In this golden age of superhero movies, we’ve seen that certain powers allow for more cinematic fun than others. Here are my top five characters who have provided for more twists, turns, and visual fun than any others.
In the first X-Men, Mystique dialed the mask removal gimmick of Mission: Impossible up to 11. With a satisfying skin folding visualization, her entire body can appear however she likes. The result is an audience who must question the truth of every character’s identity. Her powers also allow for a way to show the viewers her presence without exposing herself within the movie. The eye shift to Mystique’s creepy glow serves a story telling purpose just short of breaking the forth wall.
Everyone loves a good twist in their movie, but only a trickster God can make them temporary. Need to shock the audience back to attention? Kill off our hero. Loki can make appearances be deceiving. He’s like a shapeshifter whose ability isn’t limited to his own body.
Nightcrawler would have made this list before Days of Future Past, but the introduction of Blink shows us an even more compelling way to get around quickly. Watching a Sentinel in the background appear in a the foreground from a different angle through a portal only to reach through and interact with the foreground characters was one of the most complex set pieces I’ve ever seen. Fans of the video game Portal undoubtably picked up on Colossus executing one of the game’s signature moves–jumping through a portal that exits high in the air to allow gravity to raise one’s momentum enough to launch out a second portal. Good teamwork, X-Men!
Between two versions of Quicksilver appearing in movies by two different Studios and DC’s Flash getting a TV show and ensured in future movie appearances, the next few years will be the age of the speedsters, and for good reason. Nearly everyone’s favorite scene in Days of Future Past was Quicksilver operating at full speed during the special effect popularized by The Matrix called “bullet time.” Sure, it’s been done before, but today’s audience doesn’t remember Mork and Mindy.
Any Green Lantern
I know the movie sucked, but the visual of making anything from green light was and will be again pretty awesome. From the perspective of the characters, it’s CGI manifesting in the real world–movie magic made reality. For the upcoming Justice League movie, I’d like to see the creative mind of artist Kyle Rayner with the ring…but that’ll never happen. I’ll settle for John Stewart or a do-over of Hal.
As great as these characters have been, there is much untapped potential for upcoming comic book flicks like Justice League, Avengers 3 and X-Men: Apocalypse. Here are the top five characters I’d like to see make their big screen debut.
Some of the Sinister Six are set, but the next Amazing Spiderman still needs to fill out the villain roster and this blogger thinks Mysterio would be a great fit. The guy has an ability tailor made for a special effects centric films–the mastery of special effects! Loki is the trickster God, but his is a godly magic while Mysterio uses actual tricks. Illusions based in science could actually be understood and adapted by science-savvy Peter Parker allowing for appearance-altering gone wrong, which always is fun to watch. The fishbowl helmet might need to go, but the Ultimate Universe has a more film-goer-friendly look. Runners-up in the reality-bending category include X-Men baddie Proteus with the mutant power to warp his surroundings and Fantomex who is the next stage from the Weapon-X program that created Wolverine and has the mutant power of misdirection.
The needed rebooting of the Batman franchise in a world with aliens and magic rings opens the door for the only members of his rouges gallery that have yet to be filmed–the sci-fi and supernatural. Clayface is another shapeshifter, which we’ve seen before, but we’ve never seen it in Gotham City. Why is that important? Because it allows for Batman to finally show some detective skills in figuring out who is who. Fans of the Animated Series will recall how cool a visual transformation can be with aggressive, sentient clay. Clayface is also more versatile than the average shapeshifter, ranging his form from mud to a hulking monster with lobster claws for hands. Honorable mention in the shapeshifting category goes to the Martian Manhunter who would be a great addition to the Justice League flick.
This is a DC villain who has appeared in the cartoons and would translate perfectly to the big screen. His low-key appearance is simple to animate, so there’s even a cost savings. He is a thief with an outfit that makes him a shadow that can still interact with three dimensions. Imagine applying this power in a horror or suspense sequence. Lesser known hero Obsidian is a runner-up with similar powers which are more impressive but more complicated in origin.
The big bad of the DC Universe is appealing not because he is a stone-looking god with super strength, but because he has lasers shooting out of his frickin’ eyeballs. His Omega Beams are strong enough to severely hurt Superman, orders of magnitude more powerful than Cyclops’ beams. More than that, they track their target and can be set to stun or even teleport. An image from the comics that stayed with me is Darkseid firing his Omega Beams from his homeworld to earth which finds Superman even when disguised as Clark Kent and chases him through Metropolis until finally overtaking him and teleporting Supes to Darkseid. I’d love to see that sequence in film. Darkseid’s home world is scarier than the Death Star with country-sized fire pits that emit flares into space and equipped with hard sci-fi tech and demonic armies. Out of the single players who can pose a threat to the Justice League, he seems like a no-brainer.
This is a bit of a cheat because this android has no unique power, but what he has is every power. Flash (well, Quicksilver, but basically the same) and Green Lantern made the previous list already and Amazo effectively doubles what a director can to with them. Amazo typically has the powers and abilities of every other member of the Justice League. It’s like an evil Superman with a magic lasso and power ring who can turn invisible, shapeshift, and knows jujitsu.