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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.
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The Toxic Avenger Part 2

The Toxic Avenger Part 2 1989

Since The Toxic Avenger was Troma’s first real hit, it’s no surprise that it became a sequel, and when that sequel originally ended up being over 4 hours long, it turned into 2 sequels. There are a large number of changes from the first movie to the second. Almost the entire cast was changed up, everyone from Toxie’s mother and girlfriend to Toxie himself, even being changed within the movie. The tone more or less remains the same gore-filled action comedy with hammy acting and cartoonish sound effects, though I didn’t have as much fun watching this one as I did the first one. I think they realized what they had and tried too hard to recreate it, giving it a much less charming feel to it. There’s also some odd choices in budget, while it feels like they spent more time or money on Toxie’s makeup, the fake eye moves occasionally, and there are some added effects used later in the movie. And yet there also seems to be less money spent on the other effects. A few people get shot, but there are no gunshot wounds or any blood at all, and the gory death scenes felt much tamer and sillier. If there wasn’t also a larger amount of nudity, I would almost think that they were considering to aim for a PG-13 rating. There are still some laughs to be had, but it’s far less entertaining on the bad movie scale.
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The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger 1984

A lot of B-movie fans, and especially horror B-movie fans likely know the name Troma. It’s a small company that’s churned out a whole lot of low budget films over the years with titles like Yeti: A Love Story, Surf Nazis Must Die!, and Killer Condom. But before doing horror movies, they mainly did sex comedies. The Toxic Avenger was more or less their first foray into horror, even though it’s not what anyone would call full blown horror, it has the death scenes and blood and gore which is a staple of these kinds of horror movies. And it was a success… eventually. It wasn’t quite the slow burn that the Rocky Horror Picture Show would become, but it found a foothold as a midnight movie and is considered a cult classic. Heck, there was even a children’s cartoon of it. As for my own experience with Troma films, I know I was familiar with the Toxic Avenger, but I can’t for the life of me remember exactly how. I think I watched at least one of the films when I was younger, and I know I caught some of the episodes of the cartoon. I also watched Tromeo and Juliet, which was directed by the James Gunn who would later go on to direct Super. But my knowledge of Toxie had mostly faded when he came back on screen in all his cheesy glory. This is a cult movie for a lot of the same reasons the Room is a cult movie. The acting is horrible, the effects are obviously cheap but brutal (for the time at least), but in the end, I had a blast.
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The Pumaman

The Pumaman 1980

I had never heard of this movie before starting this site and accumulating my big list of superhero movies to watch. And on top of that, I only recently found out that it was also an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which I did end up watching shortly after watching this movie proper. It’s a low budget movie produced in Italy about a hero with the blood of the Aztec gods running through his veins. But what it really amounts to is that this giant Aztec man gives him an ugly belt which gives him an ugly costume and the abilities of the Pumaman. This allows him to shred metal with his mighty claws like a puma, see in the dark like a puma, slow his heartbeat to feign death like a puma, fly like a puma, even teleport… like a puma. And there has to be a big bad villain to this whole story, which ends up being this weird bald guy who dresses like he’s in a bad sci-fi movie using an Aztec mask to put people under mind control.

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Sting of the Black Scorpion

Sting of the Black Scorpion 2002

This is one of the many rarities and lesser known straight-to-DVD superhero movies I found at my local rental store’s bargain section. It is actually three episodes of the Roger Corman produced television series on the Sci-Fi channel called Black Scorpion. I looked it up and the show ran for only 22 episodes and spawned one other movie called “Return of the Black Scorpion” which was released a year before this one, but I couldn’t tell if it was a newly made epilogue for the TV series, or if it was a similar collection of episodes. There was also two made for TV movies several years before featuring the same characters, and with Roger Corman attached to it. But I couldn’t find much more information on them either. This show is rather akin to the classic Adam West Batman TV series, although it feels like it’s almost trying to be a serious show. Where Batman was almost nonstop camp and silliness, this movie plays sometimes for laughs, and sometimes more seriously. And it also has Frank Gorshin, who played the Riddler, as Clockwise.

