Baddies That Need Movie Love: Bizarro

Bizarro, the Beast of Steel. The perfect imperfection of one of the greatest and most popular comic book characters ever created. In this installment of Baddies That Need Movie Love, I examine the origins and the versions of this feeble-minded, yet very powerful Superman rogue. Come check it out!

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By ecksmanfan - 2/25/2012
When it was announced that DC Comics and Warner Brothers would be bringing new life into the Superman film franchise a few years back, rather than continuing the series Bryan Singer took over in 2006, one of the biggest wishes from fans was to have a more physical threat for the Man of Steel to oppose. Previously, Lex Luthor has been the main villain for Kal-El and I believe that to be ok--  to an extent. While Luthor is the main Baddie for Superman, he provides a cerebral threat and that's about all we've seen. In the 1980 film Superman II, General Zod made an appearance and he and his cronies provided that threat, giving fans and movie-goers alike, a better action flick than the first outing (which is still a great film,  by the way). And with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel coming out in 2013, we see the return of Zod and hopefully the physicality of Superman tested once again. But one way to all but guarantee a superior action film is to include a villain that knows nothing but physicality and Bizarro is one of those options. Let me admit this right from the get-go however: I do not feel that Bizarro should be the only villain in a film. I think it would be fitting for the baddie to be a pawn for a more intelligent villain, but more on that later. Let's take a look at the history of The Beast of Steel.

Bizarro made his first appearance in 1958 in Superboy #68, where writer Otto Binder created the character as a "Frankenstein's monster pastiche" that possessed all the powers of Superboy. Becoming an outcast, the teen version of Bizarro only appeared in a single comic book story. Shortly after, however, the adult version appeared in the daily Superman comic strip, also bringing with him his now synonymous strange speech patterns, with all of his comments meaning the opposite of what we are used to. He also wore a "B" on his chest, rather than the "S" Superman was known for. The comic strip writer had this to say about the character:
"I was striving, you might say, for that mirror-image, that opposite. And out of a machine which would reveal the negative Superman, came the mirror image — always remembering that in a mirror everything is reversed.... The times were such that one-dimensional characters, your standard superheroes, even in comics, seemed rather simplistic, like paper cut-outs. What was demanded was the full dimensional personality — a figure that carried a shadow, if you like. I was certainly inspired to some degree also by C.G. Jung's archetype of "the shadow" — and Bizarro certainly reflected that, as well."

Binder later revised the character to include the more well-known backwards "S", the mirror image of Superman, in Action Comics #254 (1959). His popularity grew quickly and he was soon appearing in a number of issues and comic runs. The brutish character has also appeared in the Blackest Night storyline in the  Superman/Batman #66-67, as well as a short run in Solomon Grundy.

In the Pre-Crisis runs, a group of  'Bizarro's"  was created in the image of General Dru-Zod to dominate the world of Krypton. But because the world was not under a yellow sun, the creations had no power, but the still harbored the feeling and need to kill and destroy without hesitation. This was the reason Zod was banished to the Phantom Zone for 25 Krypton sun cycles. Some 12 years later, completely ignorant to these occurrences, a scientist on Earth created a duplication ray and while demonstrating the new equipment to Superboy, it accidentally duplicated the teen hero. The duplicate was quickly given the moniker of "Bizarro," due to its white, pale skin, and erratic child-like behavior. Having been shunned by the town of Smallville, the creature left on his own and befriended a blind girl. Ultimately, Superboy was forced to do away with the doppelgänger using the remains of the duplicating ray, which acts as blue kryptonite, as opposed to green that it dangerous to Superboy.

Many years later, once Superboy has become Superman, Lex Luthor recreates this duplicating ray and uses it on the hero, hoping that he would be able to control the duplicate that is created. The resulting being, however, is confused, stating "Me not human...me not creature...me not even animal! Me unhappy! Me don't belong in world of living people! Me don't know difference between right and wrong — good and evil!" Luthor is pushed aside and Bizarro attempts to emulate Superman, wreaking havoc on the city of Metropolis, even going as far as almost exposing Superman to be the reporter people know as Clark Kent. Naturally, Bizarro falls in love with Lois Lane, but to deter him, she gets her hands on Luthor's duplicating ray and creates a Bizarro Lois. Instantly, the two doppelgängers fall in love and escape Earth to find a home where they can be themselves.

