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Tuesday 21 May 2013, 16:16

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Iron Man was recently declared the most successful screen super hero in history. But who is the best SUPER anti-hero ever?

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    Comment number 1.

    The more I see of Chloe Sevigny, the more I think she's being exploited to within an inch of her talent..

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    Comment number 2.

    Sorry, Moretez... you see, dementia beckons...

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    Comment number 3.

    Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.
    "You make it so easy, don’t you? Always waiting for some Batman to save you."

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    Comment number 4.

    OK, I could go for Darkman, or Swamp Thing, or even NorthStar, but I'm plumping for Super Snooper AKA SuperFuzz – a film so obscure and poorly regarded that as an adult I assumed I had dreamt it until the Internet was invented and confirmed that it was real.

    It starred Terence Hill as a cop who develops amazing powers that desert him the second he sees the colour red. I can't quite remember why this was the case, but much hilarity ensued, and my 8-year old self loved it. And Ernest Borgnine made an appearance, so it couldn't have been all bad.

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    Comment number 5.

    I always like The Mask comics. The movie didn't quite work because it went for the kids but I'd love to see someone get hold of that franchise and do it some justice.
    Likewise, Watchmen. SUCH a missed opportunity there but that's been covered on this blog many times before.
    Anyone remember The Tick? He was a giggle. I'm surprised that's not been done, as a matter of fact.

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    Comment number 6.

    One of my favourite literary antiheros is Kafka's Gregor Samsa, which always reminds me of Seth Brundle's metamorphosis in The Fly. He really blurs the hero-antihero line, since he's virtuous enough to resist corporate involvement in his research but too driven not to transgress ethical science. The antihero side of Brundle's personality, even before the metamorphosis, is what makes Cronenberg's version so much better than the original.

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    Comment number 7.

    I can't thinking about the Toxic Avenger (if this is applicable). I remember it was so terrible, it was decent!

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    Comment number 8.

    The Punisher first made his comic debut in a Spiderman comic, and while one went on to become a very successful franchise in its adaptation, the other, namely The Punisher, never reached the same heights. Three movies, and none one of them were a hit, yet still i have a soft spot for Thomas Jane's Punisher. He played the part well, and the film had some good action pieces, particularly the fight with The Russian. Admittedly John Travolta was a bit of a plank in it, but the movie itself deserved more acclaim than it got. On youtube, Thomas Jane did a segment called 'Dirty Laundry' showing that the Punisher is still a character who has got the potential to be a super heroe hit, alongside Iron Man etc. I am just hoping one day there will be 4th time lucky.

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    Comment number 9.

    Also Dr, what's with the weird upwards inflection when discussing the Condorman: 'but I still have to see it? Because it's Michael Crawford? As a Condor?' Very Australian.

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    Comment number 10.

    Has to be the animated youtube show Baman and 'Piderman www.youtube.com/show/bamanpiderman

    But in a movie - how about Scott Pilgrim? No suit, no acknowledgment of any special powers, but there they are on screen - Scott and anybody he fights can channel Street Fighter-esque moves from nowhere, and the best thing about the movie is that they just happen, without any need to answer the question of whether they're real.

    The other anti-hero comic creation brilliantly realised on screen is Harvey Pekar in American Splendour, subtly lampooning the superhero genre with lines like 'From off the streets of Cleveland comes....'

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    Comment number 11.

    I think Jeff Goldblum's character in The Fly is the best super antihero of all time. He may not fight against evil, he may not have a super hero's costume, but he does have quite some super power. Half man, half fly, nothing ordinary.

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    Comment number 12.

    If we are still keeping to comic book superheroes, I am still thoroughly surprised that no studio has attempted to make a Deadpool movie. He has a sizable cult fanbase, and traits such as the comic's use of meta-narrative and humour, along with the character's ambigiuous heroism, would make a very interesting movie indeed (perhaps even the best Stan Lee cameo in a film). I know they totally messed up Deadpool's character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but there's still hope he can be retconned in the Marvel Universe, and be made into a unique superhero movie I would pay good money to see.

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    Comment number 13.

    Oh dear! As for 'Iron Man 3:' it was terribly dissapointing; those billions of ticket sales are waiting for a comeback. Not being a comic book connoisseur - i'm pretty sure you have to wear the suit to be Iron Man - which Robert Downey never did. Time to say goodbye...but thats not gonna happen.

