We all know that the years 1978 Superman and 1989 Batman paved the way for comic book-inspired movies. Even if they set the bar, other comedy films would follow. However, while some have found success, others have spat. In 1997, it looked like comedy movies wouldn’t make it (thanks batman and robin). Once the year 2000 arrived, x-men arrives on the screens with Spider Man in 2002. They helped restore credibility to the comedy film genre.
This brings us to where we are today! Looking at some of the films of the 1990s, there are a few that I think would have done better had they been made during the comedy film boom. Now that there’s also the option of small-screen streaming, let’s take a look at some comic book-inspired ’90s movies that deserve a second chance. Some are said to be in the works, however, we have already heard of them. Will they be able to cross the deserved finish line?
I’ve definitely seen this 90s movie many times in the cinema. Once was for my birthday with friends. That’s right, those were the days when birthday parties were all about going to the movies, McDonalds or Burger King. Not the wild eruptions like now. I digress.
My dad even made a great Halloween costume out of the rocket and helmet pack of an old football helmet, school backpack, miniature footballs, and paper mache! Yes, I even added the piece of chewed gum to the rocket pack. I can’t figure out how the helmet fits on my huge dome, but I still have it to this day!
The Rocket is by the late Dave Stevens that first appeared in 1982. The character is a nod to soap operas of the 1940s and 50s. disney brought the character to life in 1991. The film mirrors the pulp style of the comic books, but is much more family-friendly.
disneyThe original plan was to have a sequel to the film. There were whispers about the possibility of fighting the Soviets in a second. However, he did not receive the reception they had hoped for. Combine that with the change from adult tone to family friendliness, and it fell short of company expectations. ’90s moviegoers didn’t seem as keen on the pulp era of the early 1900s.
However, that no longer seems to be the case. disney saw the same era work on screen, as Captain America: The First Avenger. They can also see that the movie-going community now accepts everything from family-friendly superhero movies to R-rated superhero movies. In 2019 a show in canon, animated, Junior Rocket, came out, but we all wanted more. Finally, it looks like we fans can get what we’ve been waiting for.
In 2016 disney asserted that there would be a Rocket after. Set after the original, the film would focus on an African-American woman taking the lead during the Cold War. Although it didn’t work out, the idea is still moving forward in 2021 with disney indicating that Return of the Rocketeer will come to Disney+ and will feature a retired Tuskegee Airman wearing the rocket pack.
I’m really excited for this! I hope it’s canon and we can even see Bill Campbell’s Cliff and Jennifer Connelly’s Jenny!
You may ask why am I adding this if Disney+ already confirms it. Well, there have been whispers of the sequel for years and we’ve seen ideas come and go. Here’s to hoping it sticks! Oh, and this time I hope they make a stronger toy line. The main Rocket merchandise. I have is the nes Game. Go figure, it’s extremely difficult. Or maybe it’s just me. pizza hut had an awesome link where you could get the huge cut. I definitely have it. Don’t soft drinks just taste better in restaurant mugs? We would still have loved action figures.
With the new comic series The Rocketeer: The Great Racenow is the perfect time to bring the character back to the screen!
Another good movie from the 90s is The shadow from 1994. The character is either well known or not known at all depending on the generation. The shadow dates back to the 1930s. There are novels, TV shows, toys and even a radio soap opera with Orson Welles! Very much a pulp or black style and a solid cast. People like Alec Baldwin, Tim Curry, John Lone, Ian McKellen, Penelope Ann Miller and Peter Boyle. Why didn’t it work? I think the average moviegoer of the 80s and 90s didn’t follow comic books, or the majority mostly knew the “big” comic book names.
The shadow could work today and bring more success with today’s comedy lineup. Plus, with all the nostalgia so high right now, you can bring in multiple generations of those who know The shadow. The dark nature of the character and the pulp era are no longer foreign to the public, which could grant him more success.
They also had a pretty decent toy line. I still have some numbers. Now you might be thinking, “Well, they tried that with The mind in 2008 with a solid group of actors, a city of sin style, and look how it turned out. True.
