Some movies are so bad they’re good. Like a train wreck, you can’t help but watch.
Other movies, however, are so egregious they’re worthy of a double facepalm. You know, the type of movie that spits in the face of logic and revels in campy, nonsensical drivel. And when it pertains to superhero films, this type of movie is especially relevant when Hollywood directors and screenwriters get their grubby little fingers into decades’ worth of source material and alter it to their liking. Sometimes it works for the better, mind you, because not everything on paper works on the silver screen, but other times, well, hoo-boy.
With superheroes being all the rage nowadays, Hollywood pulled back the curtain on a wealth of comic-to-film adaptions. Unfortunately for viewers, these films are cranked out at such a torrid pace that it was inevitable to have lackluster, phoned in cash grabs litter the box-office.
So with that in mind, the difficult task of counting down the 10 worst superhero movies of all time has been undertaken here. If there’s a particular movie you think shouldn’t have been omitted, forgive me, it’s probably because it was just so forgettable.
10 10 – Daredevil (2003)
I mean, was it really necessary to have Bullseye, played by Colin Farrell, throwing darts directly in the - you guessed it - bullseye?
Daredevil is riddled with plot holes, clichés, and overacting. Ben Affleck is probably one of Hollywood’s finest actors, but his voice for Matt Murdock is excessively gruff and forced. And if you had hoped action sequences would salvage this Mark Steven Johnson film, you were gravely mistaken, unless you enjoy shaky cam and inexplicable gravity-defying acrobatics.
Here’s hoping the Netflix TV series premiering in May injects some new life into the superhero’s screen life.
9 9 – Elektra (2005)
You just had to double down, didn’t you?
Elektra served as a spin-off film to 2003’s Daredevil, with Mark Steven Johnson directing once again, and it somehow surpassed it as a complete misfire. Jennifer Garner reclaimed her role as the anti-hero, and God help her she tried, but there was no saving this one-dimensional, unimaginative character that Hollywood replaced the comic book version with.
Like Daredevil before it, Elektra is unapologetically filled to the brim with clichés and stilted dialogue. Even the action is dull, with the only memorable takeaway being the knowledge that bed sheets can be a used as a serious weapon.
8 8 – Ghost Rider (2007)
Yet another Mark Steven Johnson film.
Ghost Rider initially seemed like a great idea. The gritty anti-hero would finally be brought to the big screen with modern CGI to bring him to life. Except, Johnson subsequently sucked all life from the movie, rendering it a cheesy, clichéd mess that Nicolas Cage had no hope in saving. Eva Mendes seemed completely disinterested with the material, despite being a fine actress, and there’s no interesting villain or thrilling action to even flirt with the notion of it being a passable Marvel Comics adaptation.
7 7 – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
With new directors at the helm and publicly stating how this movie would be more faithful to the comics, Ghost Rider would finally get his due on the silver screen, right? Wrong.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance stomped on your hopes like they were a flaming bag of dog feces. The story is bland, there’s no character development to speak of, the action is boring, and the acting is horrendous. There was no saving grace for this film, other than the fact that it led to the rights being reverted back to Marvel Studios.
Perhaps Johnny Blaze will have better luck at the box-office in the future.
6 6 – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
With the sequel promising the debut of the Silver Surfer and Galactus on the big screen, audiences were ready to put the disappointing Fantastic Four behind them. That’s right, Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, one of Marvel’s best comic book villains, being brought to life in this 2007 sequel. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like they’d have Galactus appear as a space cloud and ruin everything.
Actually, that’s exactly what happened. Galactus was tacked on at the end of the film as a non-threatening billow of space dust that is easily defeated by Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch.
If nothing else, at least Rise of the Silver Surfer would serve as a cautionary tale about villain-turned-giant-space-cloud...
5 5 – Green Lantern (2011)
Comic book supervillain Parallax was also given the space cloud treatment, which unfortunately was par for the course in the 2011 letdown Green Lantern. This unlikeable depiction of Hal Jordan was played by Ryan Reynolds, whose character undergoes little progression besides confusing and sudden decisions to keep the plot moving. The dialogue is bad, the special effects unimpressive, and the fictional planet Oa is vastly underutilized.
Maybe the reboot in 2020 will fare better.
4 4 – Steel (1997)
Bringing Steel to cinemas was a peculiar decision from the outset. To cast NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as the film’s star was simply impetuous and silly. And it went exactly as expected.
Shaq’s acting is woeful and mirrored the rest of the film. Director and writer Kenneth Johnson actually had Shaq cheekily free throw a grenade through a small grate to save the day. I mean, come on.
3 3 – Catwoman (2004)
Beware of the evil skin cream.
Catwoman is a prime example of source material being altered for unequivocal evil. Full of clichés, hammy dialogue and mind boggling character choices, this is one of the worst superhero movies ever made.
It’s difficult to pinpoint where this movie fails the most, but having Catwoman literally behave like a cat has to be in the running. Because having Halle Berry devour cat food, while a thick piece of steak sits unattended, totally sounds like a great idea on paper.
It also bears mentioning that Patience Phillips is brought back to life as Catwoman, by cats.
2 2 – Batman & Robin (1997)
“What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!”
It seemed Schumacher’s end goal here, besides stuffing as many one-liners and clichés into the two-hour runtime as he could, was to have everyone despise the whiny and incessant Robin. He butchered Bane as well, who was portrayed as a mindless thug, literally the complete opposite of his character in the comic books.
Who could have known Batman and Robin playing ice hockey against Mr. Freeze’s ice thugs would be so ill-received? At least the Bat-Credit Card was foolproof. “Never leave the Cave without it.”
That’s gold, Jerry, gold.
1 1 – Jonah Hex (2010)
Your movie is bad and you should feel bad.
Fun fact: Fassbender didn’t even bother watching the abomination, he hated it so much. “Pretty awful, was it? I haven’t seen it myself,” he revealed in an interview with Salon. He later described his villainous character Burke as “the Lucky Charms leprechaun mixed with Frank Gorshin’s Riddler.”
Even Brolin hopped aboard the hate train when he flat out admitted he wasn’t proud of the film.