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The 10 Worst Superhero Movies of All Time

05 December 2016 | Features, Film Lists | by Red Stewart

worst-superhero-movies

Every genre has its weak links, from the western giving us “Heaven’s Gate” to science fiction giving us “Battlefield Earth”. But the superhero genre arguably has it worse, as, when your cast is running around in colored lycra, screwing up can yield results that are quite memorable, laughable, and infuriating. Most of the time, these characters have a history to them that stretches decades into the past, and any huge failure reflects poorly on the studio’s image.

Being big fans of comic book movies, we at “Taste of Cinema” have created a list of 10 films that we feel make up the worst of the bunch. To make things interesting, we will be putting aside infamous entries that typically inhabit these lists, including “Catwoman”, “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”, and of course “Batman & Robin”, to shed light on some less-notable entries that may not have even crossed your mind. Enjoy!

 

10. The Phantom

the-phantom

The Phantom was a relatively successful comic strip from the ‘30s that, while never going mainstream, managed to be prominent enough to warrant some toyetic marketing, including a couple of cartoons and a video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In 1996, however, the character was finally brought to theaters with Billy Zane playing the hero.

Compared to the other titles on this list, “The Phantom” wasn’t a complete abomination. Several critics, including Roger Ebert, appreciated the pulpy feel the movie managed to evoke. But considering it chose to waste its potential on tired film banalities, including a boring love triangle and a generic villain, “The Phantom” has not stood the test of time.

 

9. Hulk (2003)

hulk

Many people are only vaguely aware of Ang Lee’s attempt at bringing the big green guy to the big screen, due in large part to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s reboot five years later, and that is honestly for the better.

The 2003 Hulk film was an over-edited, lifeless mess that seemed more keen on emulating Hitchcock then paying homage to the comics. Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly, two great actors, were stuck playing one-dimensional archetypes that could not make basic decisions unless prodded on by others.

The early Hulk comics were famous for their anarchic energy, focusing on Banner’s seemingly everlasting run from the US Government. None of that is present in this Hulk movie outside of a chase scene in the second act that is ultimately ruined by a confusing, overly mystical, anticlimactic third act. Stick with the Ed Norton version.

 

8. Tank Girl

tank-girl

Lori Petty has done some notable movies in her long career, from the original “Point Break” to “A League of Their Own” to “Free Willy” and so forth. One movie, however, that she might like to be less-remembered for would be “Tank Girl”.

An adaptation of an obscure British comic of the same name, “Tank Girl” was set in a post-apocalyptic world where an evil man (played by the charismatic Malcolm McDowell) controlled the country’s water supply, resulting in the creation of a resistance led by the eponymous Tank Girl.

Does the plot sound familiar? If so, you must be thinking of last year’s masterpiece “Mad Max: Fury Road”, which not only did this storyline better, but was also a lovely visual treat to boost. “Tank Girl” wasted its fine cast on a poorly-choreographed, sloppily executed, unfun action flick.

 

7. Spawn

spawn-1997

“Spawn” is one of the rare third party comics that has achieved mainstream notability. Remembered for writer/penciller Todd McFarlane’s gothic art, “Spawn” told the origin story of a special forces soldier that was killed and sent to Hell, and consequently sells his soul to return to the world of the living as a hellspawn.

Debuting in 1992, the character’s surprise popularity lead to the greenlighting of a feature film adaptation a mere five years later. Despite utilizing its $40 million budget relatively well in terms of recreating the comic’s iconic visuals, every other aspect of the “Spawn” movie read like the filmmakers attempted to disgrace McFarlane as much as possible.

Starring Michael Jai White in the leading role, an actor more known for his martial arts skills than dramatic depth, “Spawn” traded the comic’s rich atmosphere for a wannabe Tarantino feel that made the whole watching experience dreary and irate. This is one superhero movie that desperately needs a reboot.

 

6. Howard the Duck

Howard The Duck (1986)

“Howard the Duck” is remembered as being one of few non-Star Wars/Indiana Jones films to be produced by Lucasfilm, and that is not a good thing as the film proved to be a disaster for the esteemed company both critically and financially.

