8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The original X-Men trilogy had started strong, but ended badly with X-Men: The Last Stand. With many fans feeling let down, the safest bet to get them back on board was a standalone film of their most popular character, Wolverine. That had to work, right?
Unfortunately, that proved a little more difficult than most people had thought. Fox’s first standalone Wolverine film was so full of side characters that it seemed to lose sight of the point, and the solo stuff that they gave to their protagonist was largely boring to watch.
The opening credits of this film showed a montage of Wolverine fighting in various wars, and one can’t help but wonder if that would have made a far more interest film than what they actually made.
The sad truth is that this film is just incredibly dull, and the CGI looks outdated already. Even Hugh Jackman looked bored, and when you add in the fact that they even managed to destroy the character of Deadpool in the process, this film was pretty much a huge failure all round.
Three films in, this year Fox finally mastered the character with Logan, and they got Deadpool right last year, too. They seem to have officially recovered from the mess they caused here, but fans never forget. This isn’t only the most disappointing film in the franchise, but it is quite comfortably the worst.
7. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Much like many other franchises on this list, the Terminator series had gone from strength to strength when it gave us its sequel, Judgement Day. The film is arguably one the best sequels of all time. Since then, the series has been in a downward spiral, going from bad to worse.
Most audiences seem to expect a Terminator film to be bad these days, but when Rise of the Machines hit theatres in 2003 that wasn’t the case. The anticipation was high, but what audiences got was yet another forced sequel with no real purpose or meaning.
Judgement Day had a rather fitting conclusion to the story, but the studio had seen fit to pummel out a third movie anyway, and drag it out a little longer. While this film is by no means a terrible movie, and it’s far from the worst in the series, it certainly felt very forced, repetitive and forgetful.
The film’s only real gimmick seemed to be to have a woman as the villain this time around, and while that made for some laughs at times it never fully worked. The action scenes in the film work well enough, but are often ruined by Claire Danes’s character, shouting and screaming continuously.
There is enjoyment to be had in Rise of the Machines if you really turn your brain off, but it is a far cry from the two that came before it, and it was the turning point that saw the Terminator movies go from being clever, innovative science-fiction films to forgettable, cliché popcorn movies instead. This is where it all started to go wrong.
6. The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix was one of the most celebrated original science-fiction movies of all time. Fans eagerly awaited the sequel, and the majority of them walked out of theatres unhappy once the credits had rolled.
You could argue that the action scenes in this film are actually more impressive than the original. That may be the case in some scenes, particularly the movie’s car chase, but where Reloaded suffers is the story.
While its predecessor was clever, Reloaded is unnecessarily over-complicated and it becomes more of a grind to sit through. The first film was smart but entertaining, while this feels more like a struggle and by the third act it really starts to drag.
The Matrix Revolutions wasn’t exactly adored by fans either, but coming directly after the first film, there is no denying that Reloaded was by far the bigger disappointment.
5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
You have the two most iconic and best-loved superheroes of all time in the same movie. How do you mess that up?
Fans had eagerly anticipated the release of this film, given that it was giving them a concept they’d wanted to see on the big-screen for decades. When the film came out, it ended up being far more of a Justice League prequel movie than what was advertised. This film is definitely more ‘Dawn of Justice’ than it is ‘Batman v Superman’.
The film focused so much time on world-building, using various sub-plots surrounding too many characters, that it messed up so many things at once, the rivalry between the two main characters being one of them.
The film juggled so many plot points that it didn’t get right the one thing it had promised. The reasons the characters fought became unclear, and the reason they stopped was foolish. The fight itself lasted around 8 minutes, and in a film with this title (and of this length) that simply isn’t good enough.
In a film called Batman v Superman, fans had expected to see just that. They were short-changed, and sold a movie that they were never given. The film ranks as the biggest disappoint that the superhero genre has ever seen.
4. Alien 3
Like Terminator, the Alien franchise had started strong with an amazing first film and a sequel that was arguably even better. Alien 3 wasn’t able to keep up the trend.
Director David Fincher himself has refused to acknowledge this in his filmography. There are few things as telling as a director who has no pride in his own film.
