My current top 10 worst/*most disappointing* comic book movies
Please note that asterisk up there. Some of the ones that I have at the bottom are indeed better films that some of the others, but it is the utter disappointment (be it in treatment or translation of character, for example) that the film gives that makes it (objectively) worse. Yes, Howard the Duck a terrible film in every way, but it is far less upsetting/disappointing than say X-Men: Apocalypse or Fantastic 4 (or its sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer). Hopefully that’ll clarify some of these rankings. I’m also only including movies I’ve watched, so there won’t be any of the low budget Fantastic 4 or Cap America movies of the late 80s or 90s. Or Elektra – didn’t watch that one strictly because it looked awful. Let’s get to it.
(Dis)Honourable mentions: Catwoman and Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance.
I couldn’t actually sit through either of these, though I’ve been able to watch more of Ghost Rider – I was only able to sit through roughly 20ish minutes of Catwoman, here and there, over the years. Every time I try to sit through it I end up needing to change the channel. It’s overacted, it makes very little sense, it’s a terrible adaptation, it’s just awful. If you sat through it, I salute you…and question your choices. As for Spirit of Vengeance, I made it half-way through (not even my boy Idris Elba could make me sit through it), and actually had to watch the first Ghost Rider (also really bad) to see a ‘better’ (I use that word very loosely) take on the character. Ghost Rider deserved better.
The most recent film on this list, it is also a complete misfire. There are some good things in it – very few. The main cast for the four had potential, there were some good special effects…but that was it. The characterization of Doctor Doom was awful, the story was barely there, and the climax of the film was over as quick as it started. This film had A LOT of behind the scenes issues and you can see that in the finished product. In the end, I’d be MUCH more interested in a documentary about that and how the film fell apart. It would end up being much better than the movie.
This one’s a bit of a cheat cause it’s a tie, but eh, whatcha gonna do? Anyways, Daredevil came back in the early 2000s after X-Men, Spiderman, and Blade showed comic movies could be profitable again…but man, was it a mess. Affleck was miscast, but wasn’t the worst part of this movie – the writing and direction on the whole was way off (looking at you, Colin Farrel’s over the top Bullseye), some of the CGI was downright terrible, and the soundtrack was off putting. That being said, the suit actually looked pretty good, and the directors cut was marginally better…but not worth watching. As for Superman 4, it is TERRIBLE, and Honest Trailers sums up why better than I can.
#8 Batman Forever
Batman Forever has its fans, and I used to be among them…but then I rewatched the movie, and noticed somethings…namely, it’s a terrible movie. Overly cheesy, Jim Carrey playing Ace Ventura and not the Riddler, Gotham suddenly looking like a clown filled neon lights filled circus. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its pros…there’s Elliot Goldenthals’ score, Seals ‘Kiss from a rose’, and a pretty good Batman surrounded by/emerging from the fire scene. But that’s it. I remember watching this with a friend who had never watched it, and her reaction was ‘there’s no way this could get worse’…little did she know (and anyone at the time) how much worse it would get.
#7 Green Lantern
Somewhere in there, there was the potential for a good movie. Somewhere deep, deep down. There was potential. There was some good casting…even though Ryan Reynolds is more a Wade Wilson than a Hal Jordan, he still did well with the material given. The dude who got infected by Paralax (Peter Sarsgaard)(and that summation of his character right there is one of the big issues with that movie, that’s *not* Paralax) is normally a good actor…here though, not so much. Not that his whole performance was bad, but for the most part it was maaaaad over the top. The problem was a story that was maddening to long time Lantern fans, and an over special effects filled over produced mess that didn’t click with the mass audience. There’s no question, Green Lantern needs special effects, but they needed to look good to not be off putting. There’s a reason Reynolds was mocking this flick in Deadpool.
#6 Iron Man 3
And now we get to the worst film of the MCU, in my opinion. This movie had SO MUCH potential. The trailers were showing something new and different Iron Man, a shift in tone to something that we hadn’t seen yet…but we didn’t get that. We didn’t get anything that we had been advertised. There was the twist of the Manderin – thrown away for a joke, while it had the potential to be the best villain in the whole franchise – and upsetting long time fans who make up a big portion of the audience. Tony’s PTSD story was interesting, but like Iron Man 2’s ‘new element’ before it is kinda just tossed aside at the end/wrapped up quickly. The villain with his grab-bag of fire powers, namesless henchman, Pepper having powers (never to be mentioned again), the suits being ripped apart repeatedly, War Machines (or…Iron Patriot…ughhhh) being hacked and taken over AGAIN (plot point from just one film prior)…I hate this movie. This is a case of a film being ‘worse’ by being more disappointing and frustrating than it is being poorly made or bad all around (looking at you, Ninja Turtles 3: Turtles In Time). And truth be told, I feel bad for Robert Downey Jr with this one. Dude’s performance in it was great – he was acting his butt off with it, but the material and choices by the writers/producers wreck the film. People normally point to Thor 1 or 2 as the worst of the MCU, but to me they’re alright – they’re mediocre, but enjoyable. Iron Man 3 on the other hand is just upsetting – and most of it’s elements have been ignored since.
