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In light of the recent surplus of blockbusting superhero films all but guaranteeing monstrous studio revenue, Hollywood has hit the ground running and greenlit every script featuring a violent man in his underwear from Captain Marvel to your drunken father on Thanksgiving.

Yet, for every Batman Begins that graces the theaters, there are 10 useless men in spandex lined up for the next few years. Here are five of the next big-budget superhero films currently in production that simply should not be.

Sub-Mariner

The Movie:
Coming around 2010, directed by Chris Columbus (Link).

Who is He?
Namor: The Sub-Mariner (which, technically, is his full title in case upon meeting him you happened to overlook the scaly G-string and stench of vagina in the room, and thus were incapable of deducing that Namor might be Sub-Marine in nature) was one of the very first superheroes, debuting in 1939. His powers are roughly equivalent to that of a jacked-up Aquaman, a character most famous for being ridiculously useless.

Namor was the bastard offspring of a ship's captain and a member of a secret undersea race. We might be tempted to call him a mermaid, but the comic book insists he is technically "Homo Mermanus." A piece of advice for budding comic book writers, if you'd like to avoid cheap gay jokes at your hero's expense, perhaps including the words "homo" and "anus" in your character's scientific classification is a bad idea.

Namor has pointy Spock ears, can communicate with aquatic life, breathe underwater, possesses an enhanced physique to deal with the high pressure depths and, of course, has the obligatory tiny wings on his ankles that enable him to fly.

What's that you say? That last one seems a little out of place? Why would an aquatically themed superhero flit about on delicate little calf-wings? According to the creators: Fuck you, that's why.

Previous Notable Appearances on Film:

This is from the Namor cartoon they did back in the 60s. Hopefully, they'll keep it's awesome theme song for the film. Also, watch the beginning to see the look of mild annoyance on the squid's face when the Sub-Mariner goes swishing by. You'll find yourself displaying similar annoyance a few years from now after you waste 10 fucking dollars on a shitty movie about Namor.

Why Fanboys Are Excited:
Writing the script is David Self, who adapted Road to Perdition from a graphic novel into an excellent screenplay. Signed on to direct is Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter movies, where he proved himself at least competent at adapting the spirit of a work for film (though seemed to have difficulty with the effects).

There is also a fair amount of depth in the material (a pun which was almost worth the punch in the face we had to give ourselves for making it) in that early Namor was anything but the typical super-being. He was an arrogant, misogynistic, anti hero who would destroy entire cities just to get a little tail. He was the first comic book super-man to show real human fault. Maybe Namor will have the kind of moral complexity that Tom Hanks' character had in Perdition.

Why Fanboys Will Be Disappointed:
Also unlike most superheroes, Namor was wholly unimpressive and horribly ineffective in matters that weren't immediately fish-specific. So, while Namor may not be as likeable as, say, Spider-Man, he also isn't as useful in battle as, say, Spider-Man. Further, If Hanks' character in Perdition had been outfitted with a chafing man-bikini and a pair of dainty foot-wings, he would have been just as impossible to take seriously as Namor will be. Not every single comic book character can be translated to film without looking ridiculous. Here, we have a character whose costume is mostly an aquamarine thong made out of fish scales.

Considering the exaggerated, dynamic poses and action shots that are the hallmark of modern big budget superhero flicks, it is highly probable you will spend roughly an hour and a half staring up at a giant green taint with the occasional slippage of wet side-testicle.

Shazam!

The Movie:
Coming in 2009, directed by Peter Segal (Link).

Who is He?
Shazam! is actually just the name of the comic book itself, not the character. Before you mock our punctuation, we'd like to explain that the name actually contains that exclamation point, a precedent followed only in the early '80s by that short-pant wearing duo of fancy boy-meat Wham! The character's name is really Captain Marvel, making it one of the very few comic books not named after the central character, but rather after the made up word he yells to gain superpowers.

Captain Marvel was essentially the generic brand Superman. The editors at DC needed another success like Superman, and decided to ape Captain Marvel nearly exactly. Captain Marvel is to Superman what GoBots are to Transformers, what Power Rangers are to Voltron, or what Cracked magazine is to MAD magazine. They just took Superman, dressed him in your grandfather's pajamas, paid a sexual deviant to write his back story and watched the cash roll in.

The origin of Shazam! is that young Billy Batson, a 12-year-old homeless newsboy, follows a mysterious stranger into a secret subway tunnel and boards an empty train that takes him to the lair of a wizard who gives him the secret word "Shazam!" The word is an acronym for Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury who all lend their respective powers to whoever yells the word with the least amount of shame.

Yes, you've read correctly, Captain Marvel in all of that skin-tight clothing, with his rippled muscles and dangling package is actually a 12-year-old boy who, thanks to a secret magic word he learned only by talking to strangers and following them into abandoned subway tunnels, has the amazing ability to instantly transform into the legal age of consent.