Alien 3 is yet another classic example of studio meddling. It is said that the film was so behind schedule that Fincher had to begin shooting before the script was even finished. Several cast members have said that at times there were more producers on set than actors. Fincher’s anger towards the production showed long before he disowned the film, as the director actually left before editing began.
Is it really a surprise that the theatrical cut was a little messy and confused? The Assembly Cut that was released later fixed a couple of issues, but the film that was shown to paying fans in theatres was less than satisfying.
The film also made some brave decisions with a couple of characters that fans weren’t too happy about, and that certainly didn’t help their cause. It’s also very bleak in tone and lacked even half of the thrills that the first two films had given moviegoers. It still had impressive special effects, but that isn’t enough when your film is slow and your plot is weak.
Alien 3 was a let-down for the majority of Alien fans, and it was the beginning of the decrease in quality the franchise has seen since.
3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
There aren’t many characters more beloved that Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford’s hero explorer is one of the greatest protagonists ever put to film. In 2008, after nearly 20 years away, Steven Spielberg was back directing a new adventure, and audiences couldn’t have been more excited.
The film itself… where to start? It features Indy surviving a nuclear blast while hiding in a fridge, Shia LaBeouf swinging with some monkeys, and… aliens. The humour in the film was very forced, including many one-liners about Indy’s age, and nearly every joke fell flat. The action is poorly choreographed, and the CGI is atrocious, to say the least.
The whole film appeared to have been filmed in a studio, and the actors looked as bored as the audience. Even Cate Blanchett was bad in this movie.
Director Spielberg said that he let George Lucas have full creative control over the movie’s story. One can’t help but wish he’d stepped in just a little more. Once again, this film is an example of wasted potential, and some very disappointed fans.
2. The Godfather: Part III
A lot of films on this list are big disappointments because they followed a couple of great movies that came before them. There is no better example of this than The Godfather: Part III.
The first two movies in this trilogy both managed to pick up Best Picture at the Oscars. That’s not something that happens very often, and there is a reason. Both films are true masterpieces of American cinema, and things might have been better had they just left it there.
Francis Ford Coppola returned to direct, but the film lacked the power of the first two. Michael Corleone’s character doesn’t feel quite right in this, Andy Garcia manages to act badly, and the plot is a little messy, leading to a film that in no way stands on its own.
Also, the film features a classic example of Hollywood nepotism and its worst, with Sofia Coppola cast in a major role, giving a performance that is just embarrassing for a film of this stature.
There are also large moments in this film that feel a bit over-the-top, as the story starts to lose its grit and lean more towards typical Hollywood fare. It’s not one of the worst movies ever made, and there are certainly good moments, but it is by no means a great movie, or even a particularly good one. Coming after two cinematic greats, this film left a lot of people feeling very let-down.
1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
This might be a little predictable but, come on, what else could it be?
The original Star Wars trilogy was a global phenomenon. The films were some of the most beloved on the planet. After 16 years, it was coming back to our screens, as George Lucas was finally giving us Episodes I, II and III, featuring the long-awaited origin story of Darth Vader.
The whole world was in fits of excitement. People were camping in the streets for tickets. The anticipation was sweeping the globe. Sadly, this wasn’t really what fans were hoping for.
Fans were excited to see a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi, but were instead given Qui-Gon Jinn as a main character, as Obi-Wan was resorted to standing around moaning most of the time, and fighting a little at the end. Vader himself, Anakin Skywalker, was a little kid with an insignificant role in the plot.
The plot was very dull, as the Emperor’s ploy to take control of the galaxy involved the ‘taxation of trade routes’. That’s not exactly something that will entertain kids, is it?
The film also gave us Jar Jar Binks, one of the most annoying characters in cinematic history, and it managed to get bad performances out of Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson. The script is horrible and the CGI is over-used and has already dated.
The Phantom Menace is a horrible movie that bores its audience, messes with the lore of the franchise, and doesn’t deliver on anything that it had promised. With a fan-base the size of Star Wars, the disappointment of this film was felt the world over.
This film is quite comfortably the biggest ever movie disappointment and it will be a long time before anything even comes close.
Author Bio: Dan Barnes is a former film student and a lifetime film lover, trying to make his name as a critical writer. He loves talking about film at any given opportunity, he doesn’t watch trailers, and he will see anything going.