It had almost nothing in common with the comic it originated from outside of some character names, and was overall grotesque to look at, starting with the uncanny look of the protagonist’s design: a low point in Industrial Light & Magic’s history of VFX. Add on top of that a convoluted premise that featured bestiality and you have a movie best forgotten.

 

 

 

 

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  • MzUnGu

    Dick Tracy?

    • sailor monsoon

      Dick Tracy is Fucking incredible

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      I liked Dick Tracy.

  • sailor monsoon

    Any list of the worst superhero films that doesn’t include steel is a fail.
    Not even catwoman comes close to the awfulness that is steel

    • I agree. Steel was just downright fucking stupid. All of those jokes about Shaq not making the jump-shot and shit. And it barely even made a million bucks.

      • sailor monsoon

        I have defended a lot of superhero movies.
        Hell, I’ve even defended Batman and robin and Masters of the universe but steel is a dumpster fire.
        There’s no redeeming qualities to that film

        • Exactly. It’s one of many films from Warner Brothers from 1997-1998 that destroyed Tim Burton’s Superman Lives since the executives at Warners got scared and got stupid by putting the funds for that film into Wild Wild West. Gee, that worked out great.

        • Rorshach Sridhar

          I actually kinda like Steel. It had good supporting actors.

          • sailor monsoon

            Which is why it sucks even more.
            They wasted shaft!!

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            “Well I did the metal work. I especially like the shaft.”

  • Rikum D4

    I like hulk and the spirit.

  • OK, where’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fantastic Four (2015), The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Batman & Robin, Steel, Catwoman, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace? Most of the films in this list aren’t bad while The Spirit isn’t really a superhero film though it’s still shit. This list just click-bait bullshit.

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      They state in the second paragraph that they are deliberately ignoring the worst of the worst to avoid making the same generic list you find everywhere on this topic. Dumbass.

      • So?

        • Rorshach Sridhar

          So you’re a moron.

          • Just because I misread something? Oh fuck off wanker.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Misread something, then proceeded to go on a laughable rant, then proceeded to not apologize for said rant. Grow up kid.

          • Kid? Oh my dear child. You have a lot to learn. Now go fuck off and watch your Kartrashians bullshit.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Lmao, little bitch is trying to hide his true self. You can come out of the closet mate. It’s safe.

          • Why are you wasting everyone’s time with bullshit comments like this? We don’t need this. Go to fucking Wrestlezone or some other bullshit with the rest of the trolls.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Lmao, I don’t even know what Wrestlezone is, but it sounds like you do 😉

          • Yeah because I used to read that bullshit but stopped because I’m not a fucking sheep like you.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            You will always be a fucking sheep kid. And I’m your shepherd.

          • Really? Like the rest of you DC Comic film fanboys who couldn’t accept that Marvel makes better films?

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Civil War was great, Doctor Strange was crap. It’s not all about biases sheepboy.

          • Yes you are!

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Freak

          • Toby Smith

            Captain America Civil War was very disappointing, in fact I found Spawn more entertaining. Spider-Man, Ant Man, War Machine and Black Panther were unbelievably irritating, especially Spider-Man. Bucky was the best character and just about saved this otherwise abysmal effort which almost destroyed the whole Marvel franchise.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Tell that to the freak above me.

          • Toby Smith

            Freak above Mr Sridhar, Captain America Civil War was very disappointing (see my other comment for the reasons).

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            moron

          • Toby Smith

            I merely did what you asked. If I’m a moron what does that make you?

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Go away

          • Toby Smith

            No.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Go

          • Toby Smith

            No, you go. I’m staying put.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Go

          • Toby Smith

            No.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Go

          • Toby Smith

            It’s all very well you keep saying go all the time but it’s not actually going to happen is it. You are simply making yourself look very foolish indeed.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Takes two to tango posh spice.

