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Five underrated superheroes who deserve a movie franchise

Updated on July 10, 2012

Are you nuts! Can you name this superhero?

It's Squirrel Girl. Don't expect to see a Squirrel Girl movie anytime soon.
It's Squirrel Girl. Don't expect to see a Squirrel Girl movie anytime soon.

In the eclectic superhero universe, Batman, Superman, Spiderman and the X-Men (I'm counting all of them as a collective) are the kings of the kingdom. The undisputed champions of fan boys and billion-dollar movie franchises. While the spotlight shines brightest on these guys, there are hundreds of other costumed crusaders who range from the wildly popular Incredible Hulk to the completely obscure Squirrel Girl, who has a squirrel tail and squirrel teeth and can control squirrels by talking to them. And she carries nuts in her utility belt (I did not make her up).

In between the big green brute and the silly Squirrel Girl are a few superheroes who, for some reason, have been ignored by the film industry. But thanks to the advancements in digital, 3-D and CGI technology, there are a lot of potential for these five second-tier go-gooders.

Aquaman trailer starring Vincent Chase, Entourage

Follow the adventures of Aquaman

Aquaman

The King of the Seven Seas, ruler of Atlantis can breathe underwater, swim at tremendous speeds and telepathically communicate with sea life. He's also much more than a fish out of water on land, Aquaman has superhuman strength, enhanced senses and nearly impenetrable skin. So why has this super double threat been kept in Davy Jones Locker?

Not sure, but something smells fishy. Is it just a lack of respect for the reluctant ruler of Atlantis? Consider this. Most superheroes, such as Batman and Spiderman, are largely responsible for keeping a single city safe. But, Aquaman is committed to protecting the entire globe as more than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water, potentially 90 percent at the rate of the melting polar ice caps. That’s a lot more fish to fry, so to speak, for Aquaman, who is one of the original members of DC comics Justice League.

While film studios have left Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman high and dry, he has played a prominent role in several recent television series.

In 2006, HBO’s Entourage featured a storyline where the lead character Vincent Chase, played by Adrian Grenier, starred in James Cameron’s Aquaman. The faux film also starred Mandy Moore as Aquagirl and James Woods as Black Manta. A.C. was also a recurring character on the Superman-based Smallville, which ran for 10-years on the WB and CW networks.

With the amazing things Cameron has done with films like Avatar, The Abyss and Terminator, he is the man who should helm the ship to bring a real-life Aquaman to the big screen. No other director could make a bigger splash and create a wave of excitement for the project, and considering Cameron's love of deep sea exploration it seems like a natural fit. So, the question is which studio wants to take a chance on landing a potential whale of a franchise?

Enjoy this Aquaman adventure

Follow the adventures of The Flash

The Flash

Think about this. Maybe there has been a Flash film but it was in the theaters so fast that we didn't notice it? Probably not, but it's still bewilders me that another prominent DC Comics superhero has not been featured in a film. Maybe he's just not flashy enough.

Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash, gained his super speed after a freak lightning bolt hit a nearby shelve in his science lab. After gaining his powers, The Flash was able to run at near light speeds, move so swiftly that he could pass through objects and create sonic booms with his fingertips. Flash’s origin story is based on the common theme of a murdered family member fuels his drive for justice.

The thought of a potential Flash movie has my heart pumping and mind racing at the possibilities, but potential projects have hit speed bumps and stalled. I think the biggest roadblock has been DC Comics focusing all it's attention to it's two biggest stars: Batman and Superman. The Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy has been a tremendous financial and critical success, while Warner Bros. Superman reboot Man of Steel has been slowed by efforts to ensure the quality of the project. The last thing DC Comics wants is another flop like the 2011 Green Lantern.

So, for sake of a great film, I hope the project won't get the green light until a great script and cast can be assembled. Until then, I'll just have cool my jets.

The Flash saves the day

Follow the adventures of Green Arrow

Green Arrow

Oliver Queen is a billionaire playboy and a high-powered executive for Queen Industries. But, he also lives a secret life as a modern day Robin Hood who fights crime and protects the little guy from greed and corruption. The archer uses trick arrows and various special functions, such as glue arrows, net explosives, time bomb, grappling, fire extinguishing, flash and tear gas arrows, as well as cryonic arrows.

