Comic book movies are a lot like people, one is born every four seconds and many of them are really awful. Whether you read comic books, watched the cartoons, the TV shows, or just overheard some kids at the front of the class/bus discussing their favorites, everyone knows comic books and their characters, especially the really big ones. A good portion of the Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the 14 thousand other Marvel movies have been excellent films, some serious, some campy, but they work. We will remember these even as they age and start to look silly, if they haven’t already.
But what about the ones we tried to forget? The films that made us rethink our love for certain heroes, or the films that did more to tarnish the image of a superhero than any villain could ever hope for. Why not discuss these more? Well, that’s what I’m here for, to dredge up painful memories and discuss how bad a movie or a character was ruined. They say no publicity is bad publicity, so I’m actually doing a service for the filmmakers. Maybe I’m a hero. Yeah. I like that. Let’s go with it.
14 Batman & Robin
Even though I get a little guilty pleasure from watching this sloppy disaster, there are some truly awful things about this movie. Let’s just get the nipples out of the way up front. Apparently, Schumacher thought these would be sexy suits, as if the primarily male audience had been dying to know exactly where on Batman’s chest were his nipples. Well now we all know. Stupid, sexy Batman. Other than that, the weird rave-like sets, the cheesiest script ever written and the fact that nearly everyone in the world hates it, this movie’s actually pretty good.
13 Green Lantern
It’s amazing that Ryan Reynolds went on to do a successful Deadpool movie after appearing in at least four awful comic book adaptations including the disastrous Green Lantern (see R.I.P.D., Blade Trinity, X-Men Origins: Wolverine). There’s really no excuse for how bad this film was, full of silly CGI, a laughable script, a story that no one cared about and characters that were cared about even less. Even though it just made its money back, Green Lantern received some brutal critical attention and won’t be forgiven by comic fans anytime soon.
12 The Punisher
Starring John Travolta in a role that felt really uncomfortable for everyone watching, The Punisher starts off poorly and never figures it out. It made money, yeah, but money can’t buy happiness, and this is a sad, sad flick. That being said, it only made a little money, and critics hated it, so it’s not like the filmmakers and studio-heads were chest-bumping afterwards. If you like movies, don’t go out of your way to watch this; it might cause you to reconsider your feelings about them.
11 Blade: Trinity
There’s an old story that says that a movie with a terrible script, bad acting and a ridiculous plot that has strong fight scenes can still be a great success. Well, that does not describe this movie because even the fight scenes are awful in it. In fact, the film obviously heard that legend that I just made up right now, and they still couldn’t deliver an enjoyable movie. Every time there’s a fight scene, it feels like the movie just stops and a music video comes on. This movie is seriously dumb. I’m sure of it.
10 Jonah Hex
Without movies like Jonah Hex, we wouldn’t have anything to compare the worst movies ever made to. If it wasn’t for these 81 minutes of directionless wandering, we might still be trying to jam Megan Fox into action movies (Kind of… sorry TMNT fans). Really, if you think about it, Jonah Hex is the hero we needed, reminding all the directors out there of what could happen if they try to freestyle their film. And, while I can’t say with certainty that Jimmy Hayward freestyle-directed this without a script, I’d rather live in a world where that statement is true than live in one where we waste precious tree blood on stories as bad as this. Predictably, the film lost money and lots of it. It only made back about 20% of its budget and is reviled by almost everyone.
9 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
How bad does a movie have to be to make an acting legend quit acting altogether? Well, this is the one that did it for Sean Connery. After he watched the final cut, he flicked his ciggy right in the director’s face and bounced, never to be seen on film again. No, that never happened, but you know that image that you just created in your head? That was a full three times better than The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. With such a great premise, a decent cast and big budget, there’s no reason for this movie to suck so righteously. Sure, it made some coin, but I want both my money and my James Bond back.
8 Howard the Duck
Affectionately known as one of the worst movies ever made, Howard the Duck was an unfunny comic book turned into an unfunny movie. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but there is absolutely nothing funny about it. And, while I can’t be sure, I think this is probably a slap to the face of fans too, simply showing off the puppetry that wasn’t even considered all that great at the time this was made. Howard the Duck misses every mark. It’s an infuriating waste of time and makes you feel like less of a person after watching it. It may have broken even, but it also broke our spirit.
