With the continuing massive success of Marvel's movie universe culminating in "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises," Hollywood isn't going to stop making superhero movies anytime soon.
But for every hero who's ready for his or her close-up, there are a handful that we just can't see working on the big screen. The HitFix editorial staff narrowed down the list to 10 superheroes who really don't need their own movie.
Kal-El's cousin already had one shot at the big screen in the classic 1984 camp-fest "Supergirl" and it was a critical and commercial disaster (it was also the death knell in Fay Dunaway's legitimate movie career).
Films such as "Tomb Raider," "Wanted" and "Underworld" have proven that female-driven action or Sci-Fi films can be monster hits in the 21st Century, but the Maid of Might? Not only is DC Entertainment busy attempting to get Superman off the ground again with "Man of Steel," but Warner Bros. has spent decades trying to figure out how to bring "Wonder Woman" to the big screen. A "Supergirl" movie would only make sense if "Man of Steel" brings in "Avengers" like grosses.
In fact, Kara Zor-El will be lucky to appear in a future "Justice League" sequel' (now that's an idea)
2. Nick Fury
When writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Bryan Hitch brought Nick Fury into the alternate Marvel Universe title "The Ultimates" in 2002 they did something truly inspired. Instead of making their Fury close to Marvel's WWII hero and S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy from the 60's, they based him on none other than Oscar nominee and current Olympics twitter maestro Samuel L. Jackson.
The incarnation was such a hit that when Kevin Fiege and the Marvel Studios team began their own movie universe for the company they recruited Jackson (who had been campaigning for the role) to actually play a character that was based on himself. Jackson has been up to the task appearing a slew of Marvel Studios films beginning with a post credits cameo in the first "Iron Man".
The problem is he's 63-years-old and, no offense to the former "Shaft," but it was clear even in "The Avengers" that he can't do action like he used to (hey, it happens to all of us, well, except Stallone). Now, will Marvel do a movie centered on Fury once Jackson has passed the baton to another actor? Possibly, but we just don't think a Jackson-centric solo Fury flick can work at this point in his career.
3. Wonder Woman
When Warner Bros. turns down drafts that are as faithfully rendered as the Laeta Kalogridis draft and the Joss Whedon draft, it's time to admit that they are too scared of the overall iconography of Wonder Woman to ever successfully turn her into a standalone franchise hero.
This is not a case of no one ever writing the right script. They've done that several times now. This is a case of a mythology that is inherent to the character that Warner Bros. simply can't imagine supporting a series.
Wonder Woman has historically had a hard time in the comic market supporting her own title as well, and while she is definitely one of the most iconic and recognizable of DC's creations, it seems like the most successful versions are almost always defined by who she's with and how she fits into a team.
We don't think it's impossible to make a good Wonder Woman movie, but if Warner is uncomfortable with everything that defines who she is and where she came from, then it's better they not make one at all than make one that redefines her so completely that she's no longer really Wonder Woman.
After being the subject of a running joke on "Entourage" and the focus of an abandoned CW series, it seems that the maritime muscleman just don't get no respect.
In the comics, several attempts have been made through the years to make the old-fashioned hero a little edgier (he has long hair! He has a hook for a hand!), but seemingly nothing can make Aquaman a marquee movie star.
5. Martian Manhunter
Warner Bros. Animation has done a great job of making Martian Manhunter feel like he fits neatly into the world of the Justice League over the past few versions of the show, and today's kids probably have a better understanding of the character than comics readers of the past. What the show has done so well, though, is show how he fits into this team, and he works best when he has "normal" humans to play off of.
He is an observer, and without other people to observe, he's less interesting. He brings an unusual set of powers to the team, which also makes him a nice fit for the Justice League, and while we hope they include him in the film, we also hope they leave him there, on the team, instead of trying desperately to squeeze a solo film out of him.
If that film fails, it will sour Warner on the character, and we'd rather have him in the team than completely left out of film altogether.
First thing's first - we want a solid Superman film before Warner Bros. begins mining the hero's extensive iconography for any sort of spin-off series. Besides, despite enduring but inconsistent popularity in the DC universe, audiences have just seen the Superboy story too many times before.
They saw it in Richard Donner's 1978 film, in the late '80s TV series and in more than ten seasons of "Smallville." The bigger problem, however, is that DC has just rebooted Superboy (for the second time in two decades) and he's not a younger version of Kal-El.
He's a partial clone of Kal-El and another alien race. It's an incredibly complex origin readers still aren't sure of which makes a movie version even more difficult to pull off.
One of DC's second-tier characters, Hawkman has never had much success being adapted into other media. The latest attempt was a clumsy introduction on "Smallville," with a costume that was widely ridiculed on the Internet.
However, while Cartoon Networks' "Justice League Unlimited" turned his winged compatriot Hawkgirl into a viable and multifaceted character, translating either one of the alien heroes into a big budget live-action film would be extremely expensive for such a little-known property.
Although it could be pretty cool to bring the DC universe back into outer space after the disappointing "Green Lantern," maybe it's best to keep this bird grounded.
8. Power Pack
On paper it seems like a Hollywood studio executive's dream. Four brothers and sisters - all under the age of 12 - awarded superpowers by a dying alien. They fight an evil alien reptilian race (Snarks) and interact with adult superheroes all while keeping their new identities secret from mom and dad.
The problem is, what made the "Power Pack" comic so popular and successful in the mid-80's was that it wasn't afraid to tackle serious issues and it had a very scary dark side. It wasn't the cutesy series the Pack's costumes made it out to be.
Moreover, the list of successful CG-fueled kids fantasy movies (as a Pack movie would need to be) over the past decade are few and far between ("Harry Potter" and "Chronicles of Narnia" excluded).
DC's Captain Marvel has been part of their animated series and consumer efforts for years, but with the advent of the comic division's New 52 continuity reboot that hero is now gone. Don't feel bad for young Billy Batson though, he's still got the big golden lightening bolt emblazed on his chest but he's now going by Shazam instead.
A movie based on the character has been in development with a number of different studios over the years, but it's never gotten off the ground. The new origin has tried to differentiate Shazam's powers by making him less like Superman (which has always been an issue creatively), but his fantastical magic origin in a modern day context may be too huge leap for moviegoers. Considering that "Green Lantern" couldn't creatively pull it off, Shazam, like Supergirl, may be a character that needs to find its footing in another film first.
Any other X-Men Sure, they're gearing up right now to make the second stand-alone Wolverine movie, but we sincerely hope Fox retires this "X-Men Origins" brand name and abandons the notion of a whole bunch of single mutant movies. One of the things that defines the X-Men is the notion of taking all of these broken, weird, damaged individual characters and building them into a team.
Watching how they solve the issues inherent to teamwork is part of what makes the X-Men so great, and while it's nice to get an occasional glimpse of the characters by themselves in downtime, doing solo films sounds like a recipe for redundancy.
There's nothing we gain from seeing them by themselves that we couldn't also learn by watching them as a group, and in a group, you can tell stories about how all of these individual quirks and weaknesses can become strengths because of the way they complement one another in terms of power and personality.
Once Fox shows that they can make great X-Men movies every time out, then maybe we can revisit the idea of solo films, but until then, focus on the main asset you have and really get great at it.