Baddies That Need Movie Love: Solomon Grundy
"Solomon Grundy, Born on a Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, grew worse on Friday, died on Saturday, buried on Sunday, that is the end of Solomon Grundy." An odd, but potentially awesome villain for a film!
Back yet again with another installment in the Baddies That Need Movie Love series. This time, I will be headed to the world of DC comics to a big, bad mamma-jamma that has gone up against some of the greatest heroes like Batman, Superman and Green Lantern/Alan Scott. Back when Christopher Nolan first started production on what is now The Dark Knight Rises, the internet was flooded with speculation as to whom Batman would be facing. We heard rumors of Hugo Strange, The Riddler, Killer Croc among several others. But I was one of the few who was hoping for something a little bit...different. On the surface, Solomon Grundy may seem like a mindless brute; a distraction even, but the character has potential to be a serious threat and an incredible addition to a film. Most people see him as a Batman rogue, but Grundy could function as a Baddie in a number of DC films, but more on that later.
Cyrus Gold was born sometime in the mid 19th Century. In 1895 (or 1894, depending on the story line), Gold "hooked up," as it were, with a prostitute from the Gotham City area named Rachel Rykel, who claimed she was pregnant. In exchange for her silence, Gold was forced to pay Rykel money. The two scheduled to meet at Slaughter Swamp to negotiate the deal, but Gold was bashed over the head with a shovel by Rykel's pimp. The pair dumped gold's body in the swamp, certain that no one would find the body. Over the course of about 50 years, and via a process that is still unknown, Gold's body "interacted" with the dead plant life and detritus. According to the Earth-Two story line, Gold's reanimated corpse meandered out of the swamps in 1944, with no memory of his previous life. He quickly encountered two escaped criminals, who he murdered for their clothes. He then stumbled into a hobo camp and was asked about his name, which he could not recall. The only thing that came to mind was that he was born on a Monday. One of the hobo's brought up the old children's rhyme involving Solomon Grundy, and the name stuck.
Very strong, cruel and practically mindless, Grundy fell into a life of crime and soon attracted the attention of Alan Scott, the Green Lantern. Grundy quickly proved to be a formidable foe for Scott, considering that he was not able to be killed, and that his powers had little effect on him being that his body was largely made up of wood. The pair battled multiple times, the first of which ended when Grundy was thrown under a train. The second go-round involved Lantern's Justice Society friends and ended when Grundy was defeated and placed on the moon. In 1947, Lantern buried the behemoth. After a brief stint working for the time traveling villain Per Degaton, Grundy was once again banished to the moon, where he remained for the next 20 years. But, having stored up residual emerald energy from battling the Green Lantern, Grundy made his way back to Earth, where he battled Lantern, Dr. Fate and Hourman. During this time, Grundy actually had the power to manipulate and control wood particles, a power that did not last long however.
Grundy has single handedly taken on the entirety of both the Justice Society of America, as well as their counterparts, the Justice League, multiple times, often to a stand still. He has also spent time as a member of the Injustice Society of the World, but he also spent time as a quasi-hero. After being rescued from a glacier by Jade, Green Lantern's daughter, Grundy developed an attraction to her and became very loyal to her, making him an ally of sorts with Infinity, Inc. This was short lived however, when the dastardly Marcie Cooper (aka Harlequin) used her illusion powers to disguise herself as Jade. Harlequin tricked Grundy into attacking each of the Infinity, Inc members one by one, which eventually led to the death of Skyman.
