Before the internet was really a thing, before sites like this one existed, if you were a geek there was one place to get all your comic book (and eventually comic book movie) news: Wizard Magazine. Published for the twenty years between 1991-2011, Wizard was the place to find news, read interviews with your comic book creators, and get the scoop on all the new series months before they came out. In their 1990’s heyday, Wizard helped make superstars out of the likes of Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Alex Ross and Joe Quesada, and later on, creators like Michael Turner and David Finch. More than anything else, it was the internet that eventually killed Wizard, who couldn’t compete with the instant 24 hour news machine, one that also happened to be free and not $5.99 a pop.
But I still cherish many of my old copies of Wizard, and recently found a large stash of them while cleaning out my closet. One issue among them, the Wizard Movie Special from Spring 2005 really caught my attention, and one article in particular: 55 Comic Book Movie Things We Can’t Wait To See. To put things in perspective a bit, in 2005 we were still in the early years of the modern comic movie boom, which (in my opinion anyway) started with the 2000 release of Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie. (Editor’s note: Brian Walton would say it started with 1998’s Blade.)
By ’05, we’d had some major comic book movie hits already – there was Bryan Singer’s two X-Men movies of course, Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films, Hellboy, Hulk, Daredevil, and one or two others. Some of these were mega successful, some less so. Batman and Superman were mere months away from their return to movie theaters. As fans, we were all waiting for this bubble to burst. And there were so many things we had yet to see, many that seemed like pipe dreams.
In reading “55 Comic Book Things We Can’t Wait To See” nine years later (which was credited as “Wizard staff” and that’s it) it’s amazing to see we’ve had some 90% of the things on this wish list actually come to be in the near decade since it was written. Some turned out just as we’d hoped, others…well, not so much.
For the next week, we are going to be going over all fifty-five items on Wizard’s list, and seeing if nine years on we ended up getting exactly what we asked for, or if we now regret asking for them in the first place. So let’s get started, shall we?
#1. “It’s Clobberin Time!”
What Wizard Said: “Insiders reveal that the Thing’s famous battle cry will be heard at least twice during the movie; don’t worry, when the final battle rolls around look for actor Michael Chiklis to let loose as he gets ready to pound the metal outta Dr. Doom!”
Did It Happen? Yes, Ben Grimm yells his famous Stan Lee created battle cry in 2005’s Fantastic Four movie.
Was It Satisfying? Well, depends on how you look at it. Regardless of how one feels about the Fantastic Four movies (and let’s be honest, no one really loves them…you either hate them or are “meh” about them) Michael Chiklis was the perfectly cast Benjamin J. Grimm. Unfortunately, because they decided to go with a prosthetic appliance and not CGI, as the Thing he’s never terribly threatening nor terribly cool.
#2. The Return of Batman
What Wizard Said: “It’s been eight years since the cape and cowl last flashed onto the silver screen — and the anticipation is killing us! The trailers have looked amazing and Christian Bale’s first appearance in costume is sure to inspire spontaneous ovations in theaters everywhere!”
Did We Get It?: Yup. Batman Begins came out in 2005, a few months after this issue came out.
Was It Satisfying? A resounding HELL YEAH it was. It’s easy to forget now, nine years later, but before Nolan’s Batman Begins, the Batman franchise was dead as a door nail thanks to 1997’s Batman & Robin. Nolan revived the Dark Knight in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible in the decades previous, and gave fans of the comic books finally something that resembled the books they had read for years. When Christian Bale finally appears (almost an hour in) as Batman, while I’m not sure there were any ovations, many many fanboys whispered “Finally. They got it.”
#3. Superman Flies Again… For the First Time
What Wizard Said: “It’s been 15 years since we last saw Superman soar on the big screen, and with new digital and wiring effects, we can’t wait to see new Superman Brandon Routh take to the skies for the first time”
Did We Get It? Sort of. In Superman Returns, we see Superman’s first time flying as a boy in Smallville. We definitly got it in Man of Steel.
Was it Satisfying? Regardless of what you might think of Bryan Singer’s movie, that sequence was pulled off rather nicely. However, Man of Steel’s version of Kal-El’s first flight is way cooler, so one way or another, we got a cool version of Superman’s first time taking to the sky. I mean… just watch that baby’s reaction below to watching Superman take to the sky for the first time and tell me that Superman can’t induce awe anymore.
What Wizard Said: “Nothing would sell fans on a new X-Men movie like the government run, mutant hunting, mammoth robot Sentinels. These 60 foot giants are one of the few key X-Men visuals we haven’t seen yet.”
