What should be the next comic book movie?
Comic book films have gone from a quaint little source of summer entertainment to a billion-dollar machine that has dominated cinemas and box office records for much of the past five years. Industry giants Marvel and DC have shown no sign of letting up: between now and 2020, there are no fewer than 30 different superhero films in the works, including sequels for mega-franchises like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” and first-time forays for characters including Black Panther and Captain Marvel.
Still, there seem to be a few big names that are in dire need of their own films. Here are five superheroes who would transition beautifully from page to screen.
Commonly perceived as a gender-swapped version of Mark Ruffalo’s character from “Avengers,” She-Hulk is an incredibly interesting and complex character who would work perfectly as both a role model for young women and as a harbinger of justice in trying times. The character of Jennifer Walters isn’t merely a muscle-bound monster who can bend steel at will; she’s a highly intelligent attorney who works to right injustice from within the confines of the legal system. A Charles Soule-written relaunch in 2014 emphasized She-Hulk’s legal superpowers with whip-smart writing and compelling stories, and that same template would lend itself well to a unique feature film that is part-superhero spectacle, part-courtroom procedural.
Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel, will be hitting the big screen in July 2018 under her newly-earned mantle as “Captain Marvel.” Upon ascending to her new title, the Ms. Marvel role was taken up by Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Pakistani-American from New Jersey. With a beautifully prescient view of the world—both fictional and real—and cracking, clever dialogue provided by G. Willow Wilson, “Ms. Marvel” has stolen the hearts of readers and critics alike, resulting in the series’ first trade paperback earning the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Translating Kamala to the big screen would be a perfect means to capture the attention of a younger audience looking for a cool and transcendent heroine.
Despite being something of an also-ran in the greater context of the DC Universe, Buddy Baker (Animal Man’s alias) has been the beneficiary of two of the most significant comic books of the last thirty years. After toiling in obscurity for the first 15 years of his existence, Animal Man was handled by the deftest of hands the comic book industry has to offer: writer Grant Morrison. While Alan Moore was reinventing “Swamp Thing” and Neil Gaiman was breaking ground with “The Sandman,” Morrison created a legendary 26-issue run that is notable for its reliance on surrealism and emphasis on Baker’s life outside of the costume. Years later, “Sweet Tooth” scribe Jeff Lemire brought the character back to its Morrison-lain roots with an unnerving and visceral tale that is affecting on a number of levels. Either iteration would make a great contribution to the DC Films Universe.
Squirrel Girl may not be terribly familiar to most casual comic book fans, but diehard fans know her as one of the most powerful beings in all of the Marvel universe and recall fondly her legendary defeats of ultra-powered baddies such as Doctor Doom and Thanos. As her codename implies, Doreen Green has the unique talent of communicating with squirrels, as well as a prehensile squirrel tail of her own and incredible leaping abilities. Creator Will Murray has stated that he conceptualized Squirrel Girl as a means to break away from more serious comic book titles, and introducing an irreverent character like Green would continue Marvel’s trend of balancing dark with light.
Black Widow and Hawkeye
If you enjoyed the first two “Avenger” films, then you’re likely already well familiar with Black Widow and Hawkeye. In the case of the former, Scarlett Johansson’s assassin has also appeared in “Iron Man 2” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” meaning that she has featured prominently in four films without top-lining a film of her own. Renner’s Hawkeye could also use a vehicle of his own to capitalize on some of the charm that made Matt Fraction’s 2012 – 2015 run with the character so entertaining. In order for both to be seen as more viable members of the world’s favorite superhero squad, they both deserve their own films as soon as possible.
If there’s anything the last few years have taught us, it’s that there’s money to be made in making superhero films. Bearing that in mind, it’s entirely possible that we’ll see at least a few of these films made, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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