Comic book movies! Yay being a geek!
I'm responding to one of Larkin's posts (at malarkey19.blogspot.com) and I figured since it was getting to be a long post, I might as well just do it up here. He wrote about Superman Returns, and said that Luthor is "Superman's only true arch-nemesis." Well, this is true, but Superman does have a long list of impressive foes -- I compared it to saying that Batman's only 'true' arch-nemesis is the Joker. So I named off a few, only to be reminded that only comic aficionados have heard of people like Metallo, the Cyborg, Parasite, etc.
I just realized the preceding paragraph sounded incredibly nerdy, but bear with me. Like a farmer during the harvest, I'm plowing through.
Perhaps Batman was a bad example, since he has the best rogues gallery of anyone (and the most well-known, because of the 60's show). But really, no other superhero has more than 1-2 really memorable foes.
Superman: Luthor, and I'd say Brainiac too because he has been a mainstay of the cartoons and on Smallville.
Spider-Man: Green Goblin, Venom, Doc Ock....then there's a dropoff to people like Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, etc. Spidey has the second-best rogues gallery of anyone.
Fantastic Four: Dr. Doom
Captain America: Red Skull
Hulk: Not anyone, really. Hulk was his own worst enemy, essentially.
The X-Men: Magneto and Juggernaut
You'll note that these are almost all Marvel characters, since DC villains generally aren't well-known at all. For example, name one of Wonder Woman's greatest foes.....see? And she's easily one of the five most iconic heroes of them all. This is another reason why Batman's villains stand out; he's the only one who has several in the DC Universe.
My point was that though each hero has the one or two 'arch' enemies, there are more than enough great, if lesser-known, villains to build a movie around. Look at Batman Begins as an example. Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul made great enemies, and they aren't well-known to people other than comic readers. I'm really interested to see what Christopher Nolan can do with Joker in the next Batman movie, but I'd be more interested, in a way, if he took a B-list villain like Mad Hatter and reinvented him. One rumour I heard is that Joker will be accompanied by Harley Quinn in the next movie, so that'll be an interesting new characterization.
Oh, I also saw Superman Returns, and it was generally ok but not great. Routh and Bosworth had no chemistry whatsoever, and they were both at least five years too young for the parts -- they were like high school kids in "Superman: The Play" rather than like the actual characters. Forget about living up to Reeve and Margot Kidder; they didn't even live up to Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher.
The funniest part of the movie was that Kal "Kumar" Penn was one of Luthor's henchmen. That was hilarious. Were Stifler and Ryan Reynolds not available?