Comic book movies are hit or miss. That probably goes without saying, but every list article like this needs an introduction, and that was mine. The sentence after that demonstrates playful self-awareness, and this sentence is just taking up space.

The “miss” comic book films are more often than not the fault of the film team, because it’s not like comic books are amazing source material. They’re basically high-level stories about men or boys in costumes that solve cities from men who somehow became lizard men. Basically.

However, some are better than that, and as such, deserve better adaptations. These are those. Read.

Dick Tracy

Let me start off by saying that I liked Dick Tracy a lot. I thought that Warren Beatty was perfect for the role, and the cartoony production was terrific in everything from the performances to the costumes to the set design.

But it could have gone another direction entirely and been reminiscent of Nolan’s Batman. The words “gritty reboot” send a goddamn chill down my spine because they’re bandied about so readily on tired projects. But Dick Tracy has all the elements of film noir but in a fashion accessible to the masses. It could have been a very powerful film had it taken a more earnest approach.

Not because the original failed, but because it went so surely in another direction, I think DT is due for an RM.

RM stands for remake, but having to explain all this to you is negating the timesaving properties of the abbreviation. Shit.

The Phantom

I don’t know The Phantom from a hole in the ground, but I do know that I sure like talking about Billy Zane, so The Phantom makes the list. The Phantom harkens back to the age of radio, offering a different type of hero and different type of story.

A hero who existed in a simpler time offers plenty of potential both as a straightforward action flick or as a tongue-in-cheek comedy a la Starsky and Hutch. Also, if you’re going to include Zane in a film, put the spotlight on Zane. I just looked up “zany” in a dictionary I wrote myself, and it said, “Of or pertaining to the style and methods of Billy Zane.

It should be zanier. Like, Zoolander zany. He’s the most ridiculous person in the world. Don’t cover him in a damn mask. It’s disrespectful.

Judge Dredd

Yes, Dredd's remake hits theaters September 21st. And it deserves it not only because Dredd is a cool character, but also because the first iteration had both Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider. Ouch.

I'm hoping this new version does well and spawns some sequels, because maybe a Friday the 13th-style series of movies will cause us to forget the faulty original that started it all.

This has to happen because…

I am the law.


I’m not saying Steel is a really good comic book character or story. It’s not really. But it’s not “Shaquille O’Neal” bad. Shaq’s public infatuation over Superman reportedly helped get him the gig as this DC hero who appears to be wearing a very, very cheap Halloween costume.

Also, in case you guys didn’t know, Shaq is a terrible actor. For real. It deserves at least a Damon Wayans, and at most a Donald Glover. In fact, most every superhero on this list would benefit from the inclusion of some Glover.


I don’t want to say Robin Williams makes everything worse, but when Robert Altman (!) signed him up for Popeye, he was basically getting an actual cartoon character to play a fictional cartoon character. And it didn’t go well. It didn’t appeal to the masses, and it wasn’t weird enough to be a cult hit. It was like Toys, which also featured Robin Williams, which is to say that it was unremarkably bad.

I mean, if you’re going to make Popeye, at least fail spectacularly. Let’s give it to Lars Von Trier and make Michael Bay assistant director. That should be good for…something.

The Rocketeer

Disney thought this comic deserved a second chance, because they’re giving her the ole’ reboot effective a couple months ago. Not bad.

To be fair, I always liked The Rocketeer. I thought Timothy Dalton was an awesome Nazi, I loved the Art Deco stylized nature of the film, and Paul Sorvino played a mobster that teamed up with the G-Men against the Nazis. All upside.

I also enjoyed the original Rocketeer’s relative anonymity.

But, the special effects were pretty weak, and if you’re going to make a movie about a guy with a special jetpack, let’s not skimp in that arena, ok?