7 Barb Wire
Pamela Anderson has her strengths and weaknesses. If you were to weigh them all, she’d probably be very top-heavy, but that’s neither here nor there. Her acting in Barb Wire is not good, not close in fact. Luckily for Barb Wire, it had a small budget because it made less than $4 million USD at the box office. The movie as a whole, a futuristic remake of Casablanca (believe it or not), is an insult to everyone. The only way to insult Casablanca more would be to dig up Humphrey Bogart’s bones and parade him around on your shoulders at the airport yelling, “here’s looking at you, kid” to the boarding passengers.
6 Elektra (and Daredevil)
Two for the price of one. Two pointless, connected but not connected, terrible movies. The action in both is horrible, though I will admit that Elektra is much, much worse. The two stars of these films (Garner and Affleck) used to date, or were married, I can’t remember. Did they meet on the set of Daredevil? God, I hope not. That’s honestly more embarrassing than meeting at a weird fetish group get together. That’s a “how did you two meet?” that you’d rather not answer. Elektra is the big winner here though, or loser, whatever. It just barely earned back its $45 million USD budget, but also earned the reputation as being terrible by just about everyone with eyes or ears.
5 Superman IV
There has to come a time when a director realizes that shooting an entire movie in front of a green screen may not be such a great idea. If, after the third installment of Superman, you noticed that the flying scenes were looking awfully subpar, why on Krypton would add in more for the fourth? Seriously, it feels like an entire half of Superman IV is just him flying around in a really brutal looking way. Obviously, this movie made no money because, as the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.” The actors in this beauty look like their souls have been sucked out of them, left as meandering corpses to finish up principal shooting. I’m beginning to wonder if Christopher Reeve actually died during the filming of Superman IV, and the life he led afterward was only a Weekend at Bernie’s kind of thing.
I really feel for Steel because I think it just missed the “it’s so bad it’s good” boat. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this movie ended up as just “so bad.” This poor little movie made less than $2 million USD. What we have here is some of the worst acting you could see in a film. Acting that is tough to make eye contact with. Next time you watch a movie, feel confident that someone, somewhere in the world, is watching the movie along with you. But, with Steel, it’s always just you, and this is a difficult feeling to come to terms with. Personally, I feel like Shaq might break the fourth wall and see me, thank me for tuning in, and I’ll even toss him a dollar like a busker in the street and smile.
3 Fantastic Four
Which one you ask? The 1992 one? Yes. What about the 2005 one? That too. Isn’t there also a newer one from 2015? Yes, and yes. And, while were on this, don’t forget about the Silver Surfer sequel in 2007. Because of all of these movies, we now know every single detail of the Fantastic Four’s origin stories. Yet, in four films, not one single interesting thing ever happened. It’s as if every single director and writer involved with a Fantastic Four movie forgot that plot is also important. Double-you, Tee, Eff, Mate. The newest one may have made its money back, but they sold their soul for it. It won numerous Razzies and was viciously attacked by critics, still holding one of the worst Rotten Tomatoes rating of any comic book movie.
It’s possible that when this was being filmed, its stars, Halle Berry and Sharon Stone, thought they were doing something worthwhile. But they weren’t. I often wonder if, when filming a stinking pile of trash, the actors are conscious of it. Like, did Halle Berry ever wonder why they never got a shot of her actually moving, or does she run like Joe Dirt, so the director decided to cover it up with CGI? Second question: can the filmmakers get back the money they spent on CGI if its horrible? Because I’ll tell you something. If I called in a plumber to fix my shower, and after, when I turned it on, it just punched me in the face and spit on me, I’d probably ask for my money back. No surprises here, this movie lost millions and is considered by many to be one of the worst films of all-time.
You better just slow your role, Supergirl. It’s a struggle discussing something that is beyond words, something so foul, it cannot be described in the English language. Thought of as the worst comic book movie ever made, Supergirl also lost a large amount of money, over $20 million USD if you’re counting. I feel sadness when I watch it. Its special effects and acting make you hurt inside. I try to reassure myself by thinking, “well, at least they’re trying their best out there.” It’s not pretty. It’s a trainwreck. That is all.