With the May 6 release of Captain America: Civil War, the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially commences. It’ll be a four-year, multi-picture deal featuring the debuts of Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, The Wasp and more, culminating in the long-brewing Infinity War. As pop culture at large further commits to the superhero trend, Rotten Tomatoes offers our own ideas as to who (and what) from the Marvel comics should get a shot on the silver screen.
In an alternate universe, Gwen Stacy (not Peter Parker) was bitten by a radioactive spider, and gained superhuman abilities. In that same universe, Peter Parker dies (not Gwen Stacy), and now Spider-Woman fights crime in New York, even as J. Jonah Jameson calls her a menace. Spider-Gwen’s hooded costume was wildly popular, helping what could have been a minor spin-off character get her own regular title. And not only is this Gwen a superhero, she’s in a rock band with Mary Jane Watson. If the Marvel/Sony partnership is viewed as successful by both studios, maybe we’ll see Spider-Gwen get her own movie someday.
It’s not easy being Kamala Khan, but that’s one of the reasons she’s so relatable. A bookish, introverted comics fangirl from a strict-but-loving family, Kamala just wants to be a normal teenager — which is made all the more difficult because she also just happens to be an Inhuman with the ability to stretch and contract at will. A Ms. Marvel TV series is rumored to be on the horizon, which would be welcome news: at a time when politicians traffic in anti-Islamic rhetoric, a Muslim-American superhero from Marvel — particularly one as endearing as Kamala — could stand as a bold rejoinder.
A common criticism you’ll hear from DC diehards is that their celluloid heroes are the dark and gritty alternative to Marvel’s goofy, family-friendly pop spectacles. Well, if Marvel was looking to boost its cinematic street cred, it might look to adapt the tale of Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, a pair of teenage runaways-cum-crime-fighting vigilantes who do business as Cloak and Dagger. Operating within a grim, perpetually overcast Manhattan, Cloak (a teleporter) and Dagger (who fires electrical knives from her hands) are complex characters, and their troubled histories and interpersonal drama could be the kindling for a grown-up superhero movie. (And lo and behold, a Cloak and Dagger show has been announced!)
Depending on who’s writing for the character, Hercules can be slightly oafish to dangerously irresponsible. In his current title, the legendary god of strength is a little washed up and in need of redemption, and that’s the character we’d like to see hit the big screen. He’s been struggling with forces that few mortals can see, leading many to think he’s lost his mind, and there’s fodder for either broad comedy or tense thrills in that formula.
It’s been a little over five years since the introduction of Miles Morales as swingin’ Spider-Man in the Ultimate lineup, the first major shake-up in the Marvel multiverse since Captain America’s death and the Iron Man movie changed the business. A Black Hispanic teen, Morales’ tales are more urbane and tense, and he eventually finds his way to the main Marvel universe to fight alongside Peter Parker. As Marvel preps yet another Spider-Man origin movie, Morales represents to shake off the cobwebs of Spidey’s story.
On the other hand, what’s one more Peter Parker for the road? Spider-Man had some of the best supporting players and villains swirling in his world and the mid-90s Maximum Carnage storyline brought the oddballs out — not just Venom and Carnage (the former teaming with Parker to take down the latter), but Carrion, Demogoblin, Shriek, Doppelganger, Black Cat, Firestar, Deathlok and more. It’s a blunt and violent brawl and though the sappy conclusion would need to be reworked, it’d be a thrill to see a modern superhero movie that’s pure action with no subtext or symbolism.
Eats nuts, kicks butts! Believe it or not, Doreen Green, aka The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, has a pretty impressive list of victories over some pretty impressive foes, including Doctor Doom, MODOK and Wolverine. She’s got the proportional strength and agility of a squirrel (plus strong front teeth and a prehensile tail) and she can communicate with squirrels. She’s currently trying to balance college life and membership in the New Avengers, which all of the obvious complications that entails. The MCU hasn’t had anything like a sitcom yet, but we think Squirrel Girl is the perfect candidate.
In his 70+ years in Marvel Comics, half-Atlantean Namor has been alternately portrayed as a villian, an anti-hero, and an actual hero. But one thing has been pretty consistent across all of those portrayals; he’s a haughty, stuck-up jerk. The intersection of his regal, overbearing attitude, quick temper, and his fierce determination to fight for what he believes in makes for a character that could have some thrilling confrontations with the rest of the MCU.
Having been first recruited by HYDRA, then involved with S.H.I.E.L.D., becoming an agent of S.W.O.R.D., and finally a member of the Avengers, Spider-Woman’s path could easily crossover Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers, and lead to the Skrull invasion story arc. Besides all that, Jessica Drew is one of the last few top Marvel characters not in movies or TV yet. The good news is that the recent partnership between Marvel and Sony — who might or might not own her rights in the cinematic universe — is a sign that her premiere on the big screen might be closer than ever.