#5 X-Men 3
X-Men 3 was retconned in Days of Future’s Past, and was for good reason. Coming off the heels of the excellent X2 – it had a troubled production. Bryan Singer wanted to do his dream project Superman Returns first and THEN do X-Men 3 – Fox didn’t want to wait, so they got Brett Ratner (the rush hour guy). It was rushed, more action heavy, less character developed, and had a less focused story. The main one (atleast the main one that was marketed) was the Dark Pheonix, one of the most famous and beloved by X-Men fans where the Pheonix was underdeveloped, and underused – at points playing a quiet body guard to Magneto – a role that should not befall that character. The flick was 90mins, which isn’t enough when you want to tell a full story with a lot of characters. It mostly was shock death, action set piece, shock death, more action, and more action. It brought Angel, Juggernaught, Multiple Man, and so many others to the screen…for a few minutes, and didn’t do them justice. To give it credit, it did have a few good things – Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, Kelsey Grammer as Beast, and Logan lighting a cigar off a smuldering car…but that’s it. To me, it’s the worst of the X-Men franchise…as far as the ‘team movies go’, non team movies though…
#4 X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Origins: Wolverine takes all the problems of X-Men 3 (and none of its good) and goes even further with them. Outside of Ryan Reynolds first five minutes as Wade Wilson and Liev Schreiber’s performance, I am hard pressed to find anything good about this movie. It’s frustrating AND bad. The special effects are very bad (especially on the claws), the story is…okay, though weak, Gambit is very poorly adapted (missing his cajun accent, poor display of his power, his weird helicopter ability, his lack of screen time), needless inclusion of Cyclops (it made sense in the movies story, but I stand by it being dumb and not making sense to the franchises continuity at the time) other mutants (Emma Frost), and the worst offense…what they did to Deadpool, since dubbed Barakapool online. It’s telling that the much better follow up The Wolverine ignored this movie entirely, Days of Future’s Past retconned it, AND Deadpool mocked it. It was a total misfire, and simply awful.
#3 Batman v Superman
*exasperated sigh*…this film is so frustrating it’s hard to know where to begin with it’s issues. To give credit where it’s due, Affleck does a good job playing Batman – Cavil is enjoyable as Superman, and Gal Gadot is great in her brief Wonder Woman role. And I’ll give Jesse Eisenberg props…that was a *very* different take on Lex Luthor, we hadn’t seen that yet…not saying that it was good or worked, but kudos for trying something else. Jeremy Irons ‘hardened’ Alfred was good, and the Arkham inspired Martha rescue was a highlight…but none of that save this movie. I don’t get the choices of Snyder and the studio here. A Batman that kills isn’t Batman (and the film universe then shouldn’t have a Joker), wasting Doomsday (whose not Doomsday), the ‘THAT’S MY MOM’S NAME TOO!!’ connection, the lame way it shows Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, the killing of Jimmy Olson, Supermans’ interaction with kryptonite, the titular fight itself, the pacing, the fact that this was minimum 4 movies in one (a man of steel sequel, a solo Batman, a Justice League set up, a Worlds Finest film…heck, even the Lex stuff could have been its own movie)…this movie is just a mess. The ultracut is an improvement, but man, this was not the movie it should have been. It’s just the worst.
#2 Spiderman 3
Another movie I find very hard to compliment, to me there’s just nothing really good here (outside of one scene earlier, where Gobby Jr shows up attacks Peter)…that’s it. It has too many villains, wastes a lot of its characters, has very poor performances, terribly adapts Venom (one of Spiderman’s most beloved foes), and then…there’s the dance sequence/emo Peter…which…WHAT?!!! I could go on, but How It Should Have Ended can do a better job than I can…
Seriously, this movie was awful.
#1 Batman & Robin
The one that almost killed comic book movies, the one that is known for being terrible, the one where Arnold Schwarzenneger made endless ice puns (and DIDN’T EVEN INTERACT WITH COOLIO WHO WAS IN THE MOVIE, COME ON!), the one that George Clooney would pay fans back for, the one that was the unintended embodiment of the 60s Batman with none of its charm, with obvious batnipples, bat codpieces, bat butt shots, with Uma Thurmans over the top Poison Ivy, the one with the ice skates in the boots, the one with the exposed Batmobile cockpit where someone could friggen snipe Batman, the one that killed Alicia Silverstone’s career… and on and on and on I could go. It’s not only one of the (if not the) worst comic book movies ever made, it’s one of the worst films ever made in general. At no point does anything in this movie seem like a good idea…but it got made anyways. You can toss it on for a laugh, and use it as a study how not to make a comic book (or in general) movie. Kudo’s to Director Joel Schumacher apologizing for it though.
And that brings us to the end of the list my friends. I’m sure y’all disagree with some, and that’s cool. These kinda things are subjective and that can make it fun, and for the most part each persons ‘best and worst’ are different – and it’s cool to learn why, at least to me. Anyways, thanks for reading.