If you are anything like me, you have waiting for almost a year for the debut of Iron Man 3. We’ve been seeing trailers for months, and to have finally seen the movie my biggest hope was confirmed. Iron Man 3 was good. I was seriously nervous about it.
See, Marvel Phase 1 set a new standard for what superhero movies can be. We’ve come a long way in the last decade, and we have been treated to some real gems. Have you watched Batman Begins? It is brilliant. The first Iron Man was a huge gamble that payed off and started a train of great movies that led to the crowning jewel of superhero movies, The Avengers.
It wasn’t but a few years ago that superhero movies were…..let’s go with not great.
It’s time for a trip down memory lane folks. At Follow Networks, we are constantly writing and creating content that takes its cues and inspiration from movies and comic books, and we find ourselves talking superheros frequently. Today, we are going to give you a look at some of the worst superhero movies ever made, and let me be the first to tell you, this is quite a list. With all the recent success at the box office, the impressive amount of zeros that accompany superhero movies box office sales, and the charming good looks of RDJ, you might have forgotten about some of these instant…classics….
So here we go. The 10 worst superhero movies ever made. Hit the comments below to tell us which one you think is the worst.
10. The Meteor Man (1993)
Man gets hit in the chest with a meteor (as we all often do, amiright?) and he gains super powers to fight those who are causing trouble on the streets of his town. Holy wow. What a premise.
And guess what!? The movie sucks just as much as you might imagine that it does!!! Who could ever believe it?!?
Robert Townsend turns in a less than stellar performance surrounded by an actually very impressive cast. James Earl Jones, Don Cheadle, Eddie Griffin, Bill Cosby. So much possibility for comic gold with this group, but nothing ever really happens to give you anything close what should happen.
This was an attempt to create a superhero concept and cash in at the box-office, draw on these huge talents’ audience, and make something meaningful.
No. They wanted to make a popcorn movie. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen this movie a number of times and it has some laughs, but it should still be a part of this list.
9. My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
Right in the middle of the resurgence of popular superhero movies, you have to figure that studios are going to start trying to bring extra money in by crossing genres and creating new exciting films. Enter My Super Ex-Girlfriend. A superhero rom-com (aren’t they all in the end?).
This movie actually had a lot of things going for them. Great cast. Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson. Decent premise. Enough of a chance to be something good. Instead it gets dragged down by plenty of cheesy dialoge and a meandering story. Guy gets dumped, superhero girlfriend uses her power to punish him, superhero storyline moves in and she has to save the world. Or every Tuesday as I call it. Sort of. Maybe not.
I’ve watched this movie more times than I’m willing to admit as well (I have a soft spot for Luke Wilson) and it gives you some laughs, but it feels like an overall waste of a good concept.
8. Hulk (2003)
Ang Lee is a great director. Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, both very good. That is the end of the good with this movie. This movie is very easy to diagnose. Ang Lee directs introspective, character driven movies very well. The Hulk, as a character, does not function very well in that format. Sure, the character of Bruce Banner seems like he should do well in a story like that, but he does not. Think about it. In The Avengers, we have a reinvention of The Hulk as a character. There is some reference back to The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton version), but for the most part, it’s all new for Mark Ruffalo.
This is an origin story movie for The Hulk, but we get a lot of character motivation, some overly dramatic acting, a less than exciting series of Hulk-related mischief, and, at the end, a movie that does not stay with you very long. So much so that Marvel and it’s teams started over with The Incredible Hulk just a couple years later. Ang Lee has killed it in his career. Crouching Tiger. Brokeback Mountain. Life Of Pi. All amazing. His version of Hulk? A rare miss.
The argument you will hear people make about this movie is that it does a better job of showing the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde idea that Stan Lee originally had. There is some truth to this argument, although I think it is painted even better in The Avengers.
7. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
I want to like this movie so much. There is a DVD copy sitting 10 feet from where I write this. It’s Spider-Man. And Sam Raimi. But they couldn’t pass up on opportunities to reinvent the wheel, and they failed.
The first two Tobey Maguire had enough going for them that they worked. It was a pretty cool version of Spider-Man, it was the characters that even non-comic reading people know and find interesting. However in the third flick, we have a series of issues that come up. First, we start introducing characters that most people won’t know, which would generally be fine, but in this case we add in cheesy dialogue, a silly storyline, and so many characters that it is hard to track.
