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The Top Ten Bad Superhero Movies

After finishing up the Toxic Avenger series, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of the top ten bad superhero movies. That is to say, ten of the cheesiest, worst, and yet amazingly fun to watch superhero movies. There are no good movies on this list, but I think every single one of them are a blast to watch, even more so if you are in the company of like minded friends and/or your favorite mind-altering substance. So sit up, kick back a few cold ones, and enjoy these monuments to bad moviemaking, with capes.

10. Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck

This has the distinction of being the very first Marvel movie to be made into a feature film. It has the pedigree of George Lucas behind it, and the weirdness of duck boobs in the opening scene. It has some good ideas in it, but eventually falls into a cliched adventure movie with a weird alien duck in the lead role for some reason. It also has Lea Thompson in all her 80’s glory along with a weird/creepy duck/human romance angle. Some of the best scenes are done by villain Jeffery Jones, it’s weird, it’s goofy, it’s bizarre, but it’s also pretty fun to watch.

9. Captain America

The one I’m talking about here is the 1990 version that was almost, or kinda released in theaters then more or less locked away never to be seen again, even though the release of the Chris Evans Captain America brought back the really low budget made for TV movies, this one didn’t really get a comeback and I’m not sure why. It’s campy as anything, for sure, but the makeup effects are halfway decent and there is some genuine fun alongside the ridiculous cheese. I haven’t re-watched it since that first time, but I remember it fondly.

8. Steel

Steel

Why yes, Shaq did make a superhero movie. And yes, it’s as bad as you can imagine. But it has the benefit of having Judd Nelson and Richard Roundtree in it. Shaft jokes aside, this is a completely ridiculous movie and yet somehow they thought they were making a blockbuster. There’s nothing remotely serious, or anything that’s not cliche in it, the acting is horrible, and yet it’s impossible to look away. Nothing makes sense, and it’s hilarious to watch it unfold. And if all that wasn’t enough to laugh at, they also make plenty of free throw jokes at Shaq’s expense, including a “climactic” one involving a grenade.

7. Meteor Man

This movie is the one movie on the list that I genuinely like in a non campy way. For the most part at least. I mean, the villains are called the Golden Lords, have Don Cheadle in an early role, all have bleach blonde hair, recruit children called the Baby Lords, and have a frikkin pet tiger! But this is also the only one in this group that was actually trying to be a full blown comedy rather than trying to be a serious movie and ending up to be a comedy, or at the very least a semi-serious movie in a couple other cases. It’s got a great cast of well known comedians including Bill Cosby, and some great humor. But in the end, I do have to admit that it’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination so I begrudgingly have it on this list.

6. Pumaman

This is the only movie on this list to actually get an episode of MST3K out of the deal it’s just that bad. It’s a very low budget Italian made movie with awful flying effects, a plot that makes no sense, wooden actors spouting boring lines that don’t even make any sense. I can still never get over the fact that someone with the powers of a Puma include the ability to fly. I’m not that up on my National Geographic watching, but I’m almost positive that Pumas don’t fly. If I did count the MST3K version, this might make the top of the list, but since I’m going with the straight up version, this is where it lands.

5. Supergirl

Supergirl

Ahh Supergirl, I could have easily chosen either of the latter two Christopher Reeve Superman sequels to go here, but I decided to go with the spin-off of the series, Supergirl. The story makes no sense, the villain is ridiculous and way over the top, the special effects are laughable at best, but there are still some fun moments to be had here. Helen Slater does her best as Supergirl, but everything else in this movie just doesn’t work out to be any good.

4. The Toxic Avenger

I just got done watching the whole series of these movies, but nothing really captured the low budget cheesiness and bizarreness of the first movie. Where every actor wasn’t an actor, and every joke was accented with a cartoon sound effect. The horror elements of the movie make it feel very different than most bad superhero movies and more like the much more prevalent bad horror movies. Everything was so over the top, it’s just crazy to watch, I can just imagine the director after most takes going “faster, and with more enthusiasm!” until he got to the point that’s on screen.

3. Masters of the Universe

Masters of the Universe

This one may catch me some guff for including it as a superhero movie, since He-Man is more sci-fi/fantasy than costumed superhero, but it’s my list and there are plenty of He-Man comics out there so whatever. I also just re-watched this one recently and it’s got a low-budget/high-budget feel to it. What I mean is that there are a large number of badly done special effects, makeups, and set designs that they had to have spent a lot of money on this, but no individual piece ends up looking very good on its own. It’s got Courtney Cox in her debut role, and Dolph Lundgren being as shirtless as possible, and even Billy Barty hamming it up as some comic relief. But the showstopper is really Frank Langella going whole hog into the role of Skeletor.

2. Return of Captain Invincible

When I first heard the description of this movie, I knew it had to be horrible, horrible fun. It stars Alan Arkin as Captain Invincible who has retired as a homeless drunk in Australia, Christopher Lee as his archnemesis, and it’s a musical with some lyrics provided by Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O’Brian. The plot is ridiculous, the songs are cheesy as hell, the special effects are atrocious, but it’s a complete joy to behold. I think it’s an absolute must see if you’re a fan of cheesy bad movies.

1. Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon

This has the benefit of being given a bit of a boost when it was featured heavily in the popular movie of last year, Ted. It has massive sets, tons of costumes and special effects, but the problem is that even though it came out a couple years after Star Wars, it used special effects that looked much older and cheaper. Not only that, but the acting and plot were goofy as hell. But on the plus side, it has James Bond in it! Specifically Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin. There’s sexual themes a-plenty for it’s PG rating. And to top it all off, it’s got a soundtrack by Queen! There’s just no way you can go wrong watching this movie, and it easily makes the top of my list. Is there anything I left out? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

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About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 300 superhero and comic book movies in the past four years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on July 27, 2013, in Lists and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Great list, Bubba. While I haven’t seen all of these, I’ve seen a lot, and I agree — they’re fun, but demonstrably far from being good. And like you, I kind of liked Meteor Man as well.

  2. Yeah, you’ve corralled a good number of them. I thought you’d have Howard the Duck higher, or is that lower ;-). Fine list, bw.

    • It was tough to figure out exactly how to rank them. I ended up ranking them in order of entertainment, so in my opinion, out of these ten, Howard the Duck is the least entertaining. But all ten are bad in one way or another. Thanks for the comment and the share as always!

  3. I watched Masters of the Universe about a hundred times as a kid. Not long ago i picked it up on cheap DVD. It truly is awful in a good way. Plus Guildor looks exactly like celebrity chef and thief Anthony Worrall Thompson. What more could you want from a movie?

  4. This list is epic! Supergirl was sooooooooooooooooooo bad!

  5. Bubba how have I managed to never watch this Super Girl flick. Catwoman is not on your list and that film is pretty atrocious. O and that 1990’s fantastic four is not so good

  6. Great list. I’m glad you mentioned Puma Man – one of the greatest episodes of MST3K ever. What about Batman and Robin, though???

    • While I agree that Batman & Robin is a bad movie, I don’t think it’s all that fun to watch. I tried to make this list a combination of movies that are bad, but also fun. That one and Catwoman are definitely honorable mentions because even though I didn’t enjoy their badness as much, I’m sure others can.

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