Superman encounters the couple once more many years down the road. Bizarro -- now called Bizarro #1 -- had gotten his hands on a version of the duplicate ray and created an entire race of Bizarros, who reside on a cubicle planet call Htrae (Earth spelled backwards). Bizarro #1 and Lois #1 were the parents of a child who is gifted with super powers, but also appears to be completely human. The Bizarros consider the child to be a freak of course, and becomes a catalyst for a brief war between Earth and Htrae. Later on, back on Earth, Bizarro confronts Superman once again, having gained new powers such as freeze vision. He unsuccessfully makes an attempt to kidnap Lois Lane. He briefly joins the Secret Society of Super Villains to battle the Justice League of America and Captain Comet.

In the Post-Crisis world, Lex Luthor once again sets out to destroy Superman by creating a clone of the hero. But, not knowing that Superman is actually an alien, the results are flawed and he has the Bizarro disposed of. The clone, having survived the ordeal, is mute and posses little intelligence and vague memories of Clark Kent's life. Once again, he attempts to mimic the Kryptonian and kidnaps Lois Lane. The Clone is destroyed in a mid-air collision with Superman.

In a more recent depiction, Bizarro is actually a creation of the Joker. This version possesses all of the powers that Superman wields, but with a child-like mentality and method of speech. He was created when the Joker high-jacked the powers of the 5th dimensional imp Mr. Myxzptlk. An alternate version of Earth was created called Jokerworld -- a perfect cube with Joker's image depicted on each side-- and Bizarro is deemed the planet's greatest hero and the leader of the newly formed JLA (Joker's League of Anarchy).  Bizarro is eventually confronted and captured by General Zod , who proceeds to beat and torture him, based simply on the idea that Bizarro resembles his opposite, Superman. Eventually, Superman rescues the captured Bizarro and in order to help him adjust to the newly re-balanced Earth, the hero helps Bizarro rebuild his "Graveyard of Solitude."

During the "Infinite Crisis," Bizarro is duped into joining the reformed Secret Society of Super Villains by the Flash baddie Zoom.  In the midst of the battle with the Freedom Fighters, he unintentionally kills the Human Bomb by hitting him repeatedly so that he can view the sparks of light that are emitted from the kinetic energy of the blows. Bizarro has had several run-ins with his former Secret Society ally Solomon Grundy. One of the most impressive of these meetings was during Blackest Night, when Bizarro confronted the Black Lantern version of Grundy and destroys him by flying into the heart of the sun.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I don't feel that Bizarro could hold a film as the sole baddie and would work great as a pawn for someone higher up. An obvious choice would be Lex Luthor and I think the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" story line, or a variation of it would be a great introduction. We know that Luthor will eventually find his way into the newly rebooted franchise, and I'm thinking that a few films in, Bizarro could find his way on-screen. I know that we have seen a version of Bizarro in Superman III, but (forgive me if I'm wrong, it's been a while since I've seen the film) he was more of an "evil" side of Superman that he was forced to repress rather than a flawed clone. The approach to this story and character could be handled in numerous fashions, but I'd like to see Superman face Bizarro reluctantly, almost having pity for the child-like doppelgänger, knowing that Bizarro isn't responsible for his creation or his actions and battle him only to put him out of his misery. I know it's an odd approach, but I think it could work pretty well. ALong the same lines, I'm not looking for Bizarro to be wearing a sign around his neck with his name emblazoned on it, and I definitely don't want him portrayed as a half-wit; rather a meek and confused being that is only doing what he is told.

Now, I had a difficult time coming up with who to cast for Bizarro. At first, I thought that whoever is playing Superman, such as Henry Cavill, could play both parts; it is a clone after all. But in looking at images of Bizarro, he's never really been an exact duplicate of Superman; he's always depicted differently, in a more 'bizarre' fashion so to speak. As I was searching through images and actors, I came across one that will likely cause an uproar, but hear me out on this one. Kellen Lutz, most known for his roles in the teen phenom Twilight Saga films, would be a very intriguing choice for Bizarro. I recognize the fact that he is not a strong actor but he has a look that is quite angular and different if with a bit of modification, he could be made into a rather imposing character. Along with that, both he and Cavill stand at about 6 feet and have a similar build and could mirror each other quite well. Back to the acting thing for a bit. If you watched Tarsem Singh's recent film Immortals, Kellen Lutz played the role of Poseidon and in this role, he had very few speaking parts,, but he was able to do the role justice by his imposing size and demeanor, characteristics that you'd expect from Bizarro. My mind isn't totally set on Lutz for the role, but I think it would be a different choice, and an unexpected choice. What other actors would like to see in the role? Would you rather see the character done in CGI? Talk to me!

