A case for Storm, The Invisibles, Luke Cage, and more…
The Green Lantern is out this week, and in the middle of a summer stocked with superhero movies, it seems to be the weakest. The special effects look iffy and the Green Lantern oath will never sound cool. But it's not good to point out a problem without suggesting a solution. With that in mind, here are five superheroes who deserve their own movie more than Green Lantern.
Halle Berry's performance as Ororo Monroe in the X-Men films was so bad I almost consider it a crime against humanity. But don't let that prejudice you against Storm, the most badass mutant of them all. (You heard me, Wolverine.) For one thing, her powers have incredible visual potential — just think about that cluster of tornadoes she unleashed in X2. And for another, her backstory is awesome. In the X-Men comics, she started life as a street-wise thief, became worshipped as a weather goddess, joined a team of superheroes, and then became the punked-out leader of a band of sewer mutants. There has got to be a movie in there somewhere.
2. Wonder Woman
This is a list of the female superheroes who have headlined their own films in the last two decades: Electra. (We try to ignore the existence of Catwoman whenever possible.) That is a truly shameful fact, especially when Hollywood keeps trying to make the Hulk happen. (It's not going to happen.) Wonder Woman is one of DC's big three, and she's been confined to a TV ghetto for too long considering how iconic she is. Yes, her backstory is a bit harder to sell than Batman's — she left her Amazon-ruled home island to help fight Hitler — but make her home island a little less flowery and a little more 300 and I think we're in business. And, while you're at it, keep David E. Kelley as far away from the project as possible.
3. The Flash
“But James,” I hear you saying, “Isn't this just a guy who… runs fast?” And to that I say: technically the name's been used by several people, but to address your main point, yeah, he doesn't have the coolest superpower ever. But limits can be a good thing, because if you use them in the right way they can force a surprising amount of creativity out of you. The appeal of the Flash is the challenge of the Flash — it will be harder to form a story around him and his ability to run at super-sonic speeds, and that will probably make it more interesting. Plus, everyone loves a hero who has a bit of a mouth on him, and the Flash can give screenwriters a chance to flex their sarcasm muscles.
4. Luke Cage
Superhero period pieces are having a moment right now. We have the baby X-Men stopping the Cuban Missile Crisis and Captain America rushing off to the European front, so why not have Luke Cage, “hero for hire,” policing the streets of New York City in the '70s? Some aspects of Cage's history will have to be massaged, because in the beginning he was a pretty obvious and kind of embarrassing attempt to capitalize on the trend of blaxploitation, but that should be easily fixable. Cage, who was left with super-strength and an ability to heal quickly after going under an experimental medical procedure, works as something between a superhero and a private detective. The character provides a great opportunity for this genre to push itself into more noir territory.
5. The Invisibles
I'm going to state, flat out, that this superhero team will never see the big screen, unless it gets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen treatment and has all its rough edges shaved off. Because there are a lot of rough edges — one of the main characters is a Brazilian transsexual shaman, the group is fighting against psychic oppression by alien gods, and storylines feature everything from gang rape to AIDS vaccines. This is not exactly Thor territory, and I doubt a studio will be banking on this as a summer blockbuster. But if it were to be made, and to be made well, it would be the weirdest, most cracked-out, interesting superhero movie you'd ever see. Forget The Wolverine — Darren Aronofsky should be directing this.