33 of the Worst Superhero Movies Ever Made
Now I’m not usually one to make lists for the sake of making lists. I like reading them, I find nothing wrong with them, but I just don’t want this to become something that I do a lot. So I didn’t… kinda. How this list came about is from a forum draft on a forum I’m on called Unleashed, which is a forum of mostly current and previous City of Heroes players. When I say forum draft, I’m sure there’s many people reading this that have no idea what I’m talking about. Well a forum draft is just a type of forum game, just a way to pass the time and see what other people on the forums think about different topics. Basically someone on the forum picks a topic, several people join in the draft and make their choices based around that topic. Then everyone on the forum votes for the best choice in championship style matches. So I started a draft for the worst superhero movie of all time, which is where I got this list. 11 people joined in the draft and each person chose three movies that they thought were the worst superhero movie ever, and I present them to you here in no particular order.
1. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
This is a new movie and yet it’s already garnered a lot of bad press. Nearly every review I read about this movie didn’t like it and neither did I. It suffered from a budget that was cut, Nicolas Cage doing his thing which didn’t quite work out very well, and a story that didn’t really go anywhere. The only saving grace was the 3D effects which was a big case of style over substance.
2. Spiderman 3
This is a victim of what I’ve heard called the trilogy curse, that is when the third movie of a popular series becomes turns out to be much worse than the previous two movies. There are many examples of this, with Superman III being one of the first examples. What surprised me was that this was the only one of them that made it on this list. I thought it had its flaws, but it was still an enjoyable movie.
I had never heard of this movie before so all I have to go by is the opening credits and a trailer. The little bits of animation used in it reminds me of Don Bluth more than Walt Disney, but it looks like a campy 80’s kids spy movie. I don’t imagine it’s a great film, but it’s also obscure enough that I don’t think many people have seen it.
4. The Wild World of Batwoman
One of the best things about doing drafts like these with many different people is coming across movies like this, it was so bad that it was turned into an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I doubt many people have seen it unless you count the MST3K version and I think it has a strong chance of winning the forum title.
I remember seeing this movie in the rental store shortly after it came out. It was one of the first few movies made by Marvel studios, but it tested so poorly that they released it as a straight-to-video release instead of releasing it in theaters. Judging by just the trailer it looks more like a horror movie, and I imagine they turned the concept of the character pretty far from its comic book origins.
6. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
This was the only Superman movie picked and I agree that it’s the worst of the four, there’s really no redeeming qualities about this movie and there’s not much more about it I can say that I haven’t already said in my review of it, I think it’s a pretty strong contender since it’s a well known character and it’s such a poor movie.
We’re only at number seven here and I’m running out of ways to say how bad these movies are. This was another movie that was just bad all the way through, bad acting, bad costumes, bad plot, it’s all there.
Somehow all the Superman related movies ended up right next to each other in this random list, compared to the other two this one is a work of art. About the only thing that was good about this movie was some of the costumes and the look of Supergirl herself, everything else was boring and cheesy.
9. Captain America
I’ve reviewed two different Captain America movies, and yet there was a third one. I’m honestly glad that the 1990 Cap movie didn’t make the list because while it had some flaws, I still enjoyed it. This one however was a made for TV movie and from the few clips I’ve seen of it so far, it looks horribly cheap and poorly acted, I can only guess what the plot could be like.
10. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This was one of my personal picks even though I haven’t seen it yet. It was a made for TV movie written by the hit or miss writer who worked on the likes of Blade, Ghost Rider, and Nolan’s Batman movies. I’m not sure what to think of it, but it looks like a ridiculously convoluted plot, and with David Hasselhoff playing the main character, how could it not be bad?
This isn’t the more popular, relatively speaking, Punisher starring Thomas Jane, but the late 80’s Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren. Based on the trailer it looks like just a typical action movie with no real pretense towards the actual comic book character, but honestly, it looks like it could be a fun watch on its own merit.
12. Punisher: War Zone
Another one that looks like it drops the superhero facade and becomes a generic action movie instead. But I’m all for a generic 80’s actioner over a generic 00’s actioner. This one doesn’t even have the likes of Louis Gossett Jr.
13. Batman and Robin
The last of the bad Batman movies, the culmination of the expensively cheap looking sets covered in ice, to the dozens of bad ice puns, to old man Clooney as Batman, to Alfred having a rare disease that Mr. Freeze’s wife also has, the list goes on and on.
14. Batman Forever
The start of the decline of the Batman franchise with Jim Carrey seemingly the perfect choice for the Riddler and Uma Thurman seemingly the perfect choice for Poison Ivy, and Tommy Lee Jones a great choice for Two Face, and yet they somehow managed to turn it into a giant mess.
15. Generation X
Another movie that I had never heard about and have only seen the short trailer for, but it looks like what would happen if you took the X-Men and mixed them up with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and some low budget CGI. And throw in the fact that it was made for the Fox television station and you got a real winner here.
16. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This is one movie that I don’t entirely understand all the hate for. I imagine that it’s generally looked down upon by fans of the characters that aren’t Wolverine in this movie, although there is a brief synopsis of this movie that sums it up quite nicely as 30 seconds of a guy constantly screaming. Aside from that, and the complete 180 of Deadpool, it wasn’t all that bad.
A low budget B-movie starring Lou Ferrigno as The Hulkules, I mean Hercules. It’s not exactly what I would call a superhero movie, but it wasn’t my pick, and I figured I’d be less strict since it was essentially just for fun. And where else are you going to find a mechahydra?
This is one of those picks where the movie as a whole might not be all that bad, but for fans of the comic book character, they did not treat the character with the respect he deserved. Since when does someone acting like a blind guy as his secret identity use his fighting skills sans costume?
19. The Spirit
I’m a big fan of film noir movies even though I haven’t actually seen this movie yet, I’m very curious about it. But from what I’ve heard, some of the character choices are way out there and the plot is all over the place, but I’ll find out eventually.
20. Dragonball: Evolution
I have to admit, I’ve never been a fan of Dragonball. I just plain don’t like it, and from what I understand, a big part of why people don’t like this movie is because it’s so different from the anime Dragonball. So maybe I would actually like the movie.
21. Sharkboy and Lava Girl
I haven’t seen this movie either, but I was not a big fan of the Spy Kids movies especially the fourth one which I had to watch with my daughter. It gets a little bit of a pass because it’s made for kids, and it was inspired by superheroes the director’s own kids created, but even kids don’t have to watch crap.
This was my first pick and in my opinion it has a little bit of everything that makes a bad movie. They took an existing character and changed almost everything about what makes her a good character, they made a ton of awful jokes about how she now acts like a cat, they took good actors and had them totally ham it up to make the bad dialog even worse. It’s just all around bad.
And this was my third pick in this draft, the movie took everything that could have been funny about a superhero and tried to play it seriously, and threw in a bunch of goofy jokes that didn’t fit with the genre to try and get the laughs and it just never meshed well. It was a complete mess.
24. Fantastic Four
This was never intended to be released as an actual movie, but they didn’t tell anyone that was actually working on it, so how did it manage to be such an awful piece of film? I imagine the half of a shoestring budget probably contributed the large portion of it, but they still managed to make a movie in the 90s look like it was made in the 70’s.
Another victim of being an old, low budget movie about a guy who inherits the strength, speed, and flight of a Puma… wait, what? Ok, there’s a chance that it doesn’t have anything to do with actual pumas, at least as far as I can tell from the death star looking spaceship and costume that consists of a cape in the trailer. But I could be wrong.
26. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
This was another movie that I actually personally liked, but once again it strayed very far from the very literate source material in order to make a much more mindless action movie involving a lot of special effects and action sequences. And I’m sure it helped that Sean Connery did not want to be there.
Ang Lee was an interesting choice to direct Hulk, bringing unique things into the movie that had never been done before in a superhero movie, like 24-style split screens to give it the feel of comic book panels. Unfortunately there were also giant mutant poodles and he defeats the villain by getting really really really angry.
28. Highlander 2: The Quickening
Another more unique choice to be considered as a superhero movie, but it does have several factors I mentioned when I defined what a superhero is, and not only that but it also has what many movies in this list have: a great disservice to the original interpretation of the characters. For this movie, it was taking the original movie, putting it in a sci-fi blender, and somehow this movie came out of it.
29. Masters of the Universe
I saw this movie in the 80’s, and while I didn’t think it was a great movie, or even a great He-Man, I did enjoy it at the time. Someone aptly described it as being similar to the Transformers movie where they took a toy icon, surrounded them with a bunch of random teenagers as the main characters who end up saving the world instead of the actual characters the movie is supposed to be based on.
30. Wonder Woman
before there was a great animated movie, before there was even a good television show starring Linda Carter, there was this made for TV movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby wearing an outfit that looks nothing like any Wonder Woman costume I’ve ever seen. I imagine there was a pretty good reason why they ended up changing directions and making the TV series with Linda Carter instead.
In this movie, which I call a sort of deconstruction of a superhero movie there aren’t many likable characters, the comedy doesn’t flow through the entire movie, the violence is over the top, and there are many scenes that seem to be designed to make you feel uncomfortable. Yet somehow I generally thought it was a good movie even though I’m still not sure how much I really liked it.
32. Son of the Mask
What happens when you take a movie with a fun, smart script, great comedic actors, and well done special effects, and then you make a sequel which has absolutely none of those things, plus a baby? You get the Son of the Mask, which dumbs down everything that made the original movie great, I suppose to make it more “kid-friendly” but I doubt that it’s very suitable for kids to watch either.