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Return of Captain Invincible

Return of Captain Invincible 1983

This isn’t quite the start of my new schedule just yet. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I know I’ll be watching another movie this weekend and I’ve got a promising new Superhero Shorts interview lined up, I think it’s a pretty good one. But for now I’ll just talk about this awesome 80’s movie that Morgan over at Morgan on Media pointed out to me. It’s called Return of Captain Invincible and it’s an 80’s, musical, superhero comedy. You heard that right. Not only that, but it stars Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee. It has a very Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe to it and it is extremely ludicrous. The songs range across a wide variety of styles and quality, and there is a surprising amount of Benny Hill-ish shirt-bursting moments, and even some brief nudity, which actually surprised me a bit, I always forget that ratings back then were actually more lenient on PG ratings. The movie overall was quite enjoyable for me, and for a couple days at least you can see my live tweets while I was watching the movie, covering some of the better moments.

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FTMN Poll: What’s your favorite type of “bad” movie?

Bad movies, some of them are hard to watch, but others transcend that barrier to become a real treat. I just got done watching several that I totally didn’t like and will shortly be moving on to a few that I predict I will enjoy a whole lot more, so I have to ask “What kind of ‘bad’ movies do you like the best?” Is it the ones that are cheesy and campy which make the bad jokes incredibly charming? Or is it the ones that try to take themselves seriously, but are either so over the top or just cheaply made that their piss poor efforts are hilariously bad? Vote, share some of your favorites, enjoy!

Superhero Movie

Superhero Movie 2008

I was hoping that this would be the last bad movie I watched for a little while, but then Morgan from Morgan on Media pointed out this bizarre 80’s Australian superhero parody musical called the Return of Captain Invincible starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee, and after I looked up the trailer, it’s making me want to get back to some more classic cheesy superhero movies. At least after I watch Dick Tracy for our upcoming podcast, As You Watch. Which I should also mention that if you want to join in, I will gladly link any reviews to Dick Tracy so you can watch along with us, your deadline to get links in to me is Monday, August 27th. But back to today’s movie. I remember it being promoted as essentially a parody of all the superhero movies that were out at the time, though it primarily focused on the original Spider-Man movie, which was pretty dated even at the time considering that Spider-Man 3 came out before Superhero Movie. All of the other Superhero movie references are all just brief one-scene cameos, though the movie does stick with only parodying Marvel properties. I wasn’t much of a fan of the style of humor either, which basically consisted of playing a scene as close to Spider-Man as possible, then throwing in a sex/fart joke at the end.

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Son of the Mask

Son of the Mask 2005

After sitting through My Super Ex-Girlfriend, I thought I’d turn this into a mini marathon of bad superhero comedies. The Specials wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t that great either. And today’s movie trumps the both of them by a longshot. It rightly has a place on my earlier list of 33 of the worst superhero movies ever made. It shares some of the same mythology as Thor, and shares some of the same backstory as the Mask, but it goes in a completely different direction to try and make it into a more kid friendly, and seemingly therefore brainless, movie. There was not a single joke that made me laugh, I did not care about any of the characters, and the cartoonish action was a stale rehash of the actual cartoons that inspired it.

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Generation X

Generation X 1996

I was all set to watch X-Men First Class to kick off my X-Men reviews, but as I was expanding my big list of movies to include home video and TV movie releases I realize that I had forgotten all about a 90’s made for TV movie called Generation X. And on top of that, what better movie to bridge the gap between old cheesy movies and the much better modern movies? So with that in mind, as well as coming off of Fantastic Four, I looked up Generation X and watched what is easily the worst X-Men movie even considering some people’s dislike of The Last Stand and Wolverine. The other thing that is pretty funny is that someone who looks back on it now makes it look like just a cheap rip off of the X-Men, although Emma Frost is a little more high profile nowadays.

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