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:"
Mr. Sinister
Ultron
Kingpin
Black Tom Cassidy
Omega Red
Brainiac
The Shade
Harley Quinn
Ventriliquist & Scarface
Darkseid
Lady Deathstrike
Morbius
Ares
The Sentinels
Apocalypse
Electro
Deathstroke
Carnage
Lobo
Doctor Doom
Solomon Grundy
Jane Doe
Thanos


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37 Comments
nowtheresaBATman - 2/25/2012, 3:50 PM
Lutz is a good pick for Bizzaro.
tripttwe - 2/25/2012, 4:01 PM
I JUST said this shit at work the other day (shout out to Jeremy P.)!!! I think he & Mr.Mxyzptlk would be the perfect one two punch. Give Biz the serious/confused approach, while Mxyzptlk could handle the riddle/comedy side, but they are equally dangerous foes that never let up on Supes. It could work and FINALLY get us out of the rehashed villains of Superman films...
SKetCH - 2/25/2012, 4:03 PM
Bizarro could work as the sole villain in a film. Just treat him like a lost, violent puppy trying to find his way... Creating his own "Low-es" as he attempted in, I believe, Bizarro World.

Make the audience actually feel for the big brute but then slap the audience in the face when he abruptly kills someone. I think it would be gold.
Ha1frican - 2/25/2012, 4:05 PM
Bizzaro would only work if you had someone like Luthor pulling the strings, otherwise you just get 2 hours of them knocking each other through buildings
95 - 2/25/2012, 4:13 PM
These are always a good read.

They should do Bizarro, sometime.

But I want to see Metallo, overall.
ecksmanfan - 2/25/2012, 4:15 PM
@SuspenseSmith- He is on my list! And I agree, he's got to show up in the 3rd film.
CaptainObvious - 2/25/2012, 4:17 PM
@SuspenseSmith- Don't worry. I'm sure they will just have Iron Man fighting another Iron Man. *Sighs*
DEATHbyEXILE - 2/25/2012, 4:18 PM
Equivocal - 2/25/2012, 4:21 PM
bizarro.....
really ?

I think he works fine as comic charcater or cartoon, other than that I think he's just too
cartoon-ey

LOL
DCnerd46 - 2/25/2012, 4:43 PM
Superman has such a great, underrated rogues gallery. It's annoying that the films always go w/ Luthor or Zod, I'd love to see Bizarro in a movie some day. People are very closed-minded when they say that some characters don't work in film.
nowtheresaBATman - 2/25/2012, 4:50 PM
@CovertAvenger lol that's awesome
soberchimera - 2/25/2012, 5:05 PM
Maybe if they made Bizarro more evil rather than stupid he would make a better villain. But all I see him as is Superman's mentally challenged cousin and some people might find that offensive. I'd rather see Metallo or Parasite more than a Superman doppelganger which we already saw in Superman III and IV.
tripttwe - 2/25/2012, 5:11 PM
@ SKetCH- I like the way you think Bub...
HellsHammer - 2/25/2012, 5:22 PM
I thought an animated CGI film was in the works
superbatspiderman - 2/25/2012, 5:23 PM
I think Bizzaro would be a great villain if they did him right and not the mentally retarded villain. I would want him to be evil like the Smallville version which I thought was awesome.
MrCameron - 2/25/2012, 5:27 PM
Great article, as usual. For the nest edition of Baddies That Need Movie Love, I suggest Kraven the Hunter, my favorite Spiderman villain.
TheSonGoku - 2/25/2012, 5:31 PM
Bizarro seems like a Tim Burton character. Not sure how he would work if Snyder chose to use him.
comicbookjerk - 2/25/2012, 5:49 PM
I love this article it just needs more pictures I think bizarro is one of the coolest bad guys to look at hes so funny looking but he also can look evil at the same time
Jolt17 - 2/25/2012, 6:17 PM
I actually really like the character, but indeed, it will be quite tough to bring him to the big screen! But again, I'd really love to see him in the upcoming movies...I just don't have any idea of how yet.
raspedoits - 2/25/2012, 6:22 PM
Guys! Bizarro is not evil.....he never was! He has all the same powers as Superman, but he has the IQ of a walnut! Thats genius! And on top of that, HE THINKS HE'S SUPERMAN!! That too is genius! He thinks the real Superman is the fake one. Bizarro will try to save peoples lives but instead will accidentally kill them not knowing his own strength. He's like a dumb kid! Trust me! You dont want Bizarro saving your life! He'll kill you! Bizarro is not evil but yet he is destructively dangerous & needs to be stopped by Superman at all costs. You talk about an awesome storyline! You talk about psychological drama. Bring in Bizarro!
raspedoits - 2/25/2012, 6:24 PM
And of course, Luthor will be pulling Bizarros strings decieving him telling him to "kill the imposter". Bizarro would be the perfect villain!
KoonEl - 2/25/2012, 6:57 PM
I think that he works as a creature that Lex makes to be his personal Superman. I would like a combination of Superman: Doomsday, the Smallville version, and the Superman the Animated Series version. I don't think that he can work well on screen as the Hulk in a superman costume, but dumber. A showdown like the end of Superman: Doomsday would be awesome, but with Bizarro having a twisted/monstrous personality.
SpideyQuad - 2/25/2012, 7:33 PM
Um…… sorry guys, I'm not buying it. Bizarro would just be rehashing Superman 3. There's too many good stories to go over before rehashing old ones, crappy ones at that.