The spin off of another movie in this list, Daredevil, this movie has the unique distinction where they took a character and changed a lot of what made the character good in the comics for Daredevil. And THEN they changed that character into something completely different yet again for this movie. Just all around bad baddity badness.
And thankfully I’ve come to the end of the list and can stop trying to think of different ways to say “bad”. I may not agree with some of the movies on this list, and I could probably think of a few more movies that should be on this list. Tell me what you think, what do you think the worst superhero movie is? And if you want to defend a movie that’s on this list, or suggest a movie that’s not on this list I would love to hear it in the comments section right down below. Stay tuned for Thursday’s review of Sky High, and then next week I’ll be watching and reviewing all three Punisher movies, two of which are on this list. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
Posted on March 27, 2012, in Lists and tagged batman, Blog, Catwoman, list, mask? how about a blindfold, movies, so much crap I'm drowning, Superhero, worst. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
Hey Bubba, I’ve been following this blog avidly since the new year but unfortunately not had much chance to comment (moving country, buying a house, PC blew up, alien abduction… ok, not that last one) Anyway, this list of worst movies has enticed me to the keyboard.
Although I think I agree with most of those entries, maybe not as the three worst movies in superhero movie history, but yep (with my opinioned exception of LoEG, Wolverine and maybe Spidey3, of which I thought all were ok) most of them are fairly horrendous.
But there’s one entry there I wholeheartedly have to disagree with. Daredevil is most definitely one of my favorite superhero movies, and not because he was a favorite childhood comic character of mine, quite the opposite, he didn’t even make it onto the radar for me (excuse the pun!). And also not because my wife actually enjoyed it too, and for someone who hates action movies and more so, superhero related action movies, this is a bit of a shocker!
No, the reason is, I think it’s just a really good movie. I must point out at this point, I am talking about the 2005 Daredevil Directors Cut, as opposed to the 2003 Theatrical release. If people have only seen the theatrical release, this could go someway towards explaining their dislike for the movie. Apparently on it’s 2003 release, writer and director Mark Steven Johnson was immediately dissatisfied with the hack job by 20th Century Fox and began preparing the Directors Cut version which at 130 minutes long as opposed to the 2003 96 minute release, actually tells the story he wrote. He drastically cut the romance story and scenes between DD and Elektra and instead concentrated on introducing the supporting characters properly and, oh yeah, adding the actual plot that Fox seem to have elected to miss out.
In my opinion this movie has a lot going for it, well directed and written, with a completely in-character dark atmosphere (something it seems most recent superhero movies are already being given the reboot, in an attempt to capture). It’s well acted, Michael Clarke Duncan plays a very convincing Kingpin, Colin Farrell is suitably psychotic as Bullseye, and even Affleck pulls it out of the bag as the flawed but driven hero himself. Unfortunately I don’t really rate Jen Garner as an actress or Elektra as a character, but that’s just me. The action is well choreographed and believable, Daredevil not being portrayed as an untouchable god amongst men, but rather a man self trained to do what he does, which includes taking a beating on a regular basis. He even wears a costume pretty much true to the comic character, yes it’s leather and not lycra, but then lycra is for aerobics…
Another thing to mention on the subject, watch out for news on an imminent new Daredevil movie, rumored to include story by marvels marvelous Frank Miller and possible casting of Michael C Hall in the main role, famous of course for Dexter, everyone’s favorite serial killer 🙂
For me, one to add to the list would be the live action train wreck that was The Justice League of America (1997). Everything is bad about this movie, but the greatest atrocity for me is that they even attempted to make a JLA movie when they didn’t even have the movie rights to feature half of the members. What, are we to believe they work shifts? Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman were on nights that week? Ahhh…
And finally, just to add some info on Condorman. I don’t remember much about this movie other than it starred a much loved Brit actor Michael Crawford, who at the time was most famous for his socially inept and hapless character Frank Spencer (which i’m pretty sure he based his Condorman character on too) in the sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em in the mid 70’s. He was a bit of an icon in the UK but prehaps didn’t transpose over to the US. I don’t think the film was ever supposed to be taken that seriously, but none the less it’s created quite a cult following over here, Oooh Betty!
So keep up the good work Bubba, hoping I can continue to add my 2cp now and again 🙂
Glad to see you’re still around, I appreciate it. Like I mentioned, only 3 of the picks on the list were from me: Catwoman, Nick Fury, and Blankman. 10 other people picked the other 30. I also enjoyed and own the director’s cut of Daredevil, but I agree that there are some flaws to it when you look deeper. I also think Condorman looks like it could be a fun movie to watch, and I’ve heard of the Justice League movie and I agree that it’s surprising that it didn’t get picked.
Also, if you want to know which movies “won” the draft on the forums. Based on about 13 people’s opinions more or less, The Wild World of Batwoman got 4th place, the TV movie Captain America made 3rd, The Son of the Mask got 2nd, and my own pick Catwoman won the title of the Worst Superhero movie.
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