However, much like The mind, The shadow is actually in the same universe as The Rocket. Dave Stevens even has a very good script where the two come together. Perhaps Return of the Rocketeer could take advantage of it and reintroduce the character. Others succeed in doing so, such as the flash debuting on the already established Arrow. I think it could be a great story and give The shadow the return it deserves!
Another great movie from the 90s. Dick Tracy hit the screens in 1990. Although the story is great, I still remember being mesmerized by the colors and the setting. The visuals are amazing. It feels like it’s straight out of the comics. Even Roger Ebert gives the film four stars, saying:
“Dick Tracy,” which is a softer, more upbeat movie, even surpasses “Batman” in the visual departments. It is a film in which each frame contains a kind of artificial effect. A whole world has been built here, far from the daylight and the realism of ordinary city streets. And “Dick Tracy” also reflects the innocence of the comics that inspired it. Unlike the movie version of “Batman,” which upped the level of its violence to a degree that could have been truly disturbing to young viewers, the PG-rated “Dick Tracy” contains no obscenity, no blood and no “realistic”. violence. It’s one of the most original and visionary fantasies I’ve seen on screen.
Ebert was a man notorious for disliking comic book-inspired movies. Thus his high esteem for Dick Tracy speaks for itself! With great characters and wonderful acting, Warren Beatty’s production is a classic. You also have Al Pacino as Big Boy! The make-up and effects of all the movies mentioned so far were good for the time and held up somewhat. But Dick TracyThe character makeup and costumes are always amazing. Yes, most of his villains die in the movie, but hey, they’re comics. Everything can happen.
Yes Dick Tracy comes back, toys must too. They are insanely big with cool weapons. My grandmother went on a mad search to find The White. It’s still the only one we’ve never been able to find!
The film didn’t do badly in theaters, but it didn’t do well either. Batman 89 set the bar, and while a lot of comedy movies didn’t hit the bar, there was no sequel. That, plus it seems like the early 1900s period didn’t catch on during the 90s. As mentioned earlier, Captain Americaas well as other shows that took place during this period, show that there is now a definite interest.
Beatty has made no secret that he is open to tracking. Again, if he can’t make the jump to feature-length, a 10-episode streaming series is a great option.
Okay, a lot of people hate 1997’s Spawn. I mean, he’s got 17% on rotten tomatoes. So while I don’t think it’s an amazing movie, it has potential. The end of the 90s is a strange stage for graphic design. It’s like the intermediate stages of your hair growth. There is simply nothing you can do to make it look good.
Michael Jai White, John Leguizano and Martin Sheen carry the film. However, a character little known to the general public at the time, and many other issues, led to his demise. Spawn is first introduced in 1992, so having a movie just five years later isn’t much exposure, especially in pre-internet days.
As with the other comic-inspired 90s films mentioned, Spawn more than likely would have different answers today. Spawn is another that has been on hiatus for a while. Creator Todd McFarlane is reportedly directing said upcoming feature Blumhouse Productions.
So there is credibility. Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner were attached in 2016, but a lot has changed since then. However, now with Spawn having been there for 30 years, it is more established. Combine that with the creator’s direction, a good production company, and advanced CGI, there’s a recipe for success!
I say keep it in line with the 1990s HBO animated series. It’s dark and amazing. Our very own Tim Nardelli reflects on the series which you can check out below.
SEE ALSO: The Not So Kid-Friendly Show: Remembering HBO’s Spawn Animated Series I LRM’s Retro-Specs
All the movies mentioned fell victim to the lack of exposure of 90’s superhero/comic book movies. I really think if they were made today there would be a lot more followers and success. Although I know many come to us, they have also been helped in limbo for years. It’s time for them to have their second chance to shine! What are your memories of the films I am talking about? Is there anything you would add to the list? While you’re here, be sure to check out all the other amazing content on the site! As always, leave your thoughts in the usual place, and thanks for reading!
Sources: Looper, ScreenRant, Roger Ebert, THR