People have been raving about how bad or good recent comic book portrayals have been. “Ryan Reynolds embodied Deadpool perfectly,” or “Henry Cavill just isn’t the Superman I love.” You’ve heard these all these kinds of complaints before, it’s nothing new. Just with more and more comic books being made into movies, there are more and more wrong portrayals.
Sometimes these incorrect characters aren’t really all that bad. Sometimes they actually help the character grow to a new level. Sometimes the changes actually make the show work better. For example, Flash is very good, partially because of the incorrect interpretation that the writers chose for Vibe aka Cisco. It’s not always a bad thing.
Here are 11 comic book characters that were portrayed incorrectly in their respective movie or TV show.
11. Victor Zsasz
Zsasz is a monster. He’s a stereotypical serial killer with a much darker twist. For those unfamiliar, he is a psychotic killer who wreaks havoc on Gotham, going on a murder spree and leaving the bodies in posed positions. For each kill, he slices a tally mark in his skin. Unlike most typical Batman villains, he really has no master plan, and no rhyme or reason as to whom he chooses to kill. He has a god complex of sorts and believes that he is saving people from the world by killing them. So the depiction that Gotham has chosen for Zsasz is pretty far from what he was. Yes the performance by Anthony Carrigan is chilling, and they did include that he cuts a tally in his skin for every kill, but that’s all. The Zsasz from the comics could never be reduced to a hitman for the mob, his internal purpose is too “great.” What makes Batman baddie a truly formidable foe is the horrifying sense of right that he feels from killing. Gotham has strived to reimagine the entire mythos of the Batman univserse, which is…fine. Zsasz is just so far from the character that they would have been better off making a new one.
Here is one of the few examples of when the incorrect portrayal of a character works. In the comics he was never Iceman’s best buddy, he never carried a zippo lighter, and he certainly never went to the Xavier Institute. Adding this aspect to the character in X2 gave viewers a familiar character, with a useful and well thought-out power, who switches sides to help show that the two sides aren’t so black and white. He provides depth to not only a character that is a bit boring in his original concept, but too Magneto as well, showing the revolutionary side to him instead of just as a terrorist. Whatever character aspects bungled in The Last Stand should be ignored because either way Pyro was still cooler than his gothic romance writer persona from the comics.
9. Emma Frost
Well you can’t get them all right… With so many X-Men characters, it should not be a surprise that they don’t get them all correct, and some of their changes are going to be bad. While Pyro’s changes added depth to the character, Emma Frost’s took everything away from hers. Whoever decided to make her a silent assassin in the vein of Mystique from the original films doesn’t understand what makes Frost so great. Not only is she a gifted telepath, but she is also brilliant, much more than the pawn that Sebastian Stan treats her as. We are talking about a woman who takes over the Xavier Institute after Xavier’s death, and the Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class would never have the capabilities to do that. Also they don’t seem to understand that metal would never be able to crack her diamond skin, that’s just silly.
8. Big Hero 6 Team
Everyone knows Big Hero 6, that lovable kid-superhero movie. Well a few might not know it’s based on a comic book, and many less won’t know how different the two are. None as noticeable as Baymax who is a big puffy marshmallow thing in the movie, but he’s an artificially intelligent android based on the brainwaves produced by his creator, Hero’s deceased father, in the comics. In the comics it’s in love with his mother and can shift into things like “a Battle Dragon,” in the movies he’s a really good doctor who can fly. I mean like which ever you want, but the movie version is just so far from the book that it can’t be called anything but wrong.
7. Bane (twice)
Bane can’t catch a break when it comes to movies. The genius military tactician will always be painted as someone’s lackey in movies apparently, even though every fan has spoken loudly against this idea. It’s easy to say that Batman & Robin had the worse of the two, but at least they got the origin and the character design mostly right. In The Dark Knight Rises, they just randomly changed almost everything about Bane. He has no venom, and worse he’s not of Hispanic origin. Why even take that away? It’s not like Tom Hardy made it seem like he was from a real place, he just sounded like Dracula wearing a gas mask. Whichever rendition you believe is worse is fine, but neither really exemplify the character from the books.
