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Alternate Takes 02.22.14: Comic Book Movie Changes
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 02.22.2014

Welcome to Week 289 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

This week's Alternate Takes will look at something a little different than just a popular (or even little known) comic book movie. The entire casting of The Fantastic Four reboot has me annoyed and I will use that to create this week's topic.

For those who haven't heard yet here is the cast of The Fantastic Four:

Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) is Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic
Kate Mara is Sue Storm / The Invisible Woman
Michael B. Jordan is Johnny Storm / The Human Torch
Jamie Bell is Ben Grimm / The Thing

I think they just cast Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm to provide a WTF moment and get people to quit complaining about Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm, thereby eliminating the blood relationship between Johnny and Sue. While I am a person who supports creators rights, comic book creators really have no rights and Hollywood will always change what the creators intended whenever they feel it will help publicity of their film.

That is what this week's Alternate Takes will be about 5 actual Alternate Takes of characters from comics to the big screen. But, before I do I want to just post this photo:

Ben Grimm was a muscular jock and protected the brainy Reed Richards while they were in school. I don't care how much Jamie Bell bulks up or works out, he is not Ben Grimm in either the Marvel Universe or the Ultimate Universe.

As for Miles Teller, he is a perfect choice for The Fantastic Four movie if it is based on the Ultimate world. I can't wait to see him and honestly if you get past the changing of their origin, Jordan will be great as Johnny Storm as well. Now, if Doctor Doom is a female, I will throw my hands up in the air and give up. Remember, Fox also made Elektra.

With that said, here are five Alternate Takes in the movie world where characters were changed for the better and the worse.

There are spoilers for Constantine, Batman Returns, Iron Man 3, Daredevil and X-Men Origins: Wolverine below. If you haven't seen one of these movies, be warned. There are giant photos above each section so you can skip the one you haven't seen yet if this bothers you.

Constantine in Constantine

For people who don't know anything about Constantine from the comics, the argument against casting Keanu Reeves as John Constantine is as silly as the argument in casting Daniel Craig as James Bond. From the looks, it was just about casting a dark haired American actor to play a blonde British character. However, the fact is that Keanu Reeves was born in Lebanon, but his mother was English and his dad Hawaiian. So, he does have English in his blood.

Now, that did not stop people from complaining when the surfer actor was cast as the Englishman John Constantine. In the comics, Constantine was a working class magician and occult detective con-man. He is a cynic and chain smoker. He is also one of the biggest assholes on comics. Keanu Reeves brought in a little less of the English asshole attitude from the comics but never really swayed from it too much.

I'll be honest I don't think it was too much of a switch from the comic character to Keanu Reeves' performance and thought the movie was quite well done and entertaining.

Catwoman in Batman Returns

When looking at the various women who played Catwoman, the one that ranks high on almost everyone's list is Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns. It might be her skintight cat suit and the pleasant memories of people who were teenagers when the movie first came out. I will admit that Pfeiffer turned in a great performance as Catwoman, but the fact is that Tim Burton completely changed the character and the only thing that made this character Catwoman was the costume and name.

In the comics, Catwoman was a cat burglar, which explained her name. In the Golden and Silver age, she was a burglar and jewel thief and in the modern day she was a former prostitute who chose to give up that life and became a successful burglar to make ends meet. That is pretty much how we see the character in Dark Knight Rises, which was a very loyal adaptation of the character.

In Batman Returns, Selina Kyle was a mousy secretary whose boss, Max Shrek, throws her out a window, murdering her. Cats bring her back to life and she becomes a sexy dominatrix character who decides to do what she can to get revenge against Shrek. She does do some burglary, but that is not who the character in the movie was. This character was just a new creation called Catwoman. If you want worse, check out the Halle Berry movie, which was just excruciating.

Kingpin in Daredevil

Here is a change I really liked. In the comic books, Kingpin is a large fat white bald man whose body is actually pretty impervious to pain. He started life as a poor child in New York City who was often bullied because he was fat. He used the bullying to start working out and then created his own gang when he intimidated other kids in the area. A crime lord discovered him and he was brought on to be his bodyguard until Kingpin killed the man and took over his criminal empire.

In the movie, it was no longer a big fat white man but was instead Michael Clarke Duncan, a large muscular African American actor. While there are a lot of fan problems with Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm, I thought this change was very well done. In Daredevil, Wilson Fisk was an enforcer for a crime boss and was the man hired to kill Daredevil's dad. Years later, he became a crime lord and Daredevil wanted revenge for his father's death. It was a change in their relationship that never existed in the comics but worked well in the movie.

The Mandarin in Iron Man 3

This is the change that really made people mad last year, but in my opinion it was the best move Marvel could make.

Of course, in the comics, Mandarin was a genius scientist and martial artist who developed 10 power rings from alien technology. Each ring has a different power and he wears a different ring on each finger. He is also one of the most offensive stereotypical characters in the Marvel Universe, a mix between a Chinese mystical figure and Genghis Khan. Honestly, if he had been shown in the movie the way he was depicted in the comics, there would have been a lot more protests than the ones by fans who wanted to see the real Mandarin in the Marvel movie.

In the movie, the first thing that Shane Black did was get rid of the alien technology, which had no place in the world of Iron Man movies. Yes, Iron Man fought aliens in The Avengers, but his solo series is about technological weapons and that is what is needed to remain. Instead, the Mandarin was a terrorist that was almost a duplicate of Bane in Dark Knight Rises. While Ben Kingsley was awesome in the role, I was really happy when I saw that he was just an actor playing the role of the evil Mandarin as a front for the Extremis terrorists.

Ben Kingsley just sold that transformation and twist perfectly.

Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Now, let's finish off with the worst change in the history of comic book movies.

In the comic books, Deadpool is one of the most popular characters in all of comic books. He is called the Merc with a Mouth, which is pretty much because he is an assassin with a penchant for wisecracks. He started off as a villain but became pretty much an anti-hero. His biggest trait is also his propensity to talk to the audience, breaking the fourth wall. It is his arrogance and sarcasm that made him a perfectly popular superhero.

That made Ryan Reynolds in my mind the perfect person to play the character. And, honestly, at the start he was on his way to becoming a great Deadpool when he was part of the black ops team. But then they decided to start killing people and instead of killing Deadpool, they had him captured and turned into Weapon XI, a mutant given the powers of many other mutants. Then they did the inexplicable they took away his mouth.

The Merc with a Mouth was made into a different character without a mouth? When comic book movies change characters color or their back history, just remember Deadpool and know it could always be worse. Much, much worse.


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