    Wait, Mr. Kermode - you liked 'Howard the Duck?" the only good thing to come out of that debacle was John Barry's rejected score.

    As for the anti-hero: It was 'The Punisher' - but they messed it up three times already. Maybe Gareth Evans would be a best bet for a yet again re-boot. But then, i wasn't enthusiastic for 'The Raid' - he still looks competent enough.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 15.

    As a kid I used to read a UK Girls Comic called Misty and all sorts of weird things appeared in there. Reading the Wiki entry I can recall the comic strips such as

    The Four Faces of Eve * Where a young girls thinks she has been made out of the body of four other women.
    Hush Hush Sweet Rachel * A girl think she is the reincarnation of a fire victim
    Hangman's Alley * Where the spirit of a maidservant hung wrongly for theft comes back to haunt a young girl and only the sister of the possessed teenager can save her buy clearing the maidservants name.
    Screaming Point * A hangman is also a resurectionist.
    and I kid you not one comic strip called The Carts of Carey Street. A group of cats organise a fightback against the council.

    I read thee at 8 years old and can you see any of these being made into movies, yet they were all wonderful

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    Comment number 16.

    I woluld say there are four that comes to mind. One is Deadpool who despite a fleeting appearance in X-Men origins Wolcverine and that was nothing like Deadpool by the way, could never be on screen why? He aware hes a comic book villian and is crazy and zany. I don't think crowds would queue to see that. Second is the punisher now there have been three versions of the character one featuring Doph Lundren, which wasn't very good. The Second featuring Thomas Jane which was better than the first because Thomas Jane was good as the punisher but still not very good. The third featuring Ray Stephenson and that want any good despite being closer to the source material. I think the punisher is unfilmable.The third is also had film adaptations and that is Judge Dredd, now I think the last film named Dredd was really good but no one went to see it, I thought it was Die Hard or the Raid with Judge Dredd and I liked that. However the frist one with Stalone was a mistake. THe last one is a sueprvillian but I think it counts as hes one of the msot itneresting is Deathstroke, he had his own comic and also he is a veryc ojmplex character. A assassin ho had a vendettqa agaisn the teen titans it would be great to see a good teen titans film as I am frankly sick of seeing teenage fratboy comedies that make teenagers to be witless idiots, whyu not give them, positive role models with the titans whoa re young peoiple who go throuhg reach backstories and complex development.

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    Comment number 17.

    When it comes to Super anti Hero's on film the safe money will always go on Characters like Rorschach from The Watchmen,Spawn and the excellent Hellboy.

    But In the wake of films like The Avengers can I draw your attention to a little film directed by Craig Mazin, yep the man who gave us the god awful Superhero movie.
    Well a few years before that travesty he directed a little Indie comedy flick called THE SPECIALS a movie about the day in the life of the 6th or 7th best superhero team ever and its rather good in a Spinal Tap sort of way. No special effects,no saving the world just funny off beat characters that you really get to like, plus in what superhero film has its heroes dance to the Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) Well this one dose.

    Oh and by the way several years ago I managed to see the Roger Corman version of The Fantastic Four and I enjoyed it far more than the recent mega budget re-makes.

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    Comment number 18.

    Glad you asked Mark! Allow me to weigh in with a character you'll almost certainly enjoy on some level given that you're fond of Howard the Duck, Kick Ass and most impressively, Ambush Bug - cult icon points ahoy. My nomination goes to the superhero hunter Marshal Law, a gleefully ultraviolent superhero satire from the 1980s/90s written by Judge Dredd's Pat Mills and drawn in gruooey hyperkinetic detail by Kevin O' Neill. Funnily enough, Kick Ass' scribe Mark Millar has cited Law as an influence and a favourite in his work. It comes from an imagination not entirely taken with the idea of superheroes, to put it mildly. The comic strip's approach to gore and splatter is roughly in the same ballpark as Raimi's Evil Dead. As for film adaptations, they have been numerous stalled attempts in the past including Rob Bottin's (Yay) and more recently McG 's (shudder).

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    Comment number 19.

    Defendor played by Woody Harrelson, don't forget about him :)

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    Comment number 20.

    My favourite anti superhero would have to be Bruce Willis as David Dunn in Unbreakable. It is a fantastic preformance and a brilliant retelling of the superman mithology.


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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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