A number of characters are added to give comic fans something to chuckle at and to spark some story drama, such as the addition of Gwen Stacy and her father. The real issue comes from the fact that, I believe at last count, there are close to 700 villains in this movie. Ok, maybe three. Sandman is a great villain, but why not just let him shine on his own? Instead we have to have a new Goblin, Sandman, and fan favorite Venom. Seriously. Why would you put Venom in a movie with other villains? He is a strong enough character with enough of a following that he could pull off the movie by himself. The sheer amount of story and character make this movie tough to stomach. It also makes it easy to understand why they rebooted Spider-Man into a new franchise while in the middle of the fourth Tobey Maguire flick. The Amazing Spider-Man was three times the movie this is.
6. Generation X (TV Movie, 1996)
The X-Men have had an interesting run in the movies. X-Men, the first film with Captain Picard as Charles Xavier, was a fairly well-received movie, pretty entertaining, and spawned a couple of sequels that seemed to get progressively worse until we got X-Men First Class, which was a great film, and an exceptional X-Men film. But the X-Men had a couple other happenings. As the X-Men Animated Series was winding down it’s run (it ended in 1997) Fox made an early attempt to cash in on comic book fans with a made-for-TV movie called Generation X. Most people don’t even know this little known piece-o-crap exists.
For those unfamiliar, Generation X is a storyline from the comics that focuses on a teenage faction of the X-Men who are not mentored by Xavier, but instead by Banshee and Emma Frost (see First Class). The story focuses on Emma Frost’s former evil partner and his trying to take over the world, with the added element of teen angst, teen problems, teen sexuality, and the other things Fox was pushing back then.
The “movie” was meant to serve as a pilot, but it was not good at all. Acting, story, look, feel, it all missed horribly. That said, some of the people we talk to about comic movies list this as a guilty pleasure. Want to find out for yourself? The whole this is on YouTube.
5. Green Lantern (2011)
I will never forget seeing the first trailer for Green Lantern. Ryan Reynolds and a host of digital effects making the characters of the Green Lantern Corp look very cool and very big on a movie screen. This was it. We were finally going to get to Hal Jordan in a movie, and it was going to be awesome. Have you seen what they are able to make happen with computers these days in movies? It’s the perfect time for Green Lantern to arrive.
This movie was a throwaway, and a bust. Why? Because it was bad. All accounts from superhero fans will tell you that the writing and Reynold’s acting were decidedly not Hal Jordan. The action was big and looked good, but there was absolutely no substance. A mediocre popcorn story, poor acting when at the very least the acting needed to be enough to keep up with the digital work. At the very least, Ryan met Blake Lively, and now they are probably the best looking couple on the planet. I know a few people who enjoy this movie, but as far as superhero flicks go, it is bottom of the barrel.
4. Elektra (2005)
When a fierce warrior survives a near-death experience, she becomes a killer for hire. As in, she was hired to kill the audience. It was bad. That’s what I’m trying to say here.
Elektra was a spin-off from the nearly as bad Daredevil movie (spoiler alert, see the next entry) and gave audiences something they were asking for, and something they weren’t. See, people genuinely liked Jennifer Garner in the Daredevil flick. She was that movies saving grace. So why not spin her off into her own origin story flick in the Marvel universe? That is what audiences didn’t want. The boring, poorly written origin story.
This movie suffered as part of a wave of quickly, “cheaply” made movies to capitalize on the superhero popularity. Daredevil made a little bit of money, and people seemed to be crying for more and more. Elektra suffered because of it. Not a strong enough character (or acting for that matter) to carry an entire flick on its own.
3. Daredevil (2003)
This movie has all the requirements of a bad superhero movie. Toxic Waste. Mid-level actors (at the time, most are huge names now). A character that most of the non-comic-loving audience knows. But it had Ben Affleck. Then again, so did Gigli (which immediately followed Daredevil). I’ll be perfectly honest. This movie gets a ton of hate, gets trashed online, but of the movies I’ve listed so far, it is the most watchable to me. At the end of the day, audiences couldn’t get past the blind guy using sonar and the rain to “see” his enemies.
This is another poorly done origin story. The direction and acting are both poor. Jon Favreau is a cast member in this flick and I have to think that he got a lot of inspiration for what not to do with a superhero origin story here. Affleck turns in a less-than-ok acting performance. On the bright side, he meets his future wife. That has to be worth something to movie goers, right? Wrong. We don’t care about your love story. Affleck.
