Doctor Doom has been on my brain for several weeks now. I've been thinking about his portrayal in Fantastic Four (2005) and what a travesty it was. I thought the movie was a decent, enjoyable little bit of escapism, but the way Doom was presented was one of the biggest wastes of a great character in movie history.
Image: Fantastic Four #247, October 1982(drawn by John Byrne) Copyright Marvel Comics
Here you had the most powerful and feared villain in the Marvel Universe being portrayed as a some sort of whiny, petulant, businessman. I assume Fox Corp. still owns the rights to the character- a deal I'm sure Marvel is regretting. Oh, how I bet the folks at Marvel Studios wish they had him to use in one of their upcoming Avenger movies.
In a perfect world, where Marvel Studios owned Doom and had all the right pieces in place, the good Doctor could be presented as one of the greatest bad guys ever. I envision him on screen as sort of the way he's being depicted in the current run of The Fantastic Four comic as written by Mark Millar, and in line with his creator's (Jack Kirby) vision- a brilliant but absolutely ruthless dictator of a small Eastern European country that he hijacked to use as his base of operations. He would have the world's greatest technological experts under his control and would use his minions to carry out the dirty work of destroying the world's superheroes- all the while, plotting his strategy of world domination from his mountaintop retreat. As a bonus, you could throw in a heap of psychological subtext dealing with his hideously disfigured features and their effects on his view of the inferior rabble upon which he gazes.
As a screen villain, I firmly believe Doom has the potential to make Darth Vader and Lex Luthor look like boy scouts if the screenwriter, director, and actor were given free reign. Will we ever see a Doom on screen that truly does justice to his supreme awfulness? Right now, the outlook is very doubtful. I think it would take a miracle for all the pieces to fall into place for the ultimate Doom movie to happen. If you've heard any rumors, please do tell.