Thanks to a groundbreaking deal between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, we’re finally about to see Spider-Man rejoin his Marvel brethren Captain America and Iron Man as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But having sat through a disappointingly botched reboot, how best should everyone’s favorite web-slinger be used? Forget about another tired origin story; 50 years of Spider-Man comics have given filmmakers plenty of great stories should they choose to adapt them–stories like the ones we’re about to suggest.
Without further ado, then, here are Cult of Mac’s picks for the Spider-Man comic arcs we’d love to see spun up on the big screen. Swing out past the jump for more details:
Sony and Marvel have struck a deal, paving the way for everyone’s favorite sass-mouthed wall crawler, Spider-Man, to appear in films alongside Iron Man, Captain America and the Avengers.
Let’s rewind a bit. The year is 1996, and after overextending itself during the previous decade’s comics boom, Marvel Comics is broke. But along comes an Israeli toy designer named Avi Arad to save the company, who famously tells creditors not to give up on Marvel yet (“Spider-Man alone is worth a billion dollars,” Arad reportedly said at the time).
From the news that Sam Raimi is bringing a version of The Evil Dead to televisions everywhere next year (yes, it will star Bruce Campbell) to the arrival of shows like Hannibal, Fargo and From Dusk Til Dawn, movies-turned-TV shows are everywhere nowadays.
But while all four of those shows fill us with varying amounts of glee, there are still plenty of films that would work just as well — if not better — on the small screen. With that in mind, here is our guide to the top eight movies that would make fantastic TV shows.
Hollywood, you can thank us later!
Photo: Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead trilogy, New Line Cinema
Quentin Tarantino doesn’t just direct movies; he creates universes. Perfect, then, for one of his stories to be spun off as its own TV show -- with space to explore the various characters' backstories without having to worry about compressing them into movie length. To date, Kill Bill is the only two-part movie QT has directed, but it would work equally well as its own TV show.
There are plenty of possibilities for a plot -- ranging from retelling the Bride’s “roaring rampage of revenge” in more depth, to picking up the story years later with Kiddo's daughter. Perhaps the option that most appeals to me, though, is a flashback to the heyday of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (or DeVAS), with Bill acting as their mentor.
Imagine The A-Team written by the brains behind Pulp Fiction. Would you mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash that delicious thought down?
ID4 Independence Day
Independence Day is, for most fans, something of a guilty pleasure. But underneath the popcorn-crunching action and mass destruction is an intriguing concept: what would happen if giant spaceships the size of cities really did suddenly show up around the world?
A TV show could take its time exploring this event: from the different ways it was doubtless be spun by the media, to the response of different countries around the world. Season one could establish characters and end with the near-annihilation we’d all be expecting from the beginning. Season two could show how the world responds to the devastation. Color me intrigued.
Photo: 20th Century Fox
Zack Snyder did his utmost to adapt Alan Moore’s masterpiece graphic novel into a movie back in 2009. It worked okay, but the real problem was the sheer amount of backstory he had to compress into 162 minutes.
The result was a spectacular-looking mess, which disappointed fans of the comic, and confused everyone else. A 12-part miniseries would be a far better option — and one that would truly allow the director to fully explore the alternate history plotline that made Moore’s comic series feel so realistic.
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
The cautionary tale of two-bit thug Tony Montana’s rise from dishwasher to drug kingpin is a well known one. But think of the added depth that would be possible were the same world explored through a TV show. Not only could we explore more of Montana’s backstory and delve into his fractured family dynamics in more detail, the show could also tell the story of the supporting characters in Tony’s life.
Scarface hints at rival groups like the Diaz Brothers, but we never see or hear from them. Plus, how great would it be to find out more about Bolivian gangster Alejandro Sosa, Montana’s beleaguered bank manager, and the city’s police force as they fight corruption to build a case against Montana?
All of this alongside a rocking 1980s soundtrack. Seriously, could there be a better show?
Photo: Universal Pictures
As a massive comic book fan, to me no single run has ever matched Stan Lee’s first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man: a pitch-perfect superhero story set against a sprawling soap opera high school epic. While Batman and Superman are all about the heroes, Spider-Man is almost more fun when it’s just about Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, Flash Thompson and co.
Seeing as we’re in the middle of the second Spider-Man movie series in a decade, the chances of a TV do-over are slim to none. But it would be perfect if it ever happened. Like the X-Men, Spider-Man’s simply a character who works better in episodic adventures.
Photo: Columbia Pictures
Now don’t get me wrong: with the eight Harry Potter movies adding up around 20 hours of screen time, J.K. Rowling’s wizarding epic is pretty much a multi-season TV show in its own right. Minor quibbles aside, the movies were fantastic, too, so what could a TV show add? How about more concerning the "mundanities” of daily life at Hogwarts? The show could even be set in a pre- or post-Harry world, focused on a different group of students as they hone their craft.
