FAN CAST: If Today's Comic Book Movies Were Made In The 80's.

FAN CAST: If Today's Comic Book Movies Were Made In The 80's.

I take a look at some popular comic book characters who've recently been adapted to the screen and examine how they would be different if the films were made in the 1980's instead of today, and which actors would best suit the roles.

Adapting comic books in TV and Film has been done for a while. An early example would be the adaptions of characters like Batman and Superman in various 1940's movie serials. However, films based on comic books didn't really gain widespread mainstream success until the early 2000's when we were given films like “X-Men (2000)” and “Spider-Man (2002)”. But imagine for a second, if the popularity of comic adaptions didn't happen in the 2000's. Imagine it happened a bit earlier. Imagine it the 1980's. What would the films have been like? How would they have felt different from the current film? In the next few paragraphs I plan to take a look at various popular comic book movie franchises and how they would differ if they were produce in the 1980's instead of 2000-2014.


The 80's were a great time for movies about teenagers getting into peculiar situations. Just about every memorable movie from the 80's had a teenager as it's protagonist. Sam Raimi's “Spider-Man” was released in 2002 and was the start of a trilogy that would follow the story of Peter Parker. But Rami never really explored Peter's high school life and how it was affected by his responsibilities as Spider-Man. By the end of Raimi's first film, Peter Parker had already graduated high school. Mark Webb's 2012 film “The Amazing Spider-Man” dealt with high school issues a bit more, but still didn't go as in depth as it could have. I imagine that if Spider-Man was adapted to film in the 1980's the film more than likely would have focused quite heavily on Peter's life as a high school student and how he balances being a Superhero and a student at the same time. Problems would likely arise in Peter's family as his Aunt and Uncle notice a severe drop in his grades, which would provide some great drama for Peter at home. The film would have probably been a great coming-of-age tale.

If Spider-Man had been given a film in the 80's, I think it more than likely would have been written by John Hughes (Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and would have been directed by Hughes or possibly Howard Duetch, who directed many of Hughes's scripts. It likely would have starred various members of the 'Brat Pack' (a group of popular actors from the 80's who typically played teenagers in films, some of which were written or directed by Hughes). Just off the top of my head I could imagine someone like Matthew Broderick or Jon Cryer playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man and someone like Molly Ringwald playing Mary-Jane Watson.

The film probably wouldn't have been nearly as action-packed as what we're currently used to, but the story, character development and dialogue between characters would have been something that I'd really like to see. It's hard to say if the film would be better or worse than what we currently have, but I can definitely say it would be much, much different.

Iron Man

I don't think there is any way to top Jon Favreau's “Iron Man”. The film is witty, fun and is one of my personal favorite CBM's. But I think we would have gotten something equally as fun with an 80's cast, and 80's director and a 80's writer. Robert Zemeckis would have been a great choice for an 80's Iron Man film. Zemeckis wrote and directed the 1985 film “Back To The Future” which was a hit, spawning 2 sequels. The film had a fantastic mixture of drama, action and comedy which are all things that would be needed for a character like Iron Man.

The 1980's also saw the start of a talented young man's career with supporting roles in films like Tuff, Tuff, Less Than Zero and Weird Science. That young man was none other than Robert Downey Jr...The man, the myth, the legend. People seem to forget that he was semi-popular in the mid-80's. So, it's entirely possible that the man who currently plays everyone's favorite “Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist” could have played the very same role, back in the day.


Chris Hemsworth does a pretty amazing job of playing The God Of Thunder on screen. But imagine if someone a little different wielded that famous Hammer.

Lightning strikes a desert floor with a thunderous impact, leaving behind a massive crater. Inside the carter is a man, crouching. He wears a black, yellow and blue costume with a metal helmet, long flowing blonde hair and a hammer. The man comes to his feet, his face still masked by shadows and strands of his hair. He whips back his gold locks and reveals himself to the camera. It's Arnold friggin' Schwarzenegger playing Thor. Holy crap. I'm not gonna say anything else. I'm sure you're all sold on this idea.

The Punisher

I know Punisher already had a 1980's film and it was pretty awful. But that's because they did it wrong. First of all, you don't cast Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle. Nobody has ever walked out of a movie theater and been like “Man, this movie needed more Dolph Lundgren” just doesn't happen.

The Punisher is a character that would have been so great in an 80's film. The 80's was a decade filled with insane ultra-violence in films. A lot of people don't think about it, but films like Predator, Robocop, Terminator and many others are FILLED with tons of really well-done violence (and all with practical effects! Yay!). If you did The Punisher in a similar style as the revenge film “Death Wish” or did it in the style of an exploitation film (similar to the films poked fun at by Grindhouse, Hobo With A Shotgun) you would have, I imagine, an amazing, ultra-violent Punisher film. The kind of Punisher film everyone wants.

The 80's were a great time for film. A lot of our favorite movies are huge hits from the 80's or cult classics from the 80's. You'd be hard-pressed to find a single film-fan who doesn't have an 80's classic in their top 10. So imagine taking the feel of your favorite 80's film and merging it with your favorite comic book character. It might not be the recipe for the most amazing films, but it's definitely something I wish I could have seen.

Let me know what you think in the comments.
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