Last week’s Comics on Film article seemed to generate a rather passionate discussion in the comments section and a devoted thread on Reddit based off of its major claim: Spider-Man on film should move from his current position at Sony and join Marvel Studios alongside the likes of Iron Man and Captain America. While reading through each participant’s thoughts, one theme of the opposing argument that was particularly compelling: comic book fans want all of Marvel’s characters to be woven into the fabric of the Marvel cinematic universe.
That’s certainly not the case. Marvel is home to some of the absolute best icons in superhero fiction, but that’s far from meaning that every character should be a part of the shared world that many of them are joining in movie theaters. So, this week, it seemed apt to take a look at five Marvel Comics characters that shouldn’t join the Avengers in the cinematic universe.
5) Fin Fang Foom
Not only is the idea of a giant, green dragon in purple shorts standing next to Chris Evans’ Captain America or Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye kind of laughable, but the story of Foom from the source material seems almost impossible to adapt coherently in films with the quality that Marvel Studios has had thus far. As the navigator of an extraterrestrial spacecraft, Foom landed in China and spent a few millennia sleeping, before fighting communists, and over the course of his life has been abducted and possessed by madmen and other monsters. He even managed to fend off an alien invasion with his kung fu skills, before getting blown up and reassembled with lizards from a sewer. He even converted to Buddhism.
Now, is it impossible to make a good story out of such an eclectic character? No, but when it comes to looking at the general tenor of the current Marvel cinematic universe, maybe it’s best to pass on Foom for now.
It’s not that Hercules is a bad character, it’s just that the niche for someone like him is already filled nicely by Thor and his supporting cast. While this character’s basis in mythology is strong, his appearance as a cosmic “god” with a great deal of strength just doesn’t seem necessary at this particular time.
While recent years have shown Herc as a player in the purview of the Hulk, his general concept seems far more suited to showing up opposite Thor, at least for his introduction. For that reason alone, it may be beneficial to hold off on exploiting Herc, since he strikes a far too familiar chord when directly compared to the God of Thunder.
Besides, Herc originally appeared in Marvel Comics when he was pulled from the past by a supervillain for the express purpose of battling Thor, and because the first two solo Thor films have merely scratched the surface of what the Nine Realms can fully do on film, Herc should take a backseat until other, more important characters from that corner of the Marvel U are exploited…
…like Beta Ray Bill. Let’s make THAT happen before Hercules.
Hmm… another giant blond strongman running around the Marvel U? With an “S” on his chest, no less? Probably not necessary. Sentry was created as a slightly harder-edged Superman analogue in the Marvel U, but his most memorable exploitation at the hands of Brian Michael Bendis in New Avengers added a somewhat confusing psychological bent to him, in which he himself ended up being his own worst enemy, in a way.
While the first miniseries featuring the character had a certain charm to it, psychological trauma and retcon have become some of the more memorable staples of the character, which doesn’t make him a good fit for the current Marvel cinematic universe. While the “conflict” between Sentry and the Void was certainly visually interesting, the surrealism and attachment to a physical force may clash a bit.
Not to mention that it may seem weird to audiences for a caped hero to have an “S” on his chest at a Marvel movie. Overall, the baggage Sentry brings with him is too high for him to be translated effectively for new audiences, and in its current state, you likely wouldn’t want a faithful adaptation of him either. Now, if Marvel manages to get the Spider-Man license and adapts “Dark Reign,” where Norman Osborn basically becomes the new Nick Fury, Sentry would be an interestingly malleable character for someone like Osborn to manipulate.
Until then, though, he’s not necessary.
2) Ghost Rider
After two cinematic outings that could generously be called “less than stellar” in 2007 and 2012, he should be close to the last of the Marvel characters to join the current late of Marvel Studios films.
Right now, Marvel seems focused on fleshing out the cosmic side of things with upcoming outings like Guardians of the Galaxy, and perhaps Avengers 3 pointing signs toward an altercation with Thanos. Ghost Rider comes from an entirely different side of Marvel Comics that is both ethereal and pretty violent.
Johnny Blaze is a beloved comics character who’s had a bad rap thus far at the movies, but adding him to the tapestry of Marvel Studios is a matter of timing above all else.
It’s really not time for Ghost Rider right now, but in the event Marvel decides to move from Thanos to Mephisto as the next big bad threatening the entirety of the Marvel universe, then it’s nice to know that the Rider is back home at Marvel Studios, waiting for the right time to emerge again.
Equally unfitting for a Marvel Studios outing at the moment is the vampire hunter Blade, who’s had three films and a TV series under his belt. While not exactly credited with helping to start the current golden age of comics-based films, the 1988 Blade starring Wesley Snipes is seen as a largely solid comic book movie made before the trend had set in. Unfortunately, by movie number three, the franchise had burned out, and although a few episodes of the SpikeTV series were promising, it failed to catch on and was cancelled after the first season.
Like Ghost Rider, the rights to Blade have reverted from New Line Cinema back to Marvel Studios, but the fabled vampire hunter may never be an appropriate fit for the Marvel cInematic universe. Part of the reason the first film was well received can be contributed to its reimagining of the original material, and its embracing a more violent, adult tone. It’s hard to imagine Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man cracking wise to a Blade that’s slitting, slicing and burning as many vampires as he can get his hands on.
If Marvel Studios created a “Marvel Knights” subsection unconnected to its shared universe, then that could work. Otherwise, Blade appearing next to the Avengers just doesn’t fit.
Are there any characters that you think should join these five? Any of these five you feel shouldn’t be here? Be sure to sound off in the comments below, and we’ll see you next week for a new edition of Comics on Film!
Chris Clow is a geek. He is a comic book expert and former retailer, and freelance contributor to GeekNation.com, The Huffington Post, and Batman-On-Film.com. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film every Wednesday right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.
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