At the end of the day this is a flick that could have been done so much better. It’s a great Marvel character and it just got muddied in a bad flick. Marvel has recently regained the cinematic rights to Daredevil, so maybe we’ll be seeing him again in the future? It has to be better than this garbage.
2. Batman and Robin (1997)
It was 1997. It’s been two years since Batman Forever, a decidedly new take on the caped crusader, with its bright colors and flashy costumes, over-the-top dramatics, and great cast. News starts to break that the next Batman movie is already in the works. Written by Akiva Goldsman, at the time known for writing The Client, and directed by Joel Schumacher, the director of The Client, the movie was showing some early promise. Then the casting news started to drop.
George Clooney would be donning the cape and cowl. Chris O’Donnell would appear again as Robin. Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, plus a number of big names filling other roles. Then the villains were announced. Uma Thurman would be playing Poison Ivy, a comic favorite who had a real chance at being something special in a movie. Plus, Uma was coming off a great run of flicks. Pulp Fiction was only 3 years old, Beautiful Girls, The Truth About Cats and Dogs. All good stuff. Then came Freeze. Mr. Freeze was a character that seemed to make perfect sense in a Batman movie. With the style of movies being made at the time, you could make a great representation of Victor Fries, and use the blossoming technology to create amazing freezing effects. But who would be the perfect actor to own such an awesome opportunity. Who else. Arnold Schwarzenegger. People were a little surprised.
From the outset, this movie was a dud. It was immediately called out for its very un-Batman like stylings. Mr. Freeze became very cartoony, Poison Ivy was almost a gimmick character, Alicia Silverstone was a poor choice in a bad role. The story left a lot to desired. Focusing on the tension between Batman and Robin, while fitting in a pair of grandiose villains was a challenge, and it was not successful. For a budget of $125,000,000 Batman & Robin is an obvious choice for one of the worst superhero movies of all times. Some of the greatest actors of our time (who really weren’t acting at all in this) couldn’t save this misfire. Also, Bat-Nipples.
1. Steel (1997)
So you are sitting in a production meeting at Warner Bros. You are talking about trying to cash in on some of the Batman success with new characters, and new names, and generally trying to think of what’s the next big thing. The guy in the back corner pipes up,”uhhhh Hey! I gotta idea.”
Naturally, everyone is interested, as there haven’t been any ideas yet that sounded good.
“What if we took a lesser known DC comic and turned it into a movie with a lead actor that most of the US loves!”
What a great idea! Right? No.
“I was thinking we could make a movie using the Steel character.” Great. Who would play Steel?
What. The. F###?
This movie was a disaster from the get go. Shaq was trying to launch an acting career and this was the perfect vehicle. Minus maybe Shaq-Fu the movie. Remember that one?
Terrible effects (even for the time). Don’t even call what this movie has acting.
At the end of the day, this was a chance to grab money from Shaq fans. Don’t watch it.
Special Mention: Catwoman (2004)
Why was this made? Halle Berry was a great Storm. She is a wonderful actress. So should we put her in a movie about an awesome DC comics character, though presented in an alternate telling than what most fans are used to? Should we use it as a vehicle to make something special? Add in terrible special effects? Horrible continuity issues? Yes we should. And it will fail. Horribly.
How they were able to get a decent cast for this movie is beyond me. Cough money cough.
If you want a good laugh, spend some time on YouTube watching people pan this movie. There are some funny arguments, some amazing reviews, and some wonderful hating of this movie happening out there. So much so that if I posted what I wanted to about this flick, it would feel like plagiarism.
This is my least favorite superhero movie of all time. It speaks for itself.
So there it is. The 10 Worse Superhero Movies. I’d love to hear what movies you loved and hated in the comments below. I know I missed the one you hate and I probably included the one you love, so let’s hash it out, eh? If you are a fan of discussing your favorite and least favorite movies and TV shows and you enjoy cartoons and video series, be sure to sign up for the free newsletter over at Follow Networks for more like the above.
At the end of the day, we all love a good superhero flick. And we even love a bad superhero flick, too. Right?
Author Bio: Chad Ettelbrick is the CEO and Founder of Follow Networks, an internet video and podcast network launching their first major web-series, Horrible Prequels, in the Summer. Follow Networks’ content is centered around movies, tv, comic books, and nerd culture.