What if all movies were superhero movies? It might happen one day. Along with animated kiddie films, they’re the only genre that reliably overpowers the box office these days. (Unless they’re the instantly forgotten super-catastrophe that was “Fantastic Four.”) Luckily, we have decades upon decades of comics — and decades upon decades of superheroes — to draw on. Here are 10 that deserve their own stand-alone romp — and not just those that are already part of an ongoing Cinematic Universe.
Fans have been clamoring for years for a movie entirely about Scarlett Johansson’s Russian-born ass-kicker — and regular movie-stealer — but so far to no avail. Maybe if MRA bros flock to “Wonder Woman” this summer, it’ll actually happen. (Though the quick death of “Ghost in the Shell” has probably put a damper on ScarJo’s ability to open a movie huge, despite her attempts to distract us from it.)
He’s the Avenger no one cares about — the dude who can just shoot arrows real good. But give the guy a chance! And no matter how silly Jeremy Renner can seem in real life (check out his weirdo app) and no matter how many franchises he fails to usurp, he’s a terrific actor who may one day find the right blockbuster to helm.
Technically, the DC plant-humanoid has already had two movies, one helmed by Wes Craven (and a campy sequel that became a cable movie staple back in the days when no one cared about comic book movies). But SW is a fascinating character, especially during Alan Moore’s career-making run of the comics back in the early ’80s, when he battled monsters from hell, went to space, hung out with Constantine and wrestled with existential dread.
Ayn Rand isn’t as cool as she was about 10 years ago, and for that we can all thank the stars. But maybe the studios can do something with comics’ most Randian semi-hero. Created by Objectivism-lover Steve Ditko in the late ’60s, Question was an investigative journalist-turned-crime fighter with a blank mask who saw things in stark black and white. He was basically a psychopath, but, you know, for good. No surprise that he was the inspiration for Rorschach in Alan Moore’s “Watchmen.”
She’s going to swing by for the “Deadpool” sequel, but the X-Force member sounds awesome on her own. She’s a mutant who can change the probability of events happening. OK, that doesn’t sound exciting on its face, but when combined with her mercenary skills — and cool makeup, with a big black circle over her left eye — she’s like another Black Widow.
We desperately want to see more female superheroes. Plus, we also like squirrels. Hence, our inclusion of Squirrel Girl — a ’90s Marvel staple whose adventures are more light-hearted than anguished. And yes, she has a giant squirrel tail and can talk to the animals.
“The Lego Batman Movie” made a decent joke out of unearthing untold obscure, nonsensical yet totally real villains, like Condiment King, who pulverizes his prey with squirts of ketchup and mustard. But heroes can be ridic, too. Take Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, an ’80s DC creation who can tear off his arms and then beat people with them. Granted, this might be more suitable for a comedy. (Imagine Dax Sheppard doing it.) But a guy who can beat people with his own limbs does sound pretty badass.
Shadu the Shady
Another weirdo Marvel title, “Shadu the Shady” sounds like a character birthed in the ‘60s, around the time of fellow dimension-traveler Doctor Strange. As it happens, his first appearance was in 2007. An old-school mystic, he poses as a standard conjurer, but his tricks were real and he could journey to mystical lands.
The still nascent DC Cinematic Universe could use some funning up. So why not include Animal Man, a ’60s dude who, like Squirrel Girl, can talk to (and also run and fight with) the animals? He can do more than that. He can actually borrow animals' abilities. If he wants to fly, he just swipes a move from birds. If he wants to run fast, he nicks from a cheetah. If he wants to eat some ants, he goes full ant-eater. (OK, maybe not that.) This would be a clever, shape-shifting, weird movie.
We’re kind of amazed Deadman hasn’t been revived. Birthed in the strange ’60s at DC, he’s a bald, pale-white ghost in a ludicrous red get-up who was murdered during a trapeze act. A Hindu god grants him the power to possess any living being, which he uses to help him avenge his own death. We’d cast Jason Statham.