Comic book movies have the great benefit of offering a wealth of material to draw upon. Many iconic comic book heroes have decades of backstory and characterization, so when a movie goes to adapt them, it shouldn’t be that hard to stay true to their character. Of course, filmmakers often want to make their own interpretation of these heroes and villains, implementing changes that go against the source material.
Comic book fans make up a fiercely loyal fanbase. When things work out, change can be tolerated, but when alterations to the canon fall flat, there’s often some well-earned vitriol.
We’re not just talking about some aesthetic changes that people don’t like; these are massive overhauls to backstory and personality. These characters are not only complete dismissals of their comic book selves but poorly constructed characters overall.
That said, staying true doesn’t always work either. Characters like Elektra and Venom were faithful to the comics but were still executed and acted horribly. These instances are a little more forgivable, however, because at least they’re representative of the character.
It’s one thing to ruin a character by just portraying them ineffectively, it’s another thing entirely to completely do away with all of things that made them special in the first place.
These are far from the worst comic book movie characters ever, but they are the worst adaptations…
1. Lex Luthor (Batman V Superman)
Given some time, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor may become more palatable, but at the moment, this horribly-executed villain is still freshly stinging.
Luthor is supposed to be an arrogant industrialist who, in his own twisted way, blames Superman for showing him the limits of his own humanity. This is the Lex Luthor that has become one of the most notable villains in all of comics, but apparently this characterization was unsatisfactory for Batman V Superman.
Luthor was re-imaged as some sort of millennial prodigy, and this updated take on the character was neither welcome nor necessary. He was a scatterbrained atheist whose delivery was manic and plans were nonsensical. Nothing about how he acted, other than hating Superman, caused him to resemble the real Lex Luthor.
Perhaps the most superficial issue, but also the most unforgivable is that he doesn’t even remotely look like the character. Is it really so much to ask an actor to shave his head to play Lex Luthor? All it would have taken was a razor and a nicer suit and at least Eisenberg would have looked the part.