I decided to take a look back at some of the BEST and WORST superhero movies over the years. This is one of my favorite genres so I tend to get excited every time one comes out, regardless of my familiarity with the source material. I’ll start off with the 10 Worst just to get all of that bad mojo out of the way (I have a lot of animosity toward a lot ALL of these films).
First, let’s address the parameters. To be on this list you obviously must A) Have a superhero or heroine lead? … B) be based off of a TV show, graphic novel, or comic… no video games movies… and C) Need to have been watched at least 50% of the way through. There are plenty of superhero movies deemed awful that I left off of this list, because I haven’t seen them (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Steel for example). Also, to understand how I came to my ranking, movies that might have been bad, but possessed some sort of enjoyably redeeming quality have been either ranked lower or placed in the honorable mention category. As always, I’ve included a valid explanation as to how I came to my conclusion that these movies sucked. Got it? Good… *Deep Sigh*… Here we go.
15. Batman & Robin (1997)
This may be too low on the list for some, but here me out. Think of this movie as an adaption of Adam West’s campy 1960s Batman TV show and it doesn’t seem as bad… Right? Or is that just me? Ok, being the Batman purist that I am, I managed to find enjoyment in it. That being said, it’s hard to deny how bad this movie is. From Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman’s excessively pun laden dialogue to the infamous nipples on the Bat suits, the laundry list of problems would rival any superhero movie. Let’s also take the time to thank Tom Hardy for making us forget about this…
14. Daredevil (2003)
Another movie that is terrible, but not nearly as bad as some people think. Yes, the plot is boring. Yes, Ben Affleck is a little bland. But some of the fight scenes aren’t bad. I actually enjoyed the meaningless playground scene between Daredevil and Jennifer Garner’s Elektra (more on her later). What makes this movie delve into awful territory is its cringe-worthy villains. Michael Clark Duncan (God rest his soul) is just terrible as Kingpin. And the less said about Collin Ferrel as Bullseye, the better.
13. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Some might say this movie isn’t bad. I humbly but angrily disagree. The third installment of what, up until this film, had been a great X-Men series seems to do its best to make a mockery of the previous two. Some elements might only upset purists: (SPOILER ALERT) Why do a movie about The Phoenix if you’re going to kill off her husband within the first half hour? Mystique gets “cured” and Magneto just leaves her there even though she saved him? WTF is with Quills? Is he supposed to be intimidating? Why is Angel in a costume in all of the posters and promotional material, when he is only in the movie for about fifteen minutes and does next to nothing? There may be cool parts in the film, but not nearly enough to keep this movie from being a disappointment. And yet… it’s not even remotely the worst third films in a trilogy on this list.
12. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Raise your hand if you finished watching the first Fantastic Four and were immediately ready for a sequel… “Don’t worry, I’ll wait” in my best Katt Williams voice. Yes, Silver Surfer is pretty cool and is basically a spot on interpretation of the comic book version. But, there is literally nothing else worth mentioning about this movie. Absolutely nothing. Here’s hoping the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four can get the series back on track.
11. Superman Returns (2006)
The fact that this movie got better reviews than Zach Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s Man of Steel just blows my mind! Really!? Go back and watch it… It is the most bland super hero movie ever made. 1) Brandon Routh is mind numbingly stoic even for a character as dull as Clark Kent. 2) Lex Luthor’s evil plan is to create real estate? What? 3) Superman doesn’t throw a single punch the entire film. 4) Lois Lane, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist, asks her boss “How many f’s in ‘catastrophic’?” 5) Kumar from Harold and Kumar kicks Superman’s ass. 6) Superman doesn’t even beat Lex Luthor. After stabbing Supes with kryptonite, Luthor leaves and his helicopter runs out of gas (-_-) 😑 7) A plot that involves Superman being Lois’ baby daddy. Seriously… Bryan Singer turned down X-Men 3 for this??
10. Ghost Rider (2007)
Let’s be real about the situation here. Nicholas Cage is no Christian Bale when it comes to acting talent. He pretty much plays himself in every movie. And yet, he’s not even this movie’s biggest problem. What is, you ask? That’d probably be a three-way tie between the stale plot, weak special effects, and corny, pun-filled dialogue. If a movie with Eva Mendes makes you want to leave early, then there’s a serious problem.
9. Fantastic Four (2005)
“That’s it?” Those were literally my first words after the credits started rolling. Forget the fact that Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman and Julian McMahon as Doctor Doom are two of the worst casts ever. This movie is awful for the simple fact that there’s barely anything in the movie other than them playing with their superpowers for 2 hours. Well, that and dialogue lines like…
Dr. Doom: “Sue, let’s not fight.”
Invisbile Woman: “No, Let’s”
… Cue fight scene followed by mass audience face palms.
8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
I imagine the preliminary meetings for this movie went like this… “Hey everyone, let’s just throw a bunch of random mutants that we haven’t used yet, like Gambit and Blob, into an X-Men movie and make Wolverine the main character!” (as if Hugh Jackman didn’t get enough screen time in the first three X-Men movies). This prequel manages to be both unfaithful to both the comics and the original trilogy. There’s so many head-scratchingly unnecessary and over the top moments. But perhaps the worst thing about it is the end… a lamely choreographed fight scene between Wolverine, Sabertooth and some thing calling itself Deadpool.
