The Golden Age of comic book movie flops: Part Two
The continuation of my three part series on the worst portrayal of comic book characters on the big screen.
Topher Grace as Eddie Brock turning into Venom
Topher Grace – Eddie Brock / Venom
Topher Grace is best known for his stoner character, Eric Forman, on That 70’s Show. So naturally when Spider-Man execs thought of Venom as the next great villain for the franchise, they turned to the scrawny misfit as their guy.
Venom is an amazing villain and deserved to be portrayed by an amazing actor who fits the part. Venom came about by means of a Symbiote that Spider-Man brought to earth. First the Symbiote bonded with Spider-Man, but Spider-Man rejected it. The Symbiote hated Spider-Man and bonded with Eddie Brock to create Venom for the sole purpose of destroying Spider-Man. While this plot line was similar to the movie, Eddie Brock himself was a disaster. Grace’s take on Eddie Brock / Venom was lackluster at best. Created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, Eddie Brock is a large guy – much larger than Topher Grace could ever be. My opinion is that Dominic Purcell would have been much better suited to play the role.
Venom in itself was done on a somewhat acceptable level, meaning it could always have been done better. What was frustrating about the Venom character is that if they were going to include him in a movie, he should have been the only villain. Venom is too large of a force to have to share screen space with two other villains (Sandman and Harry Osborne). Eddie Brock came out of nowhere, played by a completely miscast actor, and suddenly is this massive villain that is destroyed in the end. Instead, they should have cast Eddie Brock better and introduced him in Spider-Man 2, only to have him become Venom (and the only villain) in Spider-Man 3. Then they would have had my attention.
Seth Rogen – Brett Reid / The Green Hornet
Boy oh boy, where to begin? First of all, stoner and self-important Seth Rogen doesn’t belong anywhere near a superhero film. I found it downright offensive that he played this character. While The Green Hornet was never one of the truly great comics, making a major motion picture was an incredible opportunity to reboot the series and create a phenomenal franchise. Somehow, Rogen ended up making it far worse than ever before.
Seth Rogan as Brett Reid
Simply put, Seth Rogen is not a good actor. Every character he plays is identical to the one before it. This is because plays himself onscreen. As one of the co-writers of The Green Hornet, naturally he would snag the lead role for himself. With Rogen at the helm on both writing and acting, it was sure to be a disaster. Brett Reid was always a serious character, a personality that Rogen apparently didn’t agree with. He played Brett Reid as a party boy with nothing better to do than order Kato around to fight crime. His cheeky portrayal of Reid was awful. There was no need to change Brett Reid's personality. Imagine if Batman was suddenly done as a comedy. Reinventing a character is not the way to win over an audience. Turns out, Seth Rogen’s joke was on us all along.
Eric Bana & Edward Norton – Bruce Banner / The Hulk
I often wonder how angry the Hulk is at the terrible way his human counterpart has been portrayed on screen. Everyone has their own opinions as to who was the best and who was the worst. In my opinion, Eric Bana and Edward Norton were the worst.
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk
In all fairness to the actors, Bruce Banner is a difficult role to take on. Love him or hate him, Bill Bixby defined the role in the television series. Mark Ruffalo also brought a much better version of Bruce to the big screen in The Avengers. In comparison, Bana and Norton just don’t hold up. Banner’s character is troublesome enough to accurately capture – a tortured soul and reclusive scientist who avoids human contact because of “the other guy”. This Jekyll and Hyde character can be difficult to nail down, but Bana and Norton were downright bad. Neither one really fit the part, never really seemed like they were one with Banner. Bana’s acting was more like a soap opera than anything. Norton just seemed whiny at times. The writing and plot may have made their performances seem worse than they were, but overall they are two people I would never like to see tied to a comic book movie ever again.