Previous Notable Appearances on Film:

Behold the glory of the live-action Shazam! TV show that aired in the mid-'70s. All the creepiness of the premise is on full display, as young Billy and his middle-aged male companion cross the country in their RV. Also, the Greek Gods appear to be represented by stationery cardboard cutouts.

Why Fanboys Are Excited:
The Rock is attached to play the villain, a likable enough actor who was seems genetically designed specifically to be in comic book movies. It's not a bad role, either. If you take away almost everything ridiculous that doesn't work about Captain Marvel, you have his antithesis and mortal enemy, Black Adam. Not to worry, though, sensitive readers, Black Adam is not a racist caricature of a black man that embodies everything evil. The "Black" only refers to his dark soul and corrupted nature. He's actually an Arab.

The script is being written by William Goldman, John August, and Bryan Goluboff whose individual past efforts have included Big Fish, The Basketball Diaries, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride. So, there's some real, actual writing people there who can actually write action and character depth at the same time, if given the chance.

There are some themes to explore here, the hero transformation serving as a rescue fantasy for a boy abandoned by his parents and society in general. Maybe this film can explore some of the emotional complexities of the superhero that were so clumsily handled in Superman Returns.

Why Fanboys Will be Disappointed:
First of all ...

Also, these generic-brand rip offs only make sense if the original is doing monster business. That's not the case with Superman, though, whose last film was greeted with a thundering "meh." Here, you have a character with all the problems of Superman (namely, the all-powerful invincibility that makes him impossible to identify with), only without the familiarity and with a foppish gold sash around his waist.

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Luke Cage

The Movie:
Coming 2009, directed by John Singleton (Link).

Who is He?
Luke Cage, a young gang member living in 1970s Harlem was arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. You may be disinclined to believe young Luke was innocent upon hearing, directly from his origin, that he was a gang member in 1970s Harlem. But to be fair, according to the movies the vast majority of gangland activity before 1991 was comprised of double-dutch competitions, choreographed roller skating and breakdancing to save the community center from an evil strip-mall developer.

Luke became so utterly repentant in prison that he volunteered as a test subject for a secret government project that gave him diamond-hard skin and superhuman strength. How the project obtained funding for their proposal, entitled "give diamond-hard skin and superhuman strength to angry young ethnic convicts" is yet another prime example of the dangerous incompetence of the Nixon administration. After the experiments earned him his freedom, Luke found himself possessing new and amazing powers beyond that of any normal man and set about fighting crime as the indomitable ... LUKE CAGE!

This is, obviously, the worst superhero name in comic books; a genre famous for the insipidity of its names. To his credit, Luke did attempt a different name at first, that of Power Man, it just didn't stick. We imagine the conversation went something like:

"The ghettos aren't safe, and that's why I must become ... POWER MAN!"

"Uh ... Luke ...?"

"POWER MAN!"

"Yeah ... Hey, God love you man, but I would let you sexually rule me like a king, before I call you that. I would service you daily and refer to you as 'His Erotic Majesty' before I call you god damned Power Man."

"Y ... you would?"

"No, Luke. That's a Hyperbole."

Previous Notable Appearances on Film:

In this Web video, a grown-up comics fan engages in a little Luke Cage cosplay. Can a team of Hollywood professionals make the costume look less ridiculous? It might not be possible.

Why Fanboys Are Excited:
In talks to play Cage is Tyrese Gibson, who at least looks like he could kick somebody's ass.

The attached director is John Singleton, most famous for his work on Boyz n the Hood, arguably the best gang movie to come out of their resurgence in the early '90s. Singleton has easily proven apt to deal with the inner turmoil of disillusioned black ex-convicts, and perhaps Luke Cage would have been more at home in those harsh and edgy gangland dramas after all.

Why Fanboys Will Be Disappointed:
Since Boyz n the Hood, Singleton has proven himself more than capable of churning out awful genre trash. So anyone with visions of an uncompromisingly gritty Luke Cage should probably check out Singleton and Tyrese's previous collaboration 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Also, the character hasn't exactly aged well. Luke Cage was always one dimensional at best, an exploitive stereotype at worst. Cage was Marvel's entry into the blaxploitation craze, and rather than waste valuable time on characterization and ingenuity, they threw Shaft up on some cinder-blocks, tweaked the horsepower, and added the most generic abilities available. Still not offended? Alright, while Superman embodied "Truth, Justice and the American Way," Cage was famous for often shouting the catchphrase "Sweet Christmas!"

Though we will readily admit he was a serious hard-ass (the man patrolled Harlem dressed like your grandma on vacation) we would like for you to notice his "metal headband," which upon close inspection is actually a little girl's costume Tiara worn upside down.

This, combined with the canary-yellow blouse and navy blue stretch pants, leads us to believe that while the streets may be safer thanks to Cage, somewhere in Brooklyn there is a sad, pre-teen girl who is trying to find her Halloween costume.

The Mighty Thor

The Movie:
Coming 2009, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Link).

Who is He?
Much like most bisexual East Berlin rave DJs, The Mighty Thor is named after an adjective and a powerful Norse god. The commonalities do not end there, however. Much like, say, "DJ Baldur the Funky Ramrod," The Mighty Thor also possesses radiant, flowing, shoulder-length blond locks, wears giant yellow go-go boots and a bright red cape, and most of what comes out of his mouth is an ancient, but powerful and masculine Germanic tongue.

The origin of the comic god goes like this: The arrogant Thor needs a lesson in humility, so his father Odin, the ruler of all gods, sends him to Earth in the form of a crippled mortal to teach him to be humble. When Thor finally learns his shits do stink, his mortal form dies off and he is allowed to become himself again.

This spiritual lesson serves to confirm two things: Being handicapped is God's way of punishing you for religious transgressions, and to the son of God, Earth is essentially a giant time-out where instead of facing a corner for five minutes you live a short, challenging life rife with confusion and pain until you are eventually allowed to die.

Thor has the industry standard super-strength and invulnerability, as well as control over lightning and the ability to fly for no particular reason.

Previous Notable Appearances on Film:

Here we have the 1966 cartoon, using a form of half-assed lips-only animation that's actually a step below Johnny Quest. Was there really an era when the superhero's fortress could have a giant rainbow tongue without creating a blip on the audience's collective gaydar?

Why Fanboys Are Excited:
The attached director is Matthew Vaughn, whose previous works include the brutal English gangster movie Layer Cake and the unappreciated fantasy epic Stardust. As producer, Vaughn was also involved in nearly every Guy Ritchie movie (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). He could add a certain level of cool to a genre that has to struggle to keep from slipping into the ridiculous (see Ghostrider).

Why Fanboys Will Be Disappointed:

Vaughn apparently didn't get the memo that he had switched genres, and is directing a movie about a guy who looks like this:

... because they're in talks to cast Kevin McKidd in the lead role. He played Lucius Vorenus from the HBO series Rome, but he's best known as Tommy from Trainspotting. That's right, they've cast one of the heroin addicts from Trainspotting as Thor. Sure he's a good actor and we're all for British grit, but that guy's 50 pounds shy of being believable as Thor's love interest.

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The Green Lantern

The Movie:
Coming around 2010, directed by Greg Berlanti (Link)

Who is He?
The Green Lantern is more of a class or profession than it is a man. Similar to "the sheriff" or "the mayor," or "an asshole," it is a term that can specifically refer to one person but also applies to a larger concept encompassing many others.

Much like assholes, there are Green Lanterns spread throughout the universe. Typically, when they speak of Green Lantern they mean the late 1950s "silver age" incarnation Hal Jordan. Hal was a test pilot given a magical ring by a dying alien that gave him super-powers. Specifically, the ring gave Hal the ability to create physical objects out of green energy. The scope and magnitude of his powers were limited "only by his imagination." With this boundless power quite literally in his hands, and with the implicit intention of challenging Namor for the title of "Least Effective in a Fight," Hal proceeded to make mostly umbrellas, round plate-like surfaces, and fists that were a bit larger than usual.

In order to curb these massive powers, Green Lantern had to have a weakness, some small flaw, miniscule, hidden and not often encountered, like Superman's famous kryptonite. That weakness, the writers decided, was to be "the entire color yellow." Not just yellow rays, or yellow swords, or yellow slightly-larger-than-usual fists, but the whole of the spectrum in general. Though this is immensely vaster a weakness than a superhero would normally have, it did serve a purpose: anybody capable of kicking your ass would have to look really stupid doing it.

Previous Notable Appearances on Film:

This is from the pilot of a 1997 Justice League of America TV show that the network decided was too retarded to air. Here we see the literally unlimited power of the Green Lantern on display as he uses the green energy to form ... an umbrella. Seriously.

Why Fanboys Are Excited:
The idea itself is actually quite good. There is tremendous flexibility with the character (we're picturing him imagining a 600 foot-tall rabid Bruce Lee with machine guns for legs, ending any conflict in a hail of cacophonous gunfire and screeching chicken noises). In the hands of the right creative team it could be really, really cool.

Why Fanboys Will Be Disappointed:

The studio, however, had a different idea. They hired a man named Greg Berlanti to write and direct the film. Name sound familiar? No, it doesn't. Don't lie to the Internet. Berlanti thus far has directed one movie: The Broken Hearts Club, a romantic comedy about a group of young, hip friends with relationship troubles whose tagline is "The shortest distance between friends isn't always a straight line."

His previous writing credits include Dawson's Creek and Everwood, two teen dramas that we assume are notorious for their epic super-powered battle scenes. Based on these credentials, expect the new Green Lantern film to imagine up some slightly-larger-than-usual vanilla lattes and tickets to the Plain White T's concert in order to impress his high school sweetheart, Dakota, after which he will most likely imagine an awkward handjob in the back of a Toyota Celica.

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