In the Earth-One story line, Grundy arose when "the Parasite used an enhanced crystal to metabolically hasten the growth of residual cells left over in the sewers from when the original version had crossed over from Earth-2, which became a new, much more bestial version." During a battle with Superman, Grundy proved to be too much for the Man of Steel to handle. Superman then flew Grundy to a distant planet where nothing but the strongest life forms could survive. Superman then gave Grundy a cape, which he happily donned and flew through air mimicking his one-time rival. However, this proved taxing on Superman's conscience, until an encounter in which Grundy clones were spawned. Superman, along with Swamp Thing, battled the clones until they were rendered inert, seemingly killing the unkillable. Swamp Thing tried to protest, believing that Grundy met the definition of life, but was unable to express his thoughts. This version was retroactivley erased after the Superman was revamped in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" story line. One of Grundy's most notable appearances occurred in "The Long Halloween", when he held a brief partnership with the newly scarred Harvey Dent. This also included a fierce battle with another sewer dweller, Killer Croc.
More recently, Grundy was the victim of mind control from Gorilla Grodd, who was looking to cash in on the $1 billion bounty set up by President Lex Luthor. Grundy was forced to attack Superman and Batman, but was defeated by Batman. For a time, Grundy adopted Arrowcave as his home, which is the former hide out for the Green Arrow. Ollie, and his former ward Roy "Arsenal" Harper discovered Grundy's new hideout, as well as the fact that this incarnation of Grundy was much more violent, but was able to defeat him by strangling him with his bow string. In "Infinite Crisis," Grundy was seen fighting along side the Blood Pack during the Battle of Metropolis. But he was quickly disposed of by Superboy-Prime's heat vision, which destroyed Grundy's current incarnation. In the Justice League of America series, a much different Grundy can be seen. Here, he is depicted as an intelligent and sophisticated villain and is believed to be the brains behind a complex operation to transfer Professor Ivo's immortality to Grundy.
I realize that Solomon Grundy is an odd choice for a film baddie, but I also think he could provide for some very memorable moments. Being that there have been numerous incarnations of the character, there are many different directions you could take. Having said that, one thing I would do away with is the idea that he is a mindless oaf; even if he does play an enforcer role. I think that adding a more intelligent and coherent trait to him would make him all the more intimidating; strong intellectually and physically. While I think Grundy could make a great Batman villain, I also think he could prove a dangerous foe for multiple franchises. Imagine the Justice League (should it ever actually happen) taking on a massive force like Grundy? Or Green Lantern, who's powers have little effect on the massive zombie? I can picture a battle something along the lines of Hulk versus Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, a massive brawl between multiple powerhouse characters. Ah! I get giddy just thinking about it! Now, as much as I like Grundy, he's not the type of character to serve as a main villain, but he could definitely provide for some intense and highly entertaining scenes.
Usually, I come prepared to offer up an actor to play the selected Baddie. This time around however, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just one actor. Instead, I'm going to leave it up to you! Below, I've selected a group of actors that I thought would do the character justice. Take a look and make your selection!
Info: Starred in Legion, I Am Number Four, X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Stats: 6'6", 230 lbs
Info: Former WCW wrestler; Starred in X-Men, Halloween (2007)
Stats: 6' 9", 295 lbs
Benicio Del Toro
Info: Starred in Wolfman, Sin City, Snatch
Stats: 6'2", weight unknown
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Info: Current WWE Wreslter; Starred in The Scorpian King, Fast Five, GI Joe: Retaliation
Stats: 6'5", 275 lbs
Info: Starred in X-Men: The Last Stand, The Twilight Saga
Stats: 6'7", 255 lbs
Kane (Glen Jacobs)
Info: Current WWE wrestler; Starred in See No Evil
Stats: 7'0", 323 lbs
Info: Former body builder; Starred in Gladiator, The Scorpion King, Pathfinder, Conan (TV Series)
Stats: 6'6", Weight unknown. Thought to be about 260 lbs
Info: Former WWE wreslter; Starred in Troy, Conan the Barbarian
Stats: 6'11', 360 lbs
If you have suggestions or want me to highlight a Baddie you'd like to see, be sure to send me an email! I will see what I can do! Be sure to check out the past installments of "Baddies that Need Movie Love:"
Black Tom Cassidy
Ventriliquist & Scarface
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