Superman needs to be huge and epic. The only right way to treat the character is with a tight trilogy filmed all at once much like Peter Jackson did. What storyline, I don't know but I feel it needs to be cosmic in scope. Not dwelling on anyone villain. I truly hope they have at least a trilogy map out for “the Man of steel”, and I hope the movie can stay away from the Warner Brother kiss of CBM death.
thewolfx - 2/25/2012, 7:52 PM
look if they dont bring [frick]in brainiac to the screen i will go postal on sumbody!


hes supermans greateast threat


im tired of luther and zod

bring on supermans real foes


brainiac

doomsday

lobo

mongul

darksied

parasite

bizzaro
SamHell - 2/25/2012, 8:11 PM
like to see it happen in the next film, but not by himself
Scooby - 2/25/2012, 8:15 PM
Yeah, I agree, Bizarro can't be the main villain - he has to be tied into some other plot of a bigger villain or he could be a short side note or something. He is too dimensionless to carry a whole movie.
Joker1Zero - 2/25/2012, 9:43 PM
I wrote a fanfic a while back for a new superman trilogy and the second movie had Bizarro in it as a villain. Check out the link, it's pretty cool:

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/SuperHeroStories/news/?a=5672
6of13 - 2/26/2012, 4:50 AM
Nice write up Ecksy
I agree and in fact I wrote an article saying similar things i.e. Bizarro is the brawn being manipulated by someone else and Lex is more than ideal.
Bizarro represents the idea of unrestrained and uncontrolled power and actually I think this notion gives the concept of Bizarro alot of depth. It's not really about Bizarro's intelligence (or lack thereof) but what happens when you have phenmonal power being used without restraint.

Bizarro is a villain that truly shows Superman for who he is and accentuates his qualities.
bizzarro - 2/26/2012, 5:47 AM
YES YES YES .ME WANT IN MOVIE.
Hawksblueyes - 2/26/2012, 6:52 AM
Great write up ecks. I think if you continue writing like this, you could make editor.
GreendaleHumanBeing - 2/26/2012, 7:46 AM
I could see Bizarro working as a failed attempt by Lrx Luthor to clone Superman. The design would need to be changed so that he doesnt look ridiculous but it could work.
SpideyQuad - 2/26/2012, 7:48 AM
Oops CORRECTION ERECTION, meant Superman 4 obviously. Hard to tell one bad movie from another sometimes.
JackDexx - 2/26/2012, 10:47 AM
the new official superman pic looked like bizzaro
SymbioteJoker - 2/26/2012, 11:11 AM
You know how Nick Cage always wanted to play superman? Why not let him be bizarro instead lol
ecksmanfan - 2/26/2012, 11:13 AM
@Hawks- Someday...I will reach that goal.
MandaloreCayn - 2/26/2012, 5:20 PM
Honestly one of the only villains t=from DC that needs a movie is Lobo or Deathstroke.
CrowPirate1 - 2/27/2012, 5:50 AM
See, at least with Bizarro, we would have a bad guy with Superman's strength level, so it would be a real fight.

Hard to make a good movie around the strongest alien in the world that flies, has unbreakable skin, super strength, heat vision, etc.... With a smart bald human as his arch enemy.

I know.. people will disagree, but, he's frickin Superman. Have a villain he can take out a city fighting!!

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