Picture your favorite teen high school drama, and then add Quidditch. Showus Greenlighticus!
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Brick was the debut movie from Looper’s Rian Johnson. A hardboiled detective story set in a California high school, the movie was practically a cult classic the moment it arrived on screens. As great as the movie is, however, the conceit behind it could be stretched so much further in a series. The long-running Sin City comics demonstrate how much mileage there is in the various film noir archetypes. With the right plot and cast this could seriously be the next True Detective.
Photo: Focus Features
My first thought here was Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, but The Sopranos already did an untoppable TV take on the day-to-day life of the street level gangster. What better, then, than to retell the story of Casino, Scorsese’s 1995 follow-up detailing the true story of a top gambling handicapper recruited by the Italian Mob to oversee the day-to-day running of a Las Vegas casino.
Original author Nicholas Pileggi was great at great at pulling out the kind of juicy details that made it feel as though you were watching a documentary rather than a true crime movie. To be honest, even if you left out the gangster details (not that we’re advising that), a series about the behind-the-scenes workings of a top casino would be well worth a watch.
We just wonder if the producers could find anyone approaching a Joe Pesci in volatility?
Whether it’s reboots or prequels, over the past few years there’s been a renewed interest in superhero origin tales. No matter if it's Captain America being transformed from 90lb weakling Steve Rogers into an All-American super soldier, or Bruce Wayne travelling the globe honing the necessary skills to become Batman, these are often the most rewarding comic book stories out there — and the bevy of new superhero-themed TV shows is the perfect canvas on which to tell them.
Read on for our thoughts on the five shows which did the best job of telling us how our favorite heroes came to be — and the five origin stories we’re convinced would make for winning TV if they were given a shot.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television
5 that we like... Gotham
Okay, so we’re still at the beginning of this show, but all the pieces are in place for something great — even if they haven’t quite clicked yet. The Commissioner Gordon story was serviced well in Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but he’s an engaging character to follow, and aging him in his thirties rather than mid-forties, as Gary Oldman was in Batman Begins, changes the dynamic somewhat.
The comics have never really explored what Bruce Wayne did between his parents’ death and leaving Gotham City to begin his Batman training, so there’s plenty of ground to explore there also. Color me “cautiously optimistic” about Gotham.
If only someone would tell Jada Pinkett Smith she’s not auditioning for the 1966 Batman TV series.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television
Up until Gotham, Arrow seemed like it would be the Young Bruce Wayne show we’d never get to watch. Telling the story of an angry, young billionaire who returns home after a sizeable absence and wreaks revenge on the wealthy elite who have profited off everyone else’s misery, it was an origin we could get on board for.
Arrow was a good supporting character in Smallville, and he's proved a great leading one as well -- with a compelling origin, to boot.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
For years in the pages of DC, the status quo for Lois Lane and Clark Kent were the two coworkers who, even before their comic book wedding, essentially behaved like an old married couple: bickering with one another, finishing each other’s sentences, and generally acting like characters who had been stuck treading water for the past 50 years. Which is exactly what they were.
Lois and Clark shook up the dynamic by taking both characters back to basics and developing their relationship from the first meeting. Sure, not every aspect of the show has held up (the special effects look a bit ropey) but as a character study showing how both became the people we know them as today, it was perfect.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television
After Lois and Clark had finished, Smallville had a tough ask on its hands, being asked to retell the Superman origin yet again on primetime TV. Worse, the edict was that Clark wouldn’t be allowed in the Superman suit, which left us with a goodie two-shoes character growing up in a small American town given a name to imply that nothing of significance ever happens there.
The result? Ten years of consistently entertaining television, which managed to uncover new depths in an origin tale most of us felt we’d seen already by 1980. Storylines faltered a bit toward the end, but Smallville more than earns its place on this list. Oh, and Tom Welling was a better Clark Kent than either Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh or Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television
Like a day that starts off with the sun shining and a free ice cream, and ends with the death of everyone you care about, Heroes’ reputation suffers from the fact that its last three seasons were so darn poor. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the first season, a.k.a. the origin story, was excellent.
Telling the story of a group of ordinary people who gradually discover they have superpowers, the show took the time to explore the personal impact of these abilities at the kind of leisurely pace that’s simply not possible in a movie. Watch it if you want to see this kind of story done well. Turn off after season one if you don’t want to see a great idea collapse into mediocrity.