6. George Stacy
In The Amazing Spider-Man Denis Leary plays George Stacy, the police captain in charge of capturing Spider-Man. In a fun twist it turns out that he’s also the father of Gwen Stacey, Peter Parker’s current Girlfriend. Throughout the movie George is adamant that Spider-Man is all bad news, even after figuring out his true identity. He specifically tells Peter to stay away from his daughter saying that it’s for her own good. This is directly against the comics as George is one of Spider-Man’s closest allies, and one of the biggest advocates of Gwen and Peter’s relationship. They even have a similar conversation at the time of George’s death where he tells Peter to take care of Gwen. George is much kinder, and seemingly smarter in the comics. Peter would obviously be the best person to protect your daughter… except he fails at it. Too soon?
5. Eddie Brock
Ok so nothing went right in Spider-Man 3. Emo Spidey was awful, New Goblin was annoying, Sandman was stupid, but it was Topher Grace’s Eddie Brock that “stole the show” in terms of horrible. Who casted him as Venom? Like did they really have no better options? Brock is a dark investigative reporter who gets fired after Spider-Man proves that one his stories was incorrect. Grace played him as a cocky little D-bag who couldn’t take a punch. Also, character design is important, and Brock is a big, intimidating guy. Topher Grace is best known for playing a stoner nerd. Not exactly someone who makes us quake in our boots. Everyone in that movie should make this list, as it really was that bad, but between the awkward origin twist and ignoring the character material writers had to work with, Eddie is the worst.
It took two tries until finally someone got a correct rendition of Catwoman, and that one was just ok. In Batman Returns and Catwoman, I’m not sure if the writers really knew anything about the character other than “cat” and “woman.” We definitely were aware that she was a woman considering the outfits that they wore, and that for some reason they were oddly obsessed with cats. Catwoman was by far more egregious as they didn’t even try to tell the story of Selina Kyle, but Batman Returns did. While Catwoman normally is a woman who has really great abilities as a cat burglar (not someone who steals cats), both movies decided not to really use that character trait and instead opt for a woman who just really likes cats.
Just… no. No. No. NO! I understand how Marvel was unable to transition the Mandarin to the big screen. The alien rings are hard to explain in the short time the movie allows and magic hasn’t even been introduced yet, so why even use the name at all? The entire movie would have received more praise from comic book fans if they just had called the terrorist leader Frank, or something better than that. We know they put out that one-shot that had the “real” Mandarin contact Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery, but if they attempt to include another version of the Mandarin in any future movies, it will be extremely confusing, mucking up a continuity that is already just all over the place. The Mandarin is a very interesting villain, and it would be nice to see a good version of the character at some point, but sadly we don’t believe that will happen.
2. Green Arrow
Oliver Queen is pretty badass. He’s an A-level fighter, a great detective, plus he’s got that whole bow and arrow thing going which is pretty cool. Since Arrow hit the air, Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, has become one of the most popular heroes. The problem is Arrow is not about The Green Arrow, or not the Green Arrow from the books. Oliver in the show follows much of Batman’s characterizations and even follows entire story arcs normally associated with the Bat. Oliver Queen isn’t normally super broody, unable to be honest with his friends, and incapable of laughter. In fact Olly is normally the comic relief. Arrow is a good show that has opened up to a huge audience and has stayed at the top of the charts throughout the run, but the character is being made incorrectly. Not like the creators care, they’re doing so well and Arrow looks to stay on the air for years to come.
Oh god where do we start? This is more than the worst rendition of a comic book character, this might be the worst rendition of any character ever. First they sewed Deadpool’s mouth shut… The Merc with the Mouth; they took his nickname away! X-Men Origins: Wolverine disappointed on so many levels, it’s surprising that Wolverine was even able to keep the franchise going after this debacle. It’s even more shocking that Deadpool was able to get a movie. This role has been the Internet’s punching bag for the past few years, and rightfully so. Rumors say that Reynolds was blackmailed into the role, and it was meant to be more Deadpool-like in earlier scripts. Whatever happened should have been scrapped and never shown to the public, not forced into a wannabe blockbuster.