movie. And fuck Dick Tracy too. It’s just The Spirit with better actors and less green screen.
Let’s talk about 300. After Sin City, in all its green-screened noir glory, I thought: “More badassery on the horizon” when I heard 300 was next. I got tickets to an IMAX screening and sat down expecting, at worst, a bunch of over-the-top, cliché, epic slow-mo action. Sadly, I was right. It was practically ALL cliché slow-mo action and greasy 10-foot tall abs every time I looked up from checking the time on my phone. Did I care about any of these barbarians? Hurry up and die, I’m a busy man. Was this Gladiator without the dialogue and a little more skin? Hell, I’d rather watch Troy again (Okay, that’s a lie). This was madness and could only have come from a focus group consisting of a locker room full of meatheads retelling the Battle of Thermopylae with increasing exaggeration as the suits daydreamed of all the money they’d make. They made a soft-core porno aimed at people with mush for brains and I was watching it with a roomful of strangers – didn’t exactly get that Paul Reubens enthusiasm for it either. With such little genuinely engaging entertainment, it was about as fun as riding a Segway through a slaughterhouse. What Frank Miller penned on the pages of the film’s source material was far more effective than this two hour music video could ever hope to be. How ’bout that “This Is Sparta” meme though, huh?
My personal nightmare of a comic book movie is also one that I own and watch secretly. Someone got the bright idea to adapt Hellblazer, my favorite comic book series, into a movie called Constantine with Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton, and a budding Shia LeBeouf. I love Swinton and Weisz, and I have a soft spot for Mr. Reeves. But the movie itself was godawful. First off, John Constantine is a cussing British guy with blonde hair and a chain smoker. Naturally, Constantine employed the American Reeves with black hair and a dull, monotonous delivery to his weakly aggressive dialogue. I can go on nitpicking differences from the comic book and script, but then I’m going to sound like one of those nerds in comic book forums, pushing up my glasses as I fervently plot out inaccuracies in the new X-Men film. Glaring inaccuracies to the character aside, Constantine was just a shit movie. It portrayed a safe and silly fantasy world where angels and demons meet and religious lore becomes bad ass. Holy water bombs? FUCK YEAH THROW THAT SHIT! There was none of that dark, disgusting storytelling that Hellblazer pioneered in the 80s. Plus Keanu Reeves as any lead role? C’mon. His acting style is on par with being smacked in the face with a wet towel repeatedly – you just get annoyed after 5 minutes. But I still watch the movie on occasion because it’s the closest I’ll ever get to seeing my favorite character on the silver screen.