Every comic book enthusiast has their favorite character. When it comes to comics snagged for the big screen, nothing makes fans quite as happy as when a characters’ importance as portrayed in the comic universes is mirrored in the movie. Studios who nail the results are raking in the cash, especially now that countless DC and Marvel films are released every year.
The result? A lot of comic book characters are being given their 15 minutes of fame. Batman, Captain America, Iron Man—the movies produced for these classic characters have packed a punch at the box office. Even lesser-known superheroes like Starlord have been a hit.
Unfortunately, some superhero characters aren’t given their well-deserved due and are practically unidentifiable from their canon. And fans aren’t having it.
It could be a lack of canonical knowledge by the writers, creative liberties gone wrong, or less screen time than they deserve. Either way, it’s an issue that’s affected even the largest production companies. Here are the top 10 comic book characters that were poorly represented in the movies.
10 Maria Hill in Marvel’s “Avengers” Series
There are many errors in the “Avengers” movie series that twisted the logic of the original story. Some of these slips were relatively small while others will make you wonder if filmmakers paid any attention at all.
In the comics, Maria Hill is part of SHIELD’s top-ranking officers and a divisive director. She’s ambitious, motivated, and aggressive—always ready to do what it takes to take care of the world. This part of her personality often brought her into war with other heroes.
In the film, Hill acts as a second-in-command who blindly follows every command, practically manipulated by Fury. Marvel should have let her powerful personality shine, just like in the comics. Her role wasn’t as well embraced in the film as it deserved.
9 Mandarin in “Iron Man 3”
Many comic book fans hate Mandarin for his characterization not being anywhere close to the comic book character. We realize that Aldrich Killian is the movie’s archrival, as shown by Guy Pearce, but his status of being Iron Man’s main enemy wasn’t depicted in Iron Man 3.
Instead, the movie made him seem to be a different character—more like a confused drug addict and a mysterious terrorist, which may have been controversial. The Mandarin we now know is just a bland character represented by an unaware actor, while the guy behind the scenes is totally different.
8 Lex Luthor and Doomsday in “Dawn of Justice”
Many fans were unmoved by “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” The illogical plot and inconsistent characterization received a lot of criticism.
Typically, Lex Luthor is portrayed as a master manipulator with well-defined goals. Yet in the film, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex throws away a long-standing characterization. Even his head looked completely different from how he’s supposed to look, forgoing his traditional bad-guy baldness for long locks. The story was highly exaggerated and couldn’t even be compared to real life.
It’s pretty evident that Doomsday wasn’t well-placed in the film either. Why would Superman decide to fight in space? To spare human lives, of course. The worst part is when Doomsday falls from space and effortlessly lands in between two metropolises. Yeah, right.
7 Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil” and Jennifer Garner’s “Elektra”
We have to ask: did Ben Affleck have zero interest in playing Daredevil? Because he didn’t make much of an effort. Daredevil is the most basic and one-dimensional translation of Frank Miller’s lawyer-turned-blind-vigilante. So much wasted potential. In all honesty, the movie represented Matt Murdock’s character respectfully. But the movie was generally dull and unexciting.
And while Jennifer Garner is a good actress, many critics claim that Elektra’s material and direction were all over the place. Like Affleck, Jennifer was honest in press interviews, claiming that she thought the movie was bad. She also said that she only did it because of her contractual commitments to the franchise.
6 Bean in “Enders’ Game”
Originating from the Orson Scott Card book, Enders’ game was later translated into a comic book character in 2008. Bean was among the last of Ender’s friends at Battle School, helping Ender with the Dragon Army and a team member of Ender’s as they fought against the buggers. Unfortunately, he wasn’t well-developed in the movie, especially compared to the comic book character.
It’s clear from the canon that Bean was a factor in Ender’s victories as he ranked number two in Battle School. The two supported each other on several occasions. Besides that, the only students who got represented well in the movie were Petra Arkanian and Bonzo Madrid, making everyone else nothing more than a shadow as in the comics.
5 Halle Berry in “Catwoman”
Many actresses have done so well with Catwoman since the ’60s. In the original TV series of “Batman,” Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether played her role to pure purr-fection. But how about Halle Berry?
Even Halle Berry agreed with the general public when she showed up for her Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her “Catwoman” film. It was a bad performance, but not because Halle Berry didn’t take her role seriously. It was probably due to the poor characterization of Catwoman. Almost everything about her changed in the movie. Even her name, Selina Kyle, was changed to Patience Phillips in Berry’s version. Ultimately, she failed to depict the DC character in many ways.
4 Venom in “Spiderman 3”
After the first two successful movies in the trilogy contributed to creating superhero films as cinema essentials, “Spiderman 3” failed to live up to standards. It became more of a flopped attempt to give some characters an edge.
Journalist Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote, combine to become Venom, Spiderman’s greatest antagonist and arguably one of the most iconic comic villains. Eddie Brock is portrayed as a heavily built guy in the comic characters with a bad attitude, perfectly matching his personality.
Brock’s visual appearance on-screen hardly showcases the true comic book character. His metamorphosis is underdeveloped in the film, making his transformation into venom untrue to this character.
3 Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
In the initial parts of the movie, Ryan Reynolds took a role in “X-Men Origins” as Wolverine, well-played as depicted in the comic book character. His general demeanor was partly to the source material for a wise-cracking impolite assassin—a pretty good start.
Then in the final act, Deadpool’s personality and classic physique were changed to entirely something else. Deadpool is the Merc with the mouth (as he should) but, after he made his transformation, Deadpool was without a mouth.
His lips were practically melted shut. They also stole powers from Cyclops. He never had the mutant powers of teleportation and Cyclops’s eye beams that he later possessed in the film. His iconic traits from the comic book characters weren’t portrayed. Talk about straying from the canon.
2 Bane and Mr. Freeze in “Batman and Robin”
“Batman and Robin” is largely considered one of the worst comic book movies, and loads of its criticisms are well-earned. In the comics, Bane is supposed to be a genius tactician and an outstanding fighter, built with muscles. Big muscles.
The stories are about Bane overpowering Batman in all aspects—physically, mentally, and emotionally—with a well-executed plan to accomplish his goal. Yet in the movie, he looks like a big chubby guy with way too many painted-on veins. It’s safe to assume that the creators never read any of the comic book counterparts, or they just decided to create their own altogether. He ought to have matched the character of Batman both intellectually and physically.
This was close to a slap in the face of every fan of the comic book character. And, of course, we can’t forget about the hilarious Mr. Freeze. The original sub-zero scientist was a devious genius whose frozen bones were practically the secret to eternal youth. Portrayed in the film by Arnold Schwarzenegger, this laughable bank robber in a cryo-suit was a far cry from his memorable terminator-esque style.
1 Galactus and Doctor Doom in “Fantastic Four”
From the low-budget movie in 1994 to the 2015 “Fant4stic” disappointment, all its film adaptations have, in some way, altered the comic book characters. Through all four movies, even after Marvel sold its film rights to “The Fantastic Four,” none of them has yet managed to get the characters just right. The pacing, acting, the story, and the special effects have all been interfered with.
Doctor Doom was turned into a strange-looking creature that resembled Silver Surfer—with much less personality. He’s undoubtedly the character comic book fanatics love to hate. It would have been more interesting to watch what Doctor Doom would turn out to be if they hadn’t messed with his character.
When translating the Marvel characters who unleash a swirl of emotions on the screen, we can’t forget Galactus. His traditionally daunting appearance deserved more than just their derisory weak depiction of an enormous giant in purple armor. We have to wonder how no one caught that before the film finished. You’d have to know something was missing in your film if a cloud in space is your villain.