Photo: Tailwind Productions
And 5 that we'd like to see... Spider-Man
Okay, so we’re unlikely to get a Spider-Man TV series, given that we’re currently in the middle of Marc Webb’s blockbuster reboot. But unlike almost any other comic book character, Spider-Man would work far better on TV than on the big screen. The comics were always soap opera heavy, and with more space to play with story lines it would be possible to explore the extended universe of characters.
A lot of people hated Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 because it crammed too much into one movie. If that had been a whole season of a TV show, though? Totally different story. Who wouldn’t want to watch this?
Photo: Columbia Picture
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer loosely followed on from Joss Whedon’s 1992 Buffy movie, with the titular vampire slayer arriving in Sunnydale after being booted out of her old school. More than a decade after the acclaimed TV series ended (and more than 20 after the now-forgotten movie), however, it would be good fun to go back and tell the story of exactly how L.A. cheerleader Buffy Summers discovers she’s the Chosen One.
A new Buffy, plus no Xander, Willow, Giles or Spike could make it a tough sell for old-school Buffy fans, but Whedon would agree to be show runner it could be a fun (sort of prequel) to the series we know and love.
Photo: 20th Century Fox Television
Post-Sons of Anarchy, the story Ghost Rider would make a fantastic show. In case you don’t know, Ghost Rider is stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who surrenders his soul to the devilish Mephisto in order to save the life of his father. After this, Blaze’s flesh is consumed by hellfire when evil is around, resulting in his head turning into a flaming skull, while he rides around on a fiery motorcycle.
Now that the two awful Nicolas Cage movies are behind us, Ghost Rider would certainly have legs as a TV series. Use the great Ultimate Marvel origin story as your blueprint if you want.
Image: Marvel Comics
Neither Marvel or DC have proven too willing to engage with the idea of giving superheroines their own movies, so TV could be a great way of demonstrating that there is an audience who will happily turn out to watch a female hero. I’ve always liked Supergirl as a character, and her current New 52 incarnation is intriguing.
In short, she’s got the same powers as Superman, but the unpredictability of a teenager, and nothing in the way of Clark’s affection for Earth. The result is a twist on a familiar story, and a concept that blurs the wish fulfilment of Superman with the realities of being a teenager trying to establish their own place in the world.
Image: DC Comics
A bit of an odd final choice here, but I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite Image books from the late 90s, and Top Cow’s The Darkness stands up so much better than most. Originally written by Garth Ennis, the series tells the story of a mafia hitman who inherits supernatural powers on his twenty-first birthday. The result is a mix between Batman, H.P. Lovecraft and The Sopranos.
Touchscreens and platformers just don’t mix most of the time. Lots of developers try to make platformers for mobile devices, of course, and will continue to as long as our collective nostalgia for Mega Man and Super Mario Bros. remains. UsagiMan is a creative spin on Mega Man-like platforming that compensates for less-responsive touch controls by sprinkling in a little web-slinging.
UsagiMan by Shogo Suzuki Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: Free
UsagiMan is a rabbit-shaped hero bounding through levels overflowing with high ledges and murderbots. Rather than ducking down to avoid enemy fire and carefully maneuvering over precarious platforms, UsagiMan flings himself across the screen via a Spider-Man-like grappling hook. Players can also attack enemies by furiously tapping them, which sends the hook out in rapid bursts.
We got all excited about The Amazing Spider-Man earlier this month when developers Gameloft released the title’s first teaser trailer. And today the official game of the 2012 blockbuster has hit the App Store. As you’d expect from Gameloft, the 3D visuals look terrific, and they promise to “make Spider-Man more realistic than ever before!”
Gameloft loves nothing more than throwing a huge $0.99 iOS game sale, so after EA began slashing the price of its own games yesterday, you could almost guarantee that Gameloft wouldn’t be far behind. And it has some treats in store for you this Christmas, including best-sellers like N.O.V.A. 2, Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles, and Spider-Man: Total Mayhem; in addition to some of its latest releases such as BackStab, 9mm, and Gangstar Rio: City of Saints.
Here’s the complete list of Gameloft titles on sale for just $0.99 right now!
At the top of our favorite games list this week is the second instalment of Amateur Surgeon – the game that lets you attempt surgery with a pizza cutter. With new patients, new surgeries, and a whole slew of medical ethics violations, this sequel sure packs an entertaining punch.
Gobliiinsis another of our must-haves this week. Relive the Gobliiins adventures in this blast from the past that redelivers the original screenplay and soundtrack from the classic puzzler.
This week’s must-have iOS games include the graphically stunning Epic Citadel that was recently introduced at Apple’s music event, adrenaline-fuelled sprinting across rooftops in Mirror’s Edge for iPhone, using your powers as Spider-Man to save the city of New York, and a whole lot more to keep you entertained this weekend.
Check out a few of our favorite games from the past week after the break!