7. Hulk (2003)
Quick true story: In the summer of 2003, while on vacation in Virginia Beach, my uncle asks if I wanted to see Hulk. We needed to kill time while my sister, aunt, grandmother and mother went shopping. I told him it looked bad from the trailers, but he (a Hulk fan) was adamant about seeing it so I said why not. Roughly two and a half hours later, I made him give me my money back. Weak acting, the Hulk himself defying even comic book laws of physics, battles with a mutated poodle, and a villain that is both confusing and forgettable are just the bullet points of problems with this movie. Hard to believe it was directed by the great Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Life of Pi).
6. Spider-man 3 (2007)
No movie on this list pisses me off more than this one. Mainly because it is one of the most disappointing sequels to a great movie ever (X-Men 3 can stake its claim too). *Sigh* where do I start…
2) In Part One, Peter becomes Spider-man because he feels guilt for letting the man that would eventually kill his uncle, get away. Thus this movie revealing that Sandman was Uncle Ben’s real killer completely undermines the plot of the first movie! That’s like Bruce Wayne finding out his parents weren’t dead but only in a coma… TWO MOVIES LATER! Lazy writing at its best.
3) After wrecking the entire city and more than likely killing a bunch of people, Spider-man lets Sandman go free because he apologizes??? Dude… WTF!?
4) Toby Maguire’s crying face.
5) Harry Osborne’s butler telling him that his father’s death in Part One was not Spider-man’s fault. What!? You mean he’s known this the whole time and is just now saying something? Harry’s been trying to kill Spider-Man for two movies and now you tell him!?
6) Apparently the venom symbiote needs no explanation as to where it comes from.
7) Bryce Dallas Howard, a beautiful and amazing actress, is utterly pointless in this movie
8) The biggest superhero movie sin of all time. Peter doing THIS while being infected by the “evil” Venom symbiote…
5. The Green Hornet (2011)
Remember what I said about having to have seen at least 50% to qualify for this list? This movie based on the 1960s TV show and early 1940s comic, barely made the cut. I actually fell asleep while watching it… and that’s saying something considering I’ve stayed awake during 3 hour silent films. James Franco’s early cameo is funny, but after that this movie is just stupid and irrelevant.
4. The Last Airbender
Was a huge fan of the Nickelodeon series. Even bigger fan of the current spinoff Legend of Korra. So, like most fans, I not only hyped up the film version, but also dragged my not-so familiar friends to the midnight premier. Never been so embarrassed after a movie in my life. They were looking at me like I’d just driven my car through their bedrooms. How exactly does one man ruin critically acclaimed source material? Easy… terrible casting, trying to cram too much into one script, and destroying the best element from the TV show (the fight scenes) by going overkill with the slow motion. Seriously. F@&* you M.Night Shymalan.
3. Elektra (2005)
The other movie on this list that barely qualifies. I had to go back and read the movie’s plot summary to make sure I’d actually seen at least 50% of it (I left the theater before it was over… after not even paying to see it). This movie is every aspect of bad from the plot to the paper thin supporting cast. But the biggest question is… WHY? Why was this made? Who the hell thought Daredevil was so good that its female lead deserved a spinoff? It’s nearly impossible to even care about this movie. Jennifer Garner doesn’t even look like she wants to be involved. It’s so unwatchable that you don’t even want to watch it to make fun of it.
2. Dragonball Evolution (2009)
Almost forgot about this one didn’t you? Yea, so did I. But Goku is a superhero, so yea, this counts. That there is a movie worse than this is pretty mind blowing. Horrendous casting coupled with special effects that make this movie look like something made in 1996 and sent straight to Home video are just the major gripes. This movie single handedly made me forever hesitant to watch any adaption of anything ever (Book, Cartoon, Comic, whatever). If you’re not going to make it watchable, then it just shouldn’t be done. No movie adaption of perhaps the best anime of all time would’ve been better than this lazy piece of crap.
Drum roll please…
1. Catwoman (2004)
Ahhh yes. The king, or queen, of not just bad superhero movies, but bad movies in general. In my best Heath Ledger Joker voice, “Where do we begiiin”…
1. Production value so bad, that after first watching this movie at my friend’s house on DVD, I thought I’d just seen a bootleg.
2. A Catwoman suit that looks like a Halloween costume.
3. I’ve never seen it more than once… and it’s got HALLE BERRY wearing a catsuit in it!
4. A soundtrack that sounds like it was made by one of Paula Abdul’s backup dancers.
5. Alex Borstein (Lois from Family Guy) as Catwoman’s chubby and unnecessary friend.
6. Sharon Stone as a villain with deadly cosmetics? Uhh… ok?
7. A spinoff of Batman… and yet it contains not one single reference to Batman or even Gotham City.
8. Benjamin Bratt
9. What’s up with the old lady who knows about Catwomen throughout history?
10. Why are there Catwomen throughout history?
11. Wait… Catwoman has powers in this movie?
… and last but not least…
12. Selina Kyle is almost always Catwoman in pretty much every version of the character: original comic, multiple animated series’, 1992 movie, and 2012 movie. And yet writers and producers felt it necessary to completely make up a brand new character?? Like really…. Who the hell is Patience Phillips?? WHY!?
The Spirit: It’s horrible. But it does have Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johannson, and Paz Vega in it
Green Lantern: Boring and forgettable, but not terrible. Although if the list would’ve went to 16…
Iron Man 3- (spoiler alert) Mandarin is a fake and Iron Patriot/War Machine doesn’t do anything
The Punisher – John Trovolta was pretty lousy in this movie… and that’s hard for me to say.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Andrew Garfield’s more charismatic Peter Parker couldn’t save this lousy script filled with an excessive amount of corny villains.
Any Ninja Turtles Movie – They’re all bad, but c’mon, admit it… you like watching them
Ok… enough of that negativity. Feel free to comment below with your own argument.Thanks for reading