          • Toby Smith

            Very true, but you have to give me something to work with. So far you have offered nothing.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Your constant replies prove otherwise.

          • Toby Smith

            No it doesn’t, it simply proves that your demand that I go has been a complete failure.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            I’m providing a demand, and you’re providing the supply.

          • Bunkai TKD

            Hahahahahaha! This was the best series of posts I’ve read in weeks. I loved bickering back and forth with people when I had free time to kill and I miss it. I’d get into fights just because it was funny. 🙂 Lol! You girls keep up the good work and keep me entertained! 😀

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            I’m sorry mate. I can’t speak for the other guy, but as for myself I actually graduated middle school and don’t find being called a girl an insult. It’s just a natural part of growing up- you’ll hit puberty soon enough though 😉

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Freak

          • Dimwit!

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Freak

          • Fascist!!!!!

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Freak@

          • Cunt.

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            freak

          • ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            FREAK

          • ThePurist

            A grown up kid wouldn’t be calling people on the web morons. Don’t feed the troll

          • MrMovies

            You’re the only troll here retard.

          • ThePurist

            Proved my point.

          • MrMovies

            Says the guy responding to a 5 month old comment chain lol.

          • ThePurist

            No further replies from me are needed

          • MrMovies

            Goodbye then.

  • Alexander

    What about the 1978 made for TV version of Dr. Strange?
    The 1979 version of Captain America starring Reb Brown (or its sequel “Captain America II: Death Too Soon”)?
    Or any of the Hulk movies (they made three or four) starring the incredible Lou Ferrigno?

  • Carl Edgar Consiglio

    Jesus of Nazareth

  • Dreaming Wanderer

    Movies like Phantom and the Justice League from ’97 should not be included in a list like that. Different times, different budgets. You could also include movies like Supergirl from ’84 or the old Captain America but those movies are so bad you can actually enjoy. A list like that should have failed movies, not box office failures, but movies that never manage to make what they where set out to do (Hulk is a good example of that). So here’s my list as a superhero fan both comic books and movies.

    http://www.imdb.com/list/ls032444985/

  • Mortimer

    Seriously, The Phantom shouldn’t be here. It is what it is – adventurous comic book movie in the 1930s spirit. Everyone who was a fan of the original comics should enjoy this.

  • Pica Lima

    Where’s Catwoman (2004)?!

  • Ted Wolf

    Fearless Frank

  • fantail31

    Catwoman! Daredevil, Batman and Robin. Spiderman ( 1979 version)

    • Gus Gorman

      Dude. 1976 Spiderman is awesome! Just for the soundtrack alone lol.
      What about the 1990 Captain America Film? Now that was crap. the Made for tv Cap films from the 70’s are also the jam. theyre cheezy as crap but still love them.

  • Pingback: The 10 Worst Superhero Movies of All Time | Desire News()

  • X Y

    *how the f**k is Hulk on this list?

  • josh the hiphoptionary

    The Spirit was awesome, Tank Girl was entertaining.

  • joepapierzjr

    People seem to ignore the fact that movies are primarily made to entertain and movies that some people find entertaining others may find boring. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

  • skeletor

    spawn was god

  • TheOct8pus

    Howard the Duck is based on a comic, but he’s hardly a superhero…

  • Torsten Nielsen

    Spawn was in no way a bad movie… Nothing compared to the Captain America movies…

    • Toby Smith

      I agree, although I did like Bucky, and the first two Captain Americas were pretty good, but Civil War was a disappointment, a bit of a mess,and most of the characters were irritating.

  • Toby Smith

    They should have the most overrated superhero movies of all time. In it we shall include Captain America Civil War and Batman The Dark Knight Rises.

  • Tim10

    1.Howard the Duck
    2.Catwoman
    3.Batman & Robin
    4.My Super Ex-Girlfriend
    5.Fantastic Four 1994
    6.Barb Wire
    7.Steel
    8.Meteor Man
    9.The Phantom
    10.Fantastic Four 2015

  • Cpt. Obvious

    No Captain america with Matt Salinger…that should be #1