Superheroes have gotten so gritty that even Superman is whinily killing people. In the comics, that's how you tell you're in an evil alternate universe where everything wonderful has turned to crap. Superman is meant to be about being so awesome that just seeing him makes you a better person. But we can bring back that bright and shiny spirit of adventure with Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.
Also the spirit of "actual reaction to world-ending terror."
They're the superpower parody dream team. Booster Gold is a time-traveling conman cashing in on fame with futuristic gadgets who learns how to be a real hero. Ted Kord is billionaire owner and chief inventor of Kord Industries, a gadget-enabled genius inventor of nonlethal weapons. Together, they fight crime! They're supershiny superfriends, bullshitting and bickering while blasting bad guys into prison. And they're perfect for mocking the endless grit of Superman and Batman. Booster fills in as a flying fake Superman, something he's already done in the comics more than once, while Blue Beetle combines "being just the tiniest bit like Batman" with "being able to enjoy how awesome that is."
This is usually where people object that some heroes aren't A-list enough to get movies. They say that in a world where Kevin Smith got $30 million to make Cop Out. There were no Cop Out comics. Cop Out does not have decades of history. Cop Out is how you beg for a cinematic intervention in projectable form. It had some big names in it, but so do all superhero movies. "Good guy versus bad guy" is made dozens of times every year. Having a history for the characters already written just saves money on screenwriting. There have been rumors of a Booster Gold movie and TV series, but superhero movie rumors are even less reliable than superhero deaths. All I know is that all the ultra-gritty movies urgently need dialysis, and I love Booster Gold.
Milestone Comics was an attempt to prove that eumelanin doesn't block every single cosmic ray and chemical in the DC universe, and Virgil Ovid Hawkins was their greatest hero. He gains the ability to control electricity and (unlike every other idiot with electrical powers) works out that this means he can control magnetism, too.
This doofus could match Magneto if he ever opened a book.
He's an honor roll student, he's popular, he learns to understand his new powers, and he wisecracks as he takes down the superpowered criminals created by the same accident as him. And he already exists as an established trademark, which seems to be the sole requirement for being made as a movie these days.
He's also part of the New 52, but that's much less exciting.
It was a popular cartoon starting in 2000 and has already been rerun multiple times, meaning many of the original fans are now old enough to go to the cinema and take their own kids, too. He's a distinct hero, but still an established wise-cracking superteenager with his own custom cast of villains. Hey, DC: see all those billions of dollars Spider-Man keeps earning? Would you like some?
Marvel's only job is choosing which hero will earn their next $100 million, so it's weird that they haven't chosen the most obvious ones: the Marvels themselves. They've had enough eponymously empowered heroes to field the world's first interesting baseball team, but they're still nowhere on the screen. Which is a shame, because the best two are in action right now.
A combination of Rosie the Riveter and needing gloves for what she's going to do to you.
Carol Danvers was already a highly trained NASA spy (this is what happens when you're a USAF major and want an even higher-flying job) when an exploding alien psyche-magnetron gives her superpowers. She could already kick ass, but now, when enemy fighters shoot down her plane, she can leap out to beat them up personally. She's cinematically perfect: superstrength, fires energy blasts, just enough precognition to survive fights but not to avoid them. She's an established Avenger -- Ant-Man proves that that's enough to get a major motion picture without any decent powers -- and hand-to-hand espionage training means that even the "before" bit of her origin story will rock. And she's still just getting rumors that she maybe might get to join in the Avengers sequel.
She should have her own headline movie. This is a woman who forced Tony Stark and the Incredible Hulk to walk out of Avengers Tower naked. Not Banner -- Hulk. And they still didn't reveal as much as her old costume used to. She spent most of her career as Ms. Marvel before deciding "screw this" and taking a title that doesn't explicitly reveal her gender. And a new costume with the same function.
"It turns out you can wear clothes on your legs!"
The name Ms. Marvel didn't stay out of action for long, because staying out of action is the exact opposite of superhero. And Kamala Khan is that rarest of superheroes: a new one. She was empowered by the recent "Inhumanity" comics event, where terrigen mist was released over the world to randomly redistribute superpowers among the human race. It was a bit of a problem in continuity, but is a fantastic idea for comics.
If nothing else, it's nice to see at least one famous geek series with a new Khan who isn't white.
Kamala is the first female Muslim to headline a comic. By existing, she's already triumphed over hordes of idiotic racists. Even more importantly, her comic isn't about fighting hordes of idiotic racists. She faces problems you can't punch. Kapowing neo-Nazis is a cheap escape from racism in comic books, because biffing color-coded minions whose evil leader is already 68 years dead is easy mode for superheroes. Instead she struggles with teenage issues, conflicting cultures, and the thoughtless racism of a schizophrenic America that has decided it hates foreigners instead of being them.
Not pictured: someone who'll put up with that.
It's a brand new comic and a brand new character, and she's already kicking ass. The first glimpse of her powers sold out Captain Marvel #17 in two days, while the first issue of her own comic was the best-selling Marvel digital comic of the week.
This is where idiots say that a brand new character can't have a movie because she doesn't have an established history. Because when have movies ever told a new story?
Find more pure nerd indulgence as Luke explains Why Warhammer 40,000 Is the Most Metal Universe Ever and Why Cyclops Should Be the Best Boyfriend of All Time.
Read more Cracked superanalysis in 5 Superheroes Who Should Have Gotten Movies Before Ant-Man and 6 Realistic Changes That Would Improve Superhero Movies.