The 10 Most Overrated Superhero Movies of All Time

5. X-Men


This one might honestly be more important than “Spider-Man,” but it doesn’t get enough credit (“Blade: is more important than either one, but that’s beside the point). It’s similar in many ways to “Spider-Man.”

A director untested in the big budget arena being tasked with making a very weird property palatable to the masses, all while being entertaining as hell without muting the elements that makes the comics so singular. Bryan Singer toes the line pretty well, muting some of the more outlandish things like the costumes to keep the powers and the relationships and the subtext of homosexual repression.

But as a movie? Rough. Whereas “Spider-Man” felt like an issue of not realizing the villain didn’t have a reason to exist and “Superman” felt like an issue of being the first one in so it didn’t know the mistakes it was making, this feels clearly like a movie where it was being written as it was going.

Like the studio was second guessing every decision and they had to deal with the hand they were dealt. The structure is all off and doesn’t really build up steam as it does shamble along until they need to climax with some action, action that feels really small scale despite the stakes at hand.

The interference is almost palpable and it ruins what could have been even better, especially since “X2” shows what Singer could have done without interference. His style is very much of its time and not as well suited with today’s more outlandish and comic accurate films, as “Apocalypse” has proven. But his time with the series could have been a lot more special and looked back at more fondly if this wasn’t so hacked up.


4. Captain America: Winter Soldier


The movie that everyone in claims is the first real movie in the MCU to tackle real world themes, so they went nuts for it. The Russos going around saying that “Three Days to the Condor” and “All the President’s Men” helped to inspire the tone of this movie got people nuts, especially when you add Robert Redford to the proceedings.

It felt classy and adult and like it had real weight to it. But alas, it’s getting way too much credit. For one, making it Hydra at the helm of it all kinda gives Cap an easy out. There’s no ambiguity to his decision to question everything. Well, he was right! The secret snake Nazis were behind it all and responsible for every problem in the world. Not the rank stench of money in government. No, it wasn’t anything as complicated as the reason for all of our problems in the real world. No, Nazis did it. And sure, Nazis have come to light yet again in our world, they aren’t responsible for it all.

Money men and single minded corruption did it. It gives bad guys too much credit. Redford is not a particularly memorable villain, especially since his decision to have men go after Cap is what brings Cap down on his head. And then there’s the big elephant in the room. Bucky.

“Winter Soldier” is one of the best stories in all of comicdom, with Ed Brubaker going against the sacred comic credo of “only two characters stay dead, Uncle Ben and Bucky” to make a real humdinger of a spy story. And they go for that here. But Bucky has officially become the worst, most lifeless entity in the entire MCU.

We are supposed to care about his relationship with Cap, but we never do. It’s all a relationship built on telling and not showing. They have no chemistry and no matter how much Chris Evans tries to sell how important he is, he isn’t. It’s a problem that will haunt the MCU for another entry and shows no sign of stopping.

Throw in the issue of the action being bland and unmemorable in that mid to late 2000s shaky cam style with no real variety to shake the proceedings up, and it kind of grows stale. The Russos are the worst filmmakers going in the MCU now and this is their peak. Not if you ask fanboys, though.


3. The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan changed the game with his Batman trilogy. “Batman Begins” made gritty origin stories the chic thing to do. “The Dark Knight” matured the genre and showed how you can imprint any kind of story onto these characters.

To finish off this trilogy, he went big. He went with an old school style of filmmaking, big and sweeping. Which hurts him a great deal as Nolan is better when he laser-focuses onto the details that build his puzzlebox worlds of labyrinth twists and turns. So he goes broad and whiffs on a lot of the arcs he builds.

The arc with Batman just doesn’t feel right. Like it’s in the right direction but doesn’t add up to the right number. Making him a hermit who then comes back to fight Bane and then give up and then come back and then retire with Catwoman is not right. The overall sentiment isn’t bad and they coulda done something along those lines while making it fit in with the prior two movies.

Setting it eight years later isn’t a bad idea, but making Batman a missing presence for an untold number of those eight years isn’t great. It takes the pathological need to be Batman out of the character for unclear reasons.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a weight around the neck of this movie, as nothing about him makes any sense and his placement as the next Batman is phony as all hell, more a case of weirdly out of place fanboy pandering than a logical build up of the idea that Batman is an idea and can be carried on after Bruce.

