Inspired by Vertigo’s Hellblazer comics which chronicle the exploits of disgraced occult detective John Constantine, this is one of the more standout horror-superhero hybrids currently in existence. Some pretty mediocre CGI aside, the film is a superb noir-flavored supernatural adventure that showcases Keanu Reeves at his chain-smoking best. There’s also a sublime cameo by Peter Stormare as a barefoot Satan. What’s not to love?
If that’s not enough to sell you, it’s the only movie you’re ever likely to see where an exorcism effectively turns into a boxing match. Sure, it’s all very silly at the end of the day, but there isn’t a dull moment to be found here at all.
Don’t fret if you haven’t heard of this Sci-Fi Channel Original based on a pretty obscure Marvel monster. It was released to no fanfare and failed to give the titular swamp monster the screen treatment he deserved. Man-Thing isn’t one of Marvel’s flagship characters, but he’s always good for fun, spooky stories and he deserved better than this shoddy outing.
In the comics, the character is tragic and empathetic. In this adaptation, he’s portrayed more antagonistically. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing if the end product was a fun monster movie. Unfortunately, the film is a slog that botches a cool concept and subsequently disappeared into the ether of forgotten comic book movies.
Ghost Rider (2007)
It’s a crying shame that Ghost Rider isn’t one of the best comic book movie out there. It’s based on one of the coolest Marvel characters of all-time and stars Nicolas Cage as a motorcycle-riding demon with a flaming skull. I actually enjoy the movie as disposable fluff when I don’t want to watch anything too demanding, but it was a missed opportunity overall. The film’s biggest fault was the dry shoehorned romance that befell so many comic book movies in the 2000s. There also wasn’t enough demonic carnage on display. The film would have benefited from a director with more gung-ho sensibilities, but it wasn’t to be.
For the 2012 sequel-cum-reboot, Marvel was smart enough to hire a pair of madmen directors in the form of Neveldine/Taylor. Much to the film’s dismay, though, it was still restricted by a family-friendly rating. Of course, the movie does boast manic energy and Cage unleashes his inner demons full-force, which makes it feel like the cinematic equivalent of drinking Mountain Dew while listening to commercial thrash metal. I love the movie, but it would have been better without the studio’s handcuffs restricting the madness begging to get out.
When Sony announced plans to launch their own cinematic universe around Spider-Man villains, we laughed at the studio. Then Venom was released and went on to gross over $800 million worldwide. Suffice to say, Sony had the last laugh.
More importantly, though, Venom is a beautiful mess. In an age where superhero blockbusters are considered respectable cinema, Venom felt like a refreshingly trashy throwback to the hammy superhero joints of yesteryear. On one hand, it’s an action-horror hybrid; on the other, it’s a bromantic comedy about a man and his Symbiote friend. Tom Hardy dials the performance up so high that he wouldn’t be out of place in a slapstick comedy. All I can say is: bring on the sequel.
Related Topics: Blade, Brightburn, Constantine, Darkman, Doctor Mordrid, Ghost Rider, Glass, Hellboy, Horror, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, Spawn, Split, Superhero, Swamp Thing, The Batwoman, The Crow, The Toxic Avenger, Unbreakable, Venom