A superhero who doesn't possess any superpowers and relies solely on his brains and high-tech gadgets. Sound familiar? Originally developed by DC Comics as an archery-themed analogue of Batman, Green Arrow's character's political views made Oliver Queen distinct from Bruce Wayne. Both are wealthy industrialists but differ on their path to becoming superheroes. Wayne was a member of the secret order League of Shadows, while Queen took a more primal route. A drunk Queen fell off his boat and washed up on an island, where he was forced to become a hunter to survive. He was finally able to escape after catching a group of drug dealers who were using the island for an illegal cartel.

While Green Arrow does not enjoy mainstream popularity, the archer did play a prominent role on Smallville, where Queen, played by Justin Hartley, was the leader of his version of the Justice League, which included the Blur (pre-Superman name Clark Kent embraced), Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg.

With the recent success of the Hunger Games, A Green Arrow movie could hit the bullseye for comic book fan boys who are looking for a new hero to emerge from the shadows. Just the thought of it has me quivering with excitement.

The real-life Wonder Twins, Donny and Marie

Wonder Twins

Wonder Twins powers activate!

Why is this dynamic pair often the target for ridicule and scorn? Is it their costumes and oddly weird resemblance to Donny and Marie? Could it be their unusual names: Zan and Jayna? Or could it be that these out of this world kids have a pet space monkey named Gleek?

The cause for the unpopularity of these two kids is two-fold.

  • 1.) They lack a cool and relatable origin story. The most popular superheroes are born from regular people who either thirst for justice after a traumatic experience in their lives, get bitten by radioactive spiders or suffer massive gamma radiation exposure, or are born with a genetic mutant gene. The Wonder Twins, however, are aliens from the planet of Exor. On their homeworld, the twins are among the hereditary protectors of their world. I think I have a better chance at someday gaining superpowers after being exposed to radiation than visiting Exor.
  • 2.) Their superpowers are a bit lame. Zan can transform into water at any state (solid, liquid and gas). He can become anything from a solid block of ice to atmospheric disturbances, such as blizzards, monsoons and a waterspout. Jayne can become any animal, from an ant to a whale. But, why she would become an ant boggles me because the villain could just squash her.

Despite these obstacles, I think there is potential here. Granted, the bar would be set low and a realistic goal would be for the film to make a profit and not flop. It would need to be geared toward a younger audience but still have enough that would interest adults who are nostalgic about the Super Friends.

Still have doubts? Ask yourself, could it be any worse than Ghost Rider, Green Lantern, Daredevil or even Howard the Duck?

Enjoy this classic Super Friends episode, featuring the Wonder Twins

Mighty Mouse

This pint-sized powerhouse first flew onto the scene in 1942 under his original name Super Mouse. It was changed to Mighty Mouse in a 1944 cartoon. Interestingly, the character was first conceived as a super-powered housefly named Super Fly. Smart move changing the name.

The opera singing mouse, famous for belting out “Here I come to save the day!,” was first drawn with a blue costume with red trunks and a red cape,and was seen as a parody of Superman. But, later the little guy switched to a yellow and red ensemble. Along with the Man of Steel’s flair for style, Mighty Mouse shared his super powers of flight, super strength and invulnerability, except Mighty Mouse's Kryptonite is Limburger cheese. Mine too, by the way.

So how does a rodent become a superhero? Well, there are two origins to his power. In the 1942 cartoon “Mouse of Tomorrow” he is just an ordinary mouse who gets his abilities from eating foods at a supermarket. And in 1943, in “Pandora’s Box” he takes vitamins A,B,C,D,E and XYZ to become Mighty Mouse. Either way, both gave our mothers an excuse to make us eat our vegetables. "Don't you want to grow up big and strong like Mighty Mouse?"

Why hasn't Pixar jumped all over this? Please come and save our day and give us a Mighty Mouse film. I would even gladly settle for Underdog or Hong Kong Phooey.

Enjoy this classic Mighty Mouse adventure

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