Did We Get It? Yes, but it took nine years, in this summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. (The Danger Room holographic Sentinel in X-Men: The Last Stand that we only saw from far away does not count.)
Was It Satisfying: I’m gonna say yes – we got to see old school Sentinels in their giant purple glory, and future Nimrod-style versions totally slaughtering the future X-Men.
#5. A Joss Whedon Superhero Movie
What Wizard Said: “The Buffy creator proved that he could rock the comic world with his stellar run on Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men, and now we can’t wait for the day when Whedon gets a shot at helming his own comic book movie epic.”
Did We Get It? Two words for ya: The Avengers.
Was It Satisfying? The Avengers was the comic book superhero movie many of us geeks dreamed of seeing one day, but thought could never happen. Joss Whedon did’t just make “a comic book movie epic,” he arguably made THE comic book movie epic. It might have taken seven years to happen from when that Wizard article was written, but it was sure worth the wait.
What Wizard Said: “It’s hard to imagine the hotheaded Johnny Storm bursting into flames and jetting into action without delivering his trademark catchphrase.”
Did We Get It? Yes, the Human Torch says “Flame On!” in the Fantastic Four movies.
Was It Satisfying? Just like Michael Chiklis as the Thing, Chris Evans was the perfect Johnny Storm in a far from perfect Fantastic Four movie. After owning the part of Steve Rogers in three separate turns as Captain America, it’s easy to forget how Evans just nailed Johnny Storm, but he did… catchphrase and all.
#7. Spider-Man’s Black Costume/Venom Saga
What Wizard Said: “Sam Raimi already made Doctor Octopus — a fat guy with a bowl cut and four extra arms — one of the coolest movie villains ever seen; imagine what he’ll do with Venom, who just oozes cool? We’re oozing just thinking about it.” (Ew.)
Did We Get It? Yeah… pretty much, in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3.
Was It Satisfying? Not to anyone on the planet. Sam Raimi had zero affinity for the character of Venom, having grown up with the sixties version of Spidey and not the eighties one, where Venom was so prominant, and only used him due to studio pressure. It’s fair to say that he half-assed the whole Venom/Black Costume saga. Instead of making Peter Parker darker and more violent, the black symbiote costume just made him want to dance for some reason. By the time the black costume finds Topher Grace and bonds with him to become Venom, we as the audience have checked out.
What Wizard Said: “Johnny Blaze breaks into a cold sweat. He kneels over as he realized there is evil nearby. Suddenly he screams as his body erupts in Hellfire, melting the flesh from his bones revealing the demon trapped inside him — The Ghost Rider!”
Did We Get It: I mean… I guess I’d have to say “yes,” although nothing as cool as the above description ever happened.
Was it Satisfying: Nicolas. Cage.
#9. Green Lantern Oath
What Wizard Said: “We can’t wait to see how Green Lantern’s Oath is played in a possible future film. Will it get treated with dignity and solemnity, or will it be a cheesy groan inducing eye-roller?”
Did We Get It? Yes, Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan gave us the Green Lantern oath in 2011’s Green Lantern movie.
Was It Satisfying? You know, the Green Lantern movie was, ultimately, mostly a “cheesy, groan inducing eye roller” but the moment where Hal actually takes the oath for the first time was nicely played, and ultimately not cheesy at all. It just so happens it’s in the movie that it’s in.
#10: 100 Bullets on HBO.
What Wizard Said: “Hyper-violent with a crime, noir seedy feel, 100 Bullets could be the next Sunday night must-see on HBO, in the vein of their line-up of gritty dramas like The Wire, Deadwood, and The Sopranos.”
Did We Get It? Nope. HBO ended up eventually embracing geek culture, but with vampires (True Blood) and dragons (Game of Thrones) instead. This 100 Bullets idea still seems like a no brainer though. Someone call AMC.
What Wizard Said: “The new direct-to-DVD opens up a whole new event for Avengers fans, and will be grittier than previous Marvel animated shows like X-Men: Evoloution.”
Did We Get It? Yes, the Ultimate Avengers DVD came out in 2006.
Was It Satisfying? I watched it, but barely remember it, so I’d say that’s a big fat no. DC’s direct-to-DVD animated movies have always been better than Marvel’s, and this is no exception. We eventually got a much better Ultimates movie though, but it was live-action and it was called The Avengers.
Come back tomorrow, for items 12-22 in 55 Things We Can’t Wait To See In Comic Book Movies- Revisited, and sound off on your thought’s about this installment in the comments below.