Then there’s Bane and the villainous plot. Bane is great. He is built up as a big bad monster that is equal parts brawn as he is brain. Then they undercut him completely to give us a lame version of Talia Al Ghul, who is a suicide bomber for some reason and not the Machiavellian supervillain her father Ra’s was.

It’s a movie where there’s a lot of great stuff in it, some really powerful and poetic hair raising moments that bangs up against a lot of really half baked and bad decisions. There’s way too many people who can’t open their eyes to how insanely weak this movie is. Try to not to make the case online, though… crap.


2. Batman


The ultimate case of a movie that gets all the praise for being a pioneer in the field. It’s an absolute mess. It has that same issue as “X-Men” where it has an obviously unfinished script with no real propulsion to it. It’s just scene after scene with no connective tissue to it at all.

It’s got the problem of “Spider-Man” where it doesn’t seem to realize that the Joker has no real business being in the movie, as his big plot at the end just comes out of nowhere for no reason, and then they add in the ridiculous backstory scene of Joker being the guy who killed Batman’s parents, tying them together in a blatant and cheap as hell attempt to add gravity to the movie.

There’s the severe lack of action, and the cheapness of the little action that there is. It’s a weird movie, because it’s watchable due to Burton’s visuals overcoming the budget and Jack being Jack. But man, are the seams not just visible, they are overcoming the movie. Like weeds. Nostalgia has kept this movie from getting beat up the way it should. But man, is this movie so much lesser than Burton’s more Burton-y sequel.


1. Captain America: Civil War

Hoo boy. This is gonna be a controversial choice, but screw it. The truth has to come out. This movie is just barely good. It’s got a terrible damn script that hinges on the phony as hell relationship between Steve and Bucky while also trying to build up some real world stakes with the debate about government oversight that doesn’t work.

The superhero registration act here is built upon an act that isn’t really that bad compared to things we’ve seen in the past MCU movies, so it feels phony already. Then when it’s revealed that the registry only really applies to the Avengers and not superpowered people in general, you realize that they’ve made the stakes feel world changing but it only applies to roughly five people.

So to center a movie around the ideological differences between Cap and Iron Man representing to two sides to the debate is weird, especially when Iron Man is clearly right but the movie frames him as the bad guy. Mainly that’s due to them trying to make us assume that Cap is always right because of the Hydra conspiracy in “Winter Soldier” clearing him of all moral ambiguity. Would have been nicer if we were to question Cap.

Also would have been nice to have Cap’s distrust of power be more believable thanks to an unknown quality and not a Hydra plot. But then all of that is kind of thrown to the side halfway through to make Baron Zemo a presence for some damn reason, as every single element of his ploy to split the Avengers apart is predicated on luck.

He’s lucky that the registry is plotted out when he needs it. He’s lucky that Steve is enough of a doof to think that his proven to be brainwashed best buddy couldn’t have been an assassin at this point in time, despite the entire past movie showing he was. Zemo sucks and his presence really throws the movie off balance.

There’s also too many characters and too much going on for anybody to get treated fairly, so everyone just feels like glorified cameos. They stumbled massively on the story. But the movie gets a lot of praise for its real world connections, as did “Winter Soldier,” but pretty unjustly.

What makes this movie watchable is Black Panther, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the justifiably praised Airport battle. Panther kills it and helps set up the amazing solo movie. Spidey was a jolt of fresh air because he felt like Spidey, a young nerd with a motormouth. Iron Man is so good here.

The MCU has done great work with Tony Stark and this does not change that, despite the sentiment of him being in the wrong because his feelings are less respectable than Caps for some reason. And that airport battle is great. So great it feels like it’s a different movie than everything else because of how fun and well shot it is. Even the final fight between Bucky/Cap and Iron Man is good, despite the phony emotions at play for the two that aren’t Tony.

This movie is just a goddamn mess, and it’s wild that people can make the claim that it’s maybe the best in the MCU. This entry is what makes “Infinity War” such a dicey proposition, because it’s gotta be bigger than this and they couldn’t handle a movie of the scale. It’s the first time in a while that the MCU is kind of on a rocky road.