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.
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.
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.