Hollywood has a long standing love for movies based on comic books. Whether it’s the fact that the script has already been story-boarded or maybe because they know comic book geeks will line up in droves to buy tickets, films based on floppies continually make their way to the box office.
And the coming year is no exception. As Den of Geek pointed out last fall, there are nearly 100 comic book movies at some stage of production. In fact, there are so many movies based on sequential art, that some of them have to be good … don’t they? Here are the films (in no particular order) based on the funny pages that we’re looking forward to most:
Jonah Hex – This DC western anti-hero comic has been in print, on and off, for nearly 40 years, the latest run since 2005. The Clint Eastwood-esque bounty hunter is fond of killing pretty much everything that gets in his way, oftentimes in creatively horrifying ways. The live action film features Josh Brolin as Hex, who must hunt down a voodoo priest (John Malkovitch) who’s planning on raising a Confederate army of zombies. Cowboys … zombies … and if you need any more reason than that to look forward to this movie, Megan Fox also stars. The movie is slated for an summer 2010 release.
Thor – Kenneth Branagh is going to direct this film about the Norse God of Thunder. Chris Hemsworth, who played George Kirk in the Abrams version of Star Trek will sport the flowing locks and big hammer. The story will take place both on Earth and Asgard and is, more or less, an origin story. A banished Thor, with no recollection of who he is, will slowly remember who he is and what he’s capable of. Then he’ll beat the ever-loving Nordic night soil out of Loki. Also, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, geek-favorite Nathalie Portman signed on to the film this week. Thor will be dropping the hammer in May of 2011. (Also look for Thor to appear in Jon Favreau’s adaptation of The Avengers in 2012.)
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn – One of the world’s most popular characters is planning on making a silver screen appearance again. With a half-dozen films under his reporter’s belt, but none in nearly four decades, Steven Spielberg will be bringing Tintin to life in the first of two movies (maybe three) via motion capture 3-D. The film will star Jamie Bell as Tintin and also feature Simon Pegg & Nick Frost as a pair of detectives. The movie is scheduled to open December, 2010.
Surrogates – In the not too distant future, we’re all going to have robotic surrogates who live out our lives for us, while we hide inside from the evil outdoors – that’s the premise for this Bruce Willis adaptation of the Robert Vinditti book. Unfortunately, someone has been monkeying about with the matrix and Willis is forced to leave his fortress of solitude (and his fabulous hair) to figure out whodunnit. This movie will be out September of this year.
Kick Ass – This Mark Millar tale of a high school loner who decides, with no powers or training, to become a superhero is both ultraviolent and gut-busting funny. Rather than becoming a superhero, he becomes more of a celebrated vigilante, complete with a MySpace page so he can collect tips and jobs. We’re predicting this movie will be great, despite the inclusion of the one-dimensional Nic Cage in the cast.
The Goon – Eric Powell’s ongoing Goon has won five well-deserved Eisner’s and will soon be finding its way to the silver screen in animated form. The script is being written by series creator Powell and directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en). The comic is an uproariously funny look at an alleged mob enforcer who oftentimes has to battle gangs of the undead.
Ghost in the Shell – This manga classic has seen three animated films based on the book to date. But in the upcoming iteration, no less than Steven Spielberg will be lending his talent to bring a live action, 3-D version to the big screen. While plot details of the Spielberg version are sketchy, we’re looking forward to 2011 when the classic cyborg-police thriller hits the big screen.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World – Perhaps no other comic book on this list has received as much recent attention as the Scott Pilgrim series. In this sendup of the second arc, Michael Cera will star as the wanna-be rock star, tasked with battling the League of Ramona’s Ex-Boyfriends. Look for blockbuster box office from this 2010 release.
Green Lantern – Justin Timberlake tested for the lead role in this one, but the part of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern ended up going to Ryan Reynolds instead. The film’s plot will reportedly follow the Jordan origin story. With a big budget of $200 million, look for plenty of action and mind boggling special effects. Reynolds will be donning the ring in theaters summer of 2011.
Y: The Last Man – One of the best series of all time, Y: The Last Man, won three Eisners during its five year run. The story is set in a world where every mammal with a Y chromosome has kicked the bucket, except a guy named Yorick and his pet monkey. The Brian K. Vaughn story follows Yorick and his friends as they try to discover the cause of the plague and a cure. The filmmakers had originally picked Shia LaBeouf to play the leading role, but the wanna-be Indy (thankfully) bowed out earlier this month. Shooting has yet to begin on this movie.
Of course, for every Road to Perdition or American Splendor that comes out, there are countless other comic book movies that come fully equipped with greased skids for the bargain bin in the back of your neighborhood Wal Mart. Mixed into that stew of fail are movies that coulda, shoulda been better, that had so much potential but fell short. We’re predicting these five will fall into that category.
Black Hole – Not exactly a family comic to begin with, Charles Burns’ Black Hole is a well written story that deals with an STD that caused horrible mutations in teenagers. Hopes were high when it was announced that the always awesome Neil Gaiman would be adapting the book for the big screen. However “creative differences” reared their ugly heads when director David Fincher hit the set, which means the Gaiman script won’t be used. Fincher’s capable of great things, but this one seems destined for development hell.
Red – This film from the misanthropic Warren Ellis word machine had great buzz in the beginning. But the early word is that the plot has been twisted and tweaked from the original comic to the point where it’s nearly unrecognizable. We’re big fans of Ellis, but Hollywood has a history of screwing up good ideas and this one seems headed in that direction. However, word is that Bruce Willis is interested in the movie, which might be enough to swing this one back into the “nice” column.
Wonder Woman – Scheduled for a 2011 release, this movie has been surrounded by more rumors than this past June 25th at TMZ. Megan Fox has reportedly turned down the lead on several occasions and the list of names associated with the golden lasso reads like a Maxim Hot 100 list. Joss Whedon whittled away two years of his life trying to make this movie happen, now it’s just floundering about, waiting for someone to take the controls of the invisible plane.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra – I’m crazy about G.I. Joe – it’s the only comic I collected as a kid that I still buy today. So when I heard this movie was coming out, I was “Yo Joe!” excited. But then I learned Stephen Summers (who managed to make Hugh Jackman look like a Bollywood extra in Van Helsing) was directing and then the previews started showing up. Factor in the years this movie has been in development and this is sure to win a bunch of awards … at the Razzies.
War Heroes – This comic really got people talking when it debuted last summer. Tongues were really wagging after the second issue – drugs that made our armed forces into super heroes! Great stuff! Based on writer Mark Millar’s track record and the early buzz, Sony optioned the movie and assigned Michael De Luca (Blade 2, Ghost Rider) to produce. A year later, we’re still waiting on issue #3. Come on Millar – pick up the pen!
What about you? Any comic book movies on your radar? Let us know in the comments.