You get a comic book movie! And you get a comic book movie! Everyone gets a comic book movie! What a time to be alive. We’re spoilt for choice with the never-ending flood of comic book movies that we’ll have enough fuel for online fights for the next two decades.
However, there was a time when you had to search really hard for a CBM. It was a dark time, filled with many gems and many stinkers. Here are seven forgotten comic book movies from the past:
Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (1990)
As far as I’m concerned, Archie has always been about the adventures of a goofy, ginger teenager who competes for the affection of two girls and has loads of good times with his friends at Pop Tate’s. So whose bright idea was it to make the Riverdale gang middle-aged and dealing with life issues such as divorce and crushed dreams? Do studio execs wake up deciding to take a steamy dump all over our childhood?
Prince Valiant (1997)
Remember this film? Neither do I. Heck, I hardly even remember the storyline of the comic strip that appeared in The Sunday Times every weekend. I do recall swords and some pre-hipster haircuts, but that’s about it. Ron Perlman does appear in Prince Valiant, so it can’t be all that bad, right?
Richie Rich (1994)
Harvey Comics’ Richie Rich is a blander character than Casper. C’mon, some rich kid who’s got all the money in the world and no friends? Hello, Justin Bieber. The film’s cheerful and adventurous tone does hold an endearing quality that defines family films from the era, hitting you right in the feels. Also, it was Macaulay Culkin’s final film as a child star before he became Marilyn Manson.
Ah, the nineties. A time when CGI was used purely for the lols and scripts were nothing more than bullet points. Look, Spawn wasn’t the worst comic book film of all time, but it was a severe injustice to the hellish character created by Todd McFarlane. Although, I must admit that John Leguizamo’s over-the-top performance as Violator deserves some recognition for that cheerleader scene (ROFL emoji).
The Spirit (2008)
Now this was a strange film. Directed by Frank Miller in the same sort of style as Sin City, The Spirit was a messy, unfunny effort that deviated so far from the comics that I swore Joel Schumacher had a hand in it. The film did give Gabriel Macht his first major role, though, before he traded in the noir for Gucci in Suits. We all have skeletons in our closets, I guess…
The Rocketeer (1991)
Probably the best film on this list. The Rocketeer had everything you’d want from a comic book film: adventure, humour, great stunts and Jennifer Connelly. Sadly, the film flopped at the box office, so we never got to see a sequel. There have been talks of a dreaded reboot recently, so hold thumbs that Hollywood doesn’t stuff this one up.
Generation X (1996)
The first adaptation of the X-Men on the big screen came in the form of the made-for-TV film Generation X, which absolutely no one cared about. Featuring costumes more horrifying than a New Kids on the Block music video and enough head-scratching moments to rival Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Bland